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Co-codamol is a pain relief preparation that contains two different medications. These medications are codeine and paracetamol. Co codamol tablets are used for the relief of acute mild to moderate pain including muscular pain, joint pain, nerve pain, headaches, migraines, rheumatic pain and toothache. Other painkiller medications are available to treat more severe pain conditions.

  • Mixture of codeine and paracetamol
  • Effective painkiller
  • Works for period pain, muscle pain and migraine
  • Genuine medication
  • Shipped from EU Pharmacies
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Type of drugOpioid (opioid analgesic)
Health conditions prescribed forPain relief (muscular pain, joint pains, nerve pain, headaches, migraines, rheumatic pain and toothache)
Active ingredientsCodeine, Paracetamol
Brand namesKapake, Solpadol, Tylex
Available strengths30/500mg
Available asTablets
Possible side effectsSkin irritation, difficulty peeing, abdominal cramps (tummy pain), constipation, nausea, difficulty breathing, hearing impairment, headaches

Co-codamol - Key Information

Co-codamol UK

  • Co-codamol is a type of pain relief medicine that contains both paracetamol and codeine
  • It is sometimes prescribed when other pain relief like paracetamol alone or ibuprofen have not alleviated the pain
  • Low dose co-codamol can be bought from pharmacies, but higher strength co-codamol can only be obtained if you have a prescription from a doctor or pharmacist
  • The codeine in co-codamol can become addictive, so you should take steps to limit your use, such as stretching doses or using none-codeine based medications when your pain is not as strong.
  • Co-codamol is sometimes known by its brand names Solpadol, Kapake and Zapain.
  • It is important to read the patient leaflet of the medicine for a full list of side effects and cautions.

Co-codamol tablets contain both paracetamol and codeine.

Paracetamol works by blocking the chemical messengers of pain. This means that our sensation of pain is reduced. 

Codeine is a form of opiate pain relief. Codeine blocks the signals of pain that would normally travel along nerve cells. This means that the pain messages do not reach the brain, further reducing our sensation of pain.

Taking two different types of pain relief medication can be a more effective way of managing pain. Combining the drugs in one tablet also minimises the number of medications a person needs to take each day.

Google Web Story - A-Z Guide of Co-Codamol

Take a look at EU Meds Google Web Story, a handy visual A-Z guide of terms that relate to Co-Codamol:

Every patient suffering from chronic pain has a unique individual experience when taking co-codamol tablets as a treatment.

User Reviews for Co-codamol

To see what people have to say about their experiences with the medication, take a look at co-codamol user reviews. There a wide range of customer reviews and experiences with co-codamol usage available at

You must speak to a doctor or your healthcare provider for medical advice before taking co-codamol tablets. They will assess your suitability for the medication and whether your health condition requires co-codamol or an alternative pain relief treatment.

For more information on the prescription medication patients should refer to the Co-codamol patient information leaflet

Usage Advice

Co-codamol Tablets

Co-codamol is available as a tablet or capsule. These can be taken with or without food.

Co-codamol is sometimes prescribed as a soluble tablet which some people find easier to take.


Co-Codamol 30/500mg

There are three different strengths of co-codamol available. The amount of paracetamol in each preparation is the same, but the amount of codeine varies from 8mg to 30mg per tablet. 

The following strengths of co-codamol tablets are available: 

  1. 8mg of codeine and 500mg of paracetamol per tablet
  2. 15mg of codeine and 500mg of paracetamol per tablet
  3. 30mg of codeine and 500mg of paracetamol per tablet.

The usual dose is 1 or 2 tablets of any strength up to 4 times daily. There should be 6 hours between each dose, and the maximum number of tablets you can take in a 24 hour period is 8 tablets.

It is common for 2 tablets to be taken at a time. This equals a dose of 1000mg (1 gram) of paracetamol, which is the maximum recommended amount of paracetamol per dose. You must therefore not take any other paracetamol containing medications whilst taking co-codamol.

Codeine can become additive when taken long term. Over a long period, some people can become dependent on codeine or experience symptoms of withdrawal when stopping it. Your prescriber will talk to you about your likely course of treatment and when you can expect to stop taking it to avoid dependence.

Side Effects

Like all medications, co-codamol can have some side effects. The most common side effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting (feeling sick and being sick)
  • Feeling sleepy (avoid driving or operating machinery if this is the case)
  • Headache
  • Withdrawal symptoms - including sweating, shaking, shivering, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, feeling queasy, high blood pressure, anxiety and struggling to sleep.

If these side effects are troublesome or do not settle, you should speak to a doctor or healthcare professional for advice.

Occasionally, more serious side effects can occur when taking co-codamol. Serious side effects include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Change in your vision
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Difficulty passing urine (peeing)
  • Difficulty breathing (respiratory depression) - more profound in those with COPD and respiratory conditions, children, patients with liver and kidney impairment and binge drinkers

You should speak to a doctor straight away if you notice one of these more serious side effects.

