Find out what co-codamol is, how you have it and other important information about taking co-codamol.
Co-codamol is a pain killing drug and is also known by its brand names Kapake, Solpadol or Tylex.
It is a combination of two drugs – paracetamol and codeine. Doctors often prescribe it to relieve pain after surgery. It is a treatment for moderate pain.
How it works
Paracetamol controls pain by interfering with substances that the body makes in response to injury. These substances are called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins make nerves more sensitive, so you feel pain. By reducing the amount of prostaglandin you feel less pain, or none at all.
Codeine is a type of opioid. Opioids work by mimicking the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins. They control pain by blocking pain messages to the brain. There are different types of opioids – strong ones and weak ones. Codeine is a weak opioid.
How you have it
You take co-codamol as a:
- tablet that you swallow with water
- capsule that you swallow with water
- soluble tablet (effervescent or dispersible) that you dissolve in water
You should take the right dose, not more or less.
Never stop taking a cancer drug without talking to your specialist first.
When you have it
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to take co-codamol and how much to have. The normal dose for adults is 1 or 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours. The maximum you should take is 8 in 24 hours.
Co-codamol is available in different doses. They all contain 500mg of paracetamol (the same as one regular paracetamol tablet or capsule) but the dose of codeine varies and can be 8mg, 15mg or 30 mg. The dose that is right for you will depend on the amount you need to control your pain.
You can buy small packets of the lower dose preparations over the counter. But for larger packets and for the higher doses, you need a prescription from your doctor.
Other medicines, foods and drink
Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.
Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through in your breast milk.
Treatment for other conditions
Always tell other doctors, nurses or dentists that you’re having this treatment if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.
More information about this treatment
For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.
You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.