What is dihydrocodeine used for?

7th September 2022

Names of medications are constantly being thrown around, and it can be very confusing about what they actually do and what they are used for. You may have heard the name dihydrocodeine before but you may not actually know what it is, or what it is used for. This is where we come in. In this article, we will answer all of your questions about dihydrocodeine, including what it is, and what it is used for. We will also answer other questions you may have regarding who can take it, the forms it comes in, and whether or not you need a prescription in order to purchase it. 

Man holding his head

What is Dihydrocodeine?

Dihydrocodeine is an opiate pain killer that is stronger than regular over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. An opiate or opioid treatment is a medication that works by reacting with the opioid receptors in the body. Often, opiate medications are made using the poppy plant, an example of a medication that is created using this process is morphine. Opiates can also be synthetically produced in laboratories, for example, fentanyl. Opioid medications are often used to target acute pain and are much stronger than other alternative painkillers. When used correctly opioid medications are safe and effective, however, opioid abuse can be dangerous. 

How is Dihydrocodeine pronounced?

You pronounce dihydrocodeine as such: dye-high-dro-co-dean

What is Dihydrocodeine used for?

The uses of dihydrocodeine can be varied, and it can be difficult to understand whether or not it is right for you when you have been prescribed it. Below is a table of all of the different uses of dihydrocodeine.

Moderate Pain

Severe Pain

Easing long-standing pain that other painkillers have failed to ease

Easing pain caused by severe injuries

Easing pain following surgery



As you can see, the main use of dihydrocodeine is for treating moderate and severe pain. You will not be given dihydrocodeine to treat mild pain such as headaches or stomach aches, this would be treated using a weaker painkiller such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. The only time you may be given dihydrocodeine for these types of conditions is if they are long-standing and have not been successfully eased using a weaker alternative.  

What form is Dihydrocodeine available in?

Following a successful consultation with an independent prescriber or Doctor, you will be able to purchase your prescription dihydrocodeine online from EU Meds in tablet form. The different-sized packets of dihydrocodeine you can purchase are 28 and 100 tablets, and you can purchase the different sizes based on what you have been prescribed. Different forms of dihydrocodeine are available. Other forms that you may find include slow-release tablets, liquid medicine that is taken orally, and injectable medication. 

How does Dihydrocodeine work?

Dihydrocodeine is an opioid medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Opioid medications work by activating the opioid receptors in nerve cells. The receptors are part of the GPCR family of proteins. GPCR stands for G-protein coupled receptors. When the receptors are activated pain signals in the body are blocked, meaning they do not reach the brain and the pain you are experiencing diminishes. The receptors that are activated are mostly found in the brain and the spinal cord.

Who can and can’t take Dihydrocodeine?

Dihydrocodeine can be used by people over the age of four years depending on their condition. There are however some people that cannot take dihydrocodeine, and this can be due to a number of factors. People that cannot take the medication include those that:

  • have had an allergic reaction to dihydrocodeine or any other medication
  • have a stomach problem, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn's disease
  • have asthma, lung problems, or breathing difficulties
  • have a head injury or a condition that causes seizures or fits
  • have an underactive thyroid gland
  • are alcoholics
  • take any other painkillers
  • have kidney or liver problems
  • have myasthenia gravis, a rare illness that causes muscle weakness
  • are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or are breastfeeding
  • are under 18 years and have had your tonsils or adenoids taken out to treat obstructive sleep apnea
  • have a rare condition causing problems with galactose intolerance

It is important to mention to your prescriber if you meet any of the above factors in order to remain safe whilst treating your pain. 

How to take Dihydrocodeine?

In order to correctly take dihydrocodeine to feel the full effects of the medication, you should take it just as your prescriber describes. The best way to take the tablet is by swallowing it whole with water just after you have eaten a snack or meal. The frequency at which you take the tablets will depend on your condition and will be outlined to you by your prescriber. You should ensure not to break or crush the tablets as this may result in the medication not having the desired effects. 

When to take Dihydrocodeine?

Again, it is important to note that you should only take your medication as directed by your prescriber. There is no real ‘best’ time to take dihydrocodeine, however, to ensure that the medication absorbs properly, you should take it after eating a snack or a meal. The immediate release tablets should only be taken once every four to six hours, with a maximum daily dosage of six tablets in a 24-hour period. 

What dosage of Dihydrocodeine is available?

In terms of strength, the only one that is available to purchase from EU Meds is 30mg. In a 24-hour period, you should only take a maximum of 120mg per day in order to treat pain effectively. This means that the strength of each tablet accurately fits within the maximum of six per day.  

Do I need a prescription to buy Dihydrocodeine?

In order to purchase dihydrocodeine, you first need to have a valid prescription. In order to attain a prescription, you will need to complete a consultation. If your consultation is accepted you will be given a prescription from an independent prescriber and you will be able to purchase the medication that you need. Stronger painkillers often need a prescription. Weaker alternatives, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, can be purchased over the counter. 

Where can I buy Dihydrocodeine?

After a successful consultation and after you have attained a prescription you can purchase dihydrocodeine safely and securely from EU Meds.

Google Web Story - A-Z Guide to Dihydrocodeine