Is it safe to take Dihydrocodeine with other medications?

    Dihydrocodeine, commonly prescribed for moderate to severe pain, often raises questions about its compatibility with other medications. Many people wonder if it's safe to take this painkiller alongside other treatments, be it other analgesics or sleeping pills. In this article, we look into the purpose of dihydrocodeine, its potential interactions with other painkillers, its relationship with sleep aids, and other relevant medications.

    What is Dihydrocodeine used for?

    Dihydrocodeine is a medication used to treat moderate to severe pain (Leppert, 2010). It is an opioid analgesic, which means it acts on the brain to reduce the sensation of pain. It might be prescribed for various conditions, such as after an operation, for chronic pain, or for painful conditions like osteoarthritis (Moore et al, 2000). Dihydrocodeine can also be used in the treatment of severe coughing, as it has the capability to act as a cough suppressant.

    Does dihydrocodeine interact with other painkillers?

    According to the NHS, Dihydrocodeine can safely be combined with certain over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, and aspirin. However, aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age. It's essential to be cautious if you've been prescribed specific brands like co-dydramol, Paramol, Remedeine, or Remedeine Forte, as they already contain both paracetamol and dihydrocodeine.

    It is important that you do not combine dihydrocodeine with painkillers that have codeine as an ingredient, as this can increase the likelihood of side effects (Ghelani, 2019). Examples of these are co-codamol, Nurofen Plus, co-codaprin, and Solpadeine.

    Does dihydrocodeine interact with sleeping pills?

    Combining dihydrocodeine with sleeping pills can be potentially risky. Both dihydrocodeine and many sleeping pills, such as Zopiclone, are central nervous system depressants. This means they both work by slowing down the brain's activity (Ghelani, 2019). When taken together, there's an increased risk of respiratory depression, which is slowed or stopped breathing. This can be life-threatening. According to the NHS, it is important to consult with your doctor if you are thinking about using sleeping pills alongside dihydrocodeine. 

    Does dihydrocodeine interact with diarrhoea medications?

    Dihydrocodeine can indeed interact with certain diarrhoea medications, particularly those containing loperamide. Both dihydrocodeine and loperamide work by slowing down the movement of the intestines. When taken together, they can increase the risk of severe constipation, which can lead to more serious intestinal problems (Ghelani, 2019). If you are considering using dihydrocodeine alongside diarrhoea medications it is highly recommended that you speak to your doctor before making any changes to your medication. A doctor or healthcare provider will be able to provide tailored advice about your condition and your treatment plan. 

    Does dihydrocodeine interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI)?

    Yes, dihydrocodeine does interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Combining dihydrocodeine with an MAOI can increase the risk of serious side effects. MAOIs are a type of medication primarily used to treat depression, but they can also be prescribed for other conditions. When dihydrocodeine is taken with an MAOI or within 14 days of stopping an MAOI, there's a risk of elevated serotonin levels in the brain, a condition known as serotonin syndrome (Ghelani, 2019). Symptoms of serotonin syndrome can range from mild, such as shivering and diarrhoea, to severe, including muscle rigidity, fever, and seizures.

    Should I consult my doctor before starting treatment with dihydrocodeine?

    Yes, before starting treatment with dihydrocodeine or any medication, it's essential to consult with your GP. Dihydrocodeine is a potent painkiller with potential side effects and interactions with other medications or underlying health conditions. Your GP can evaluate whether dihydrocodeine is appropriate for your specific needs, determine the correct dosage, and provide guidance on safe usage. 


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