co-codamol is an over-the-counter painkiller containing paracetamol and codeine. It’s used to treat headaches, muscular pain, migraines and toothache. It’s very effective when it’s used properly but, if misused, it can have dangerous effects. This is because codeine is an opioid, a class of drugs that act on the brain and body in a similar way to heroin.
It’s usually taken as tablets or capsules. It’s also available as soluble tablets (effervescent or dispersible) that you dissolve in water. You can take it with or without food. If you’re taking it with food to help stop nausea, be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
Managing Arthritis Pain with Co-Codamol
Your doctor will recommend how long you need to take it for and will review your treatment regularly. It’s important not to take it for longer than you need to, as high doses can have harmful side effects, including severe constipation and drowsiness.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s not recommended to take it. This is because small amounts of the codeine in co-codamol pass into breast milk and can cause breathing problems in babies. You should talk to your doctor before you start taking it during pregnancy, they can advise on other pain relief options.
There’s a slight risk that taking high doses of co-codamol over long periods can reduce fertility in both men and women. This is because it may interfere with sex hormones and can make it harder to get pregnant. However, this is only a small risk and most people who use co-codamol don’t have fertility problems.