If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.

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Co-codamol may not be suitable for everyone. Prior to starting any treatment you should always tell your doctor if you have:

  • Lung problems or breathing difficulties including asthma
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • A head injury
  • Seizures (fits)
  • Problems with your adrenal glands
  • Alcohol or drug addiction, or if you drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week.

Co-codamol may not be suitable if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.

As a pregnant or breastfeeding lady it can be difficult to get the pain relief you need. However, you may still have options we can explore with you. Co-codamol is often the painkiller of choice for pregnant ladies. Though if you are breastfeeding codeine must be avoided (NHS, 2022). Dihydrocodeine and co-dydramol which we retail may be potential options due to their alternative chemical structure but similar pain relief properties. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider to choose what treatment is suitable for you and your baby.

Some medications can interact with co-codamol. You may be advised that co-codamol will not suit you if you already take:

  • Another medication that contains paracetamol
  • Another medication that contains codeine
  • Anti-sickness medications
  • Blood-thinners including warfarin or heparin
  • Sleeping pills
  • Benzodiazepines including diazepam
  • Antidepressants
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Medications for epilepsy.

You should also tell your prescriber about any herbal remedies or supplements you take. This will allow your prescriber to check that co-codamol will not interact with them.

It is important that your doctor checks that co-codamol will suit you. Your doctor should complete a thorough health questionnaire and review your current medications before prescribing this medication.

Co-codamol FAQ's

Co-codamol contains paracetamol and codeine. Codeine is a type of opioid drug (opioid analgesic. Opioids are also the same class of drug as tramadol and dihydrocodeine).

If you intend to travel abroad with any opioid medication, including co-codamol, always check the restrictions of the country you are travelling to. Failure to follow the appropriate processes can result in large fines and imprisonment.

Typically, over the counter painkillers such as ibuprofen (NSAIDs) are the most common painkillers for period pain (working to lower prostaglandin production). However, paracetamol may be more suitable for patients who suffer from stomach ulcers and asthma. Co-codamol (which is a combination of codeine and paracetamol) may be medicine prescribed for stronger period pain relief as a short term treatment due to potential addiction. It should not be used for more than 3 days at a time (EMC, 2023). In all cases your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare provider will advise on the best suited painkiller for you.

According to a study by Wong et al (2011), it concluded that 'opioid analgesics suppress male gonadal function, but opioid use in men and women does not correlate with symptoms of sexual dysfunction'.

Is Co-codamol the same as Zapain?

Yes, Co-codamol is the same as Zapain. Zapain is the brand name of co-codamol.

Google Web Story - What is the difference between Zapain and Co-codamol?

EU Meds have created a Google Web Story to explain the key differences between Zapain and Co-codamol. You can view it below:

As with all opioids, there is a risk of opioid toxicity; In severe cases this can include symptoms of respiratory and circulatory depression, which can be life-threatening (GOV.UK, 2021). Usually this is rare as patients are carefully assessed for risk beforehand. As long as you disclose any other medication you use, medical conditions (including if you are known to have liver or kidney impairment), alcohol intake and only use it as prescribed then the risk should remain rare. If you already have any recent blood results for your liver and kidneys this is indispensable but not obligatory.

Furthermore, according to a study by Heppell and Isbister (2017), it concluded that 'Paracetamol‐codeine combination overdoses are rarely associated with severe respiratory depression'.

Google Web Story - Can you take co-codamol with amoxicillin?

Take a look at EU Meds Google Web Story exploring if you can take co-codamol with amoxicillin:

Buy Co-codamol

Buying Co-codamol Online

You can safely buy co-codamol online here at EU Meds. Our purchase process will guide you into getting the proper prescription and having a local UK pharmacy ship your medication. To begin your consultation process, add the product to your cart and follow the instructions.

You can safely buy Co-codamol online here at EU Meds. Our purchase process will guide you through getting the necessary prescription and receiving your order online through a UK-located pharmacy.

Yes, according to the NHS, the lowest strength of co-codamol, 8/500mg (typically for more minor health conditions such as a sore throat), is available to purchase as a pharmacy medicine without requiring a prescription. However, the higher strengths of co-codamol, 15/500mg and 30/500mg, require a prescription from a doctor. You must consult a healthcare professional prior to usage to assess how suitable co-codamol is for you as a treatment.

Medical Reviewer

Medical Reviewer

Alicia Barnes

Doctor • Degree

Dr Alicia Barnes is an experienced NHS and private practice GP offering the personalised touch and the utmost convenience for her patients. Graduating from Keele University Medical School in 2016, she is trained in a variety of medical and surgical specialities.

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