Dihydrocodeine is an opioid medicine (sometimes called an opiate). It is used to treat moderate-to-severe types of pain. It works by binding to certain tiny areas, called opioid receptors, in your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). This leads to a decrease in the way you feel pain and your reaction to pain. Dihydrocodeine is available on a prescription from a doctor.
Dihydrocodeine is an opiate painkiller. It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain, such as after an operation or a serious injury.
Dihydrocodeine is sometimes prescribed in combination with the painkiller paracetamol in a medicine called co-dydramol. Co-dydramol is available on prescription and also from pharmacies on the advice of a pharmacist.
How to take dihydrocodeine
Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about dihydrocodeine and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
Take dihydrocodeine exactly as your doctor tells you to. There are several different strengths of tablet available, so your doctor or pharmacist will tell you how often you should take your doses. As a guide, 30 mg tablets are usually taken every 4-6 hours as needed and prolonged-release tablets (DHC Continus® brand) are taken every 12 hours. The directions for taking the tablets will be printed on the label of the pack to remind you about what the doctor said to you.
Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Dihydrocodeine should preferably to taken after food, as this can help prevent feelings of sickness which can sometimes occur with the first few doses.
Who can and cannot take it
Adults and children aged 4 years and over can take dihydrocodeine.
Dihydrocodeine is not suitable for some people. Tell a doctor before taking the medicine if you:
have ever had an allergic reaction to dihydrocodeine or any other medicine
have any stomach problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s disease, or if you’re taking medicines for these conditions
have lung problems, asthma or breathing difficulties
have a head injury or a condition that causes seizures or fits
have an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
have an addiction to alcohol
take any other painkillers (including those you buy from a pharmacy or supermarket)
have liver or kidney problems
have myasthenia gravis, a rare illness that causes muscle weakness
are trying to become pregnant, are already pregnant or are breastfeeding
are under 18 years and have had your tonsils or adenoids taken out to treat obstructive sleep apnoea
have a rare condition causing problems with galactose intolerance
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