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Can you take paracetamol with dihydrocodeine?

7th September 2022

When you have been prescribed dihydrocodeine, you may be concerned about whether or not you will be able to take the medication that you are used to having, for example, paracetamol. In this EU Meds article, we will answer whether or not you can take paracetamol with dihydrocodeine, as well as other questions you may have regarding both medications. We will answer exactly what paracetamol is, what dihydrocodeine is, as well as the differences between dihydrocodeine and codeine. We will also give you all of the information you need regarding the side effects of both paracetamol and dihydrocodeine. 

Man with head in hands

What is paracetamol?

Paracetamol is one of the most commonly used over-the-counter painkillers that you can purchase. Paracetamol is primarily used to treat mild to moderate aches and pains in the body such as joint pain, headaches, and toothache. Paracetamol can also be used to reduce someone's temperature during colds or flu, or for women that are experiencing hot flushes due to menopause. Usually, someone would take one or two paracetamol tablets with a strength of 500mg at a time. This can take up to one hour before you notice any effects. Paracetamol is not suitable for treating moderate to severe pain as it simply will not be strong enough to ease any symptoms. 

Paracetamol is similar to ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is another over-the-counter medication that can be purchased without the need for a prescription. Ibuprofen is also used to treat mild to moderate pain such as headaches, toothaches, period pains, and many more. Ibuprofen is also usually taken two at a time, up to four times a day. Ibuprofen is available in tablets, capsules, gels, mousse, or sprays. Paracetamol is also available in tablets and capsules, as well as in combination medications such as cough syrups. 

What is dihydrocodeine?

Dihydrocodeine is also a painkiller, however, unlike paracetamol, it is an opiate painkiller. Opiate painkillers, also known as opioids, are stronger than regular painkillers as they work in a different way. Opioids work by travelling through your bloodstream, attaching themselves to opioid receptors in the brain. These cells release signals that help to diminish the perception of pain. You will also notice that opioid medications can also boost your mood as they will release chemicals in the brain that improve mood. 

As opioids such as dihydrocodeine are stronger than regular painkillers they are often prescribed to people who are suffering from moderate to severe pain. Common conditions that people will be prescribed opioids for include pain following severe injuries or the pain felt when recovering from surgery. When you are prescribed dihydrocodeine for more than a few weeks then you may be given a plan for how to stop taking the medication. This is because dihydrocodeine, and opioid medications in general, can become addictive if misused. Opioid abuse is dangerous and should be taken into account when you have been prescribed them. When you take dihydrocodeine you will not notice any effects until around an hour and a half to two hours later, however, when the medication kicks in you will notice a definite improvement in the pain you are experiencing.

Can you take paracetamol with dihydrocodeine?

When you have been prescribed dihydrocodeine you may be tempted to take paracetamol as well as the opioid medication in order to help with other pain such as headaches or toothaches. Thankfully, you can take both paracetamol and dihydrocodeine at the same time. As well as this, you can also take ibuprofen or aspirin with dihydrocodeine. You should not however take dihydrocodeine with any other painkillers that contain codeine. This will only increase the chances of you developing potential side effects. Some painkillers that also include codeine include Nurofen Plus, co-codamol, Solpadine and co-codaprin. 

There is a combination of paracetamol and dihydrocodeine that is known as co-dydramol. Usually, you would take co-dydramol when regular painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are no longer effective at helping with your pain. Co-dydramol may not be suitable for everyone. You should ensure to tell your doctor if you meet any of the following:

  • Have asthma or another lung disease
  • Have liver or kidney problems
  • Have adrenal gland problems
  • Have, or have ever had, a head injury
  • Have seizures or fits
  • Have thyroid disease
  • Have ever had obstructive sleep apnoea, or your tonsils or adenoids removed
  • Have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Have alcohol dependence or drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week
  • Have myasthenia gravis
  • Have had an allergic reaction to a medication in the past
  • Are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.

You can purchase co-dydramol online from EU Meds by completing a consultation with a doctor. Following a successful consultation, you will then be given a prescription and you will be able to purchase your medication.

Is dihydrocodeine the same as codeine?

Whilst they may seem the same, dihydrocodeine and codeine are actually different medications. Dihydrocodeine is related to codeine and is actually a semi-synthetic version. It will work in the same way and will have the same effects as codeine. The main difference is the strength of dihydrocodeine compared to codeine. Dihydrocodeine is stronger and has a higher risk of dependence than codeine. Dihydrocodeine is also more effective at providing a ‘euphoric’ effect, meaning it will release more chemicals that boost mood. 

What are the side effects of taking paracetamol and dihydrocodeine together?

The combination of dihydrocodeine and paracetamol is known as co-dydramol. As with all prescription medications you may experience some side effects when you take co-dydramol. There are some side effects that are more common than others, the most common side effects of co-dydramol include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches

There are also some more uncommon side effects that you may experience. If you begin to suffer from any of the following, you should get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible. Uncommon side effects include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Dizziness
  • Disrupted vision
  • Difficulty urinating

Where can I purchase a mixture of dihydrocodeine and paracetamol from online?

The mixture of dihydrocodeine and paracetamol is known as co-dydramol. You can purchase co-dydramol online from EU Meds by using a valid prescription. If you do not have a prescription you will need to complete an online consultation, if this is successful you will be issued with a prescription and you will be able to buy your medication. You can also purchase dihydrocodeine online at EU Meds, again by either using a valid prescription or by completing an online consultation. 

Sources

https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/dihydrocodeine/

https://www.gov.uk/drug-safety-update/over-the-counter-painkillers-containing-codeine-or-dihydrocodeine

https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drugs/dihydrocodeine-with-paracetamol/

https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/blog/is-dihydrocodeine-the-same-as-codeine