Dihydrocodeine is a form of pain relief for moderate to severe pain. It may be prescribed when milder painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol prove to be ineffective. Dihydrocodeine can be prescribed to help treat pain associated with conditions such as sciatica (nerve pain in the back or legs), joint and bone pain (such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), nerve pain, pain caused by blood vessel disease, cancer or following operations.
The active ingredient is Dihydrocodeine Tartrate – each tablet is available in one strength of 30mg. Medicines under the name Remedeine, Paramol and Co-dydramol all contain dihydrocodeine with paracetamol.
Dihydrocodeine belongs to a medication group called opioid analgesics, which includes medications such as codeine phosphate and co-codamol, often sold under the brand name Solpadol. Opioids work by mimicking the natural pain-reducing compounds in the body known as endorphins which are produced in the brain and the spinal cord to help us feel less pain. Dihydrocodeine works on these same opioid receptors to stop pain signals from being sent to the brain via the nervous system, so while the root cause of the pain is not treated, the user feels less pain.
Dihydrocodeine is related to and has a similar chemical structure to codeine – in fact, it may be used as an alternative to codeine or the aforementioned conditions. However, dihydrocodeine is twice as strong as codeine. It has a more euphoric effect and therefore a greater dependence potential.
Dihydrocodeine should be taken with water, with or without food, as instructed by your GP. Adults should take one tablet every four to six hours (maximum dose in a 24-hour period is six tablets). The dose should be reduced for elderly patients and anyone who suffers from liver or kidney problems. Children under 12 years are not advised to use this medication. Your doctor will prescribe the correct dose for you.
If you miss a dose, take a tablet as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, don’t take the missed dose and never double the dose to make up for your missed tablet. Do not stop taking dihydrocodeine without speaking to your GP first.
Dihydrocodeine may cause the following side effects:
Regular and prolonged use of dihydrocodeine may lead to addiction, the symptoms of which are restlessness and irritability if treatment is stopped.
Before you begin taking dihydrocodeine, inform your health care provider of any medication you’re currently taking, including any prescription and over the counter medicines, supplements and vitamins, as these may impact the effectiveness of dihydrocodeine. In particular, advise your GP if you are taking any of the following:
Taking dihydrocodeine together with gabapentin can also increase side effects including drowsiness, dizziness, confusion and difficulty concentrating.
Pregnant women should avoid using dihydrocodeine in the later stages of pregnancy, as administration during labour may cause respiratory depression in infants. Dihydrocodeine passes into breast milk in small doses so administration is not advised for breastfeeding mothers.
People with the following health conditions should speak to their GP before taking dihydrocodeine:
Don’t take dihydrocodeine with alcohol as this can lead to blurred vision, dizziness and confusion. It’s also not advised to drive while taking dihydrocodeine as it can cause dizziness and impact your visual capabilities. Do not drive while taking this medication until you know how it affects you and if you are prone to any side effects.
If you experience any side effects when taking dihydrocodeine, contact your GP or health care provider for advice.
In order to buy dihydrocodeine online from our licensed pharmacy, you’ll need to fill out a consultation form. This will then be reviewed by a registered doctor and issued if deemed suitable for your needs.
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