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Dihydrocodeine is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic prescribed for pain or severe dyspnea, or as an antitussive, either alone or compounded with paracetamol or aspirin. It was developed in Germany in 1908 and first marketed in 1911.
Dihydrocodeine is an opiate painkiller. It is used to help manage pain caused by sciatica, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, blood vessel disease, and cancer, among other conditions.
Dihydrocodeine is only available on prescription.
Dihydrocodeine is also known by the brand names DHC continous and DF118 Forte.
2. Key facts – Buy dihydrocodeine online
- Dihydrocodeine works by stopping pain signals travelling along the nerves to the brain.
- Standard dihydrocodeine tablets take 1.5 to 2 hours to work fully.
- It’s possible to become addicted to dihydrocodeine, but your doctor will explain how to reduce the risks of becoming addicted.
- If you need to take dihydrocodeine for more than a few weeks, your treatment plan may include details of how and when to stop taking this medicine.
- The most common side effects are feeling or being sick, feeling drowsy or constipation.
3. 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
4. How and when to take it
It’s important to take dihydrocodeine as your doctor has asked you to. This is particularly important because dihydrocodeine can be addictive.
Swallow the tablets whole with water. It’s best to take them with or soon after a meal or snack.
How much will I take?
Dihydrocodeine tablets come in 5 different strengths. The tablets contain 30mg, 40mg, 60mg, 90mg or 120mg of dihydrocodeine.
How often you take your tablets will depend on the strength.
Immediate release tablets
The usual dose for adults and children aged 12 years and over is:
- 30mg tablet – 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours – maximum dose in 24 hours is 6 tablets (180mg)
- 40mg tablet – 1 or 2 tablets up to 3 times in 24 hours – maximum dose in 24 hours is 6 tablets (240mg)
Slow release tablets
The usual dose for adults and children aged 12 years and over is:
- 60mg, 90mg or 120mg tablets – 1 tablet taken every 12 hours
The tablets contain 60mg, 90mg or 120mg of dihydrocodeine. The usual dose is between 60mg and 120mg, taken twice a day.
The usual dose of dihydrocodeine liquid is one to three 5ml Spoonfuls taken every 4 to 6 hours. One 5ml spoonful has 10mg of dihydrocodeine in it (3 spoonfuls contain 30mg).
For children aged between 4 and 11 years dose is worked out based on weight. The usual dose is between 0.5mg and 1mg per kg of body weight, up to a maximum dose of 30mg every 4 to 6 hours.
If you’re taking dihydrocodeine as a liquid, it will come with a plastic medicine spoon or syringe to help you measure the correct amount. Ask a pharmacist for one if you do not have it.
Will my dose go up or down?
Usually you’ll start on a low dose of standard dihydrocodeine.
What if I forget to take it?
This will vary depending on which type of dihydrocodeine you’re taking.
If you forget to take a dose, check the patient information leaflet inside the packet or ask a pharmacist or doctor for advice on what to do.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you.
What if I take too much?
If you go to A&E, do not drive yourself – get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.
Take the dihydrocodeine box or leaflet inside the packet plus any remaining medicine with you.
Where to store dihydrocodeine
If you’re prescribed dihydrocodeine, it’s really important that you:
- store it properly and safely at home
- keep it out of the sight and reach of children
- do not give your medicine to anyone else
- return any unused dihydrocodeine to a pharmacy so they can throw it away in the right way
5. Taking dihydrocodeine with other painkillers
Do not take dihydrocodeine with painkillers that contain codeine. You will be more likely to get side effects.
Painkillers that contain codeine include co-codamol (codeine and paracetamol), Nurofen Plus (codeine and ibuprofen), co-codaprin (codeine and aspirin) and Solpadeine (codeine, paracetamol, ibuprofen and caffeine).
6. Side effects
You’re more likely to have side effects if you take the higher strengths of dihydrocodeine.
Common side effects
Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if the side effects bother you or do not go away:
- feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)
- feeling sleepy
- confusion, feeling dizzy and vertigo (a sensation of spinning)
- dry mouth
Serious side effects
- muscle stiffness
- feel dizzy, tired and have low energy – this could be a sign of low blood pressure (hypotension)
Immediate action required: Call 999 if:
- you have had a seizure or fit (where your body jerks and shakes)
- you have difficulty breathing or short shallow breathing
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to dihydrocodeine.
- you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you’re wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.
These are not all the side effects of dihydrocodeine. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicine packet.
Information: You can report any suspected side effect using the Yellow Card safety scheme.
7. How to cope with side effects – Buy dihydrocodeine online
What to do about:
- feeling or being sick – take dihydrocodeine with or just after a meal or snack to ease feelings of sickness. If you’re being sick, try small frequent sips of water. This side effect should wear off after a few days. Talk to a doctor about taking an anti-sickness medicine if it carries on for longer.
- feeling sleepy – this side effect should go away within a few days as your body gets used to dihydrocodeine. Talk to a doctor if it carries on for longer. This side effect should wear off within a few days as your body gets used to dihydrocodeine. Talk to a doctor if it carries on for longer.
- dry mouth – try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets.
8. Pregnancy and breastfeeding – Buy dihydrocodeine online
There may be safer medicines that you can take – ask a doctor or pharmacist for advice.
In early pregnancy, it’s been linked to some problems for your baby. For some pregnant women with severe pain, dihydrocodeine might be the right option. Your doctor is the best person to help you decide what’s right for you and your baby.
Dihydrocodeine and breastfeeding – Buy dihydrocodeine online
Dihydrocodeine is not usually recommended if you’re breastfeeding.
Small amounts of dihydrocodeine pass into breast milk and can cause breathing problems in your baby.
Speak to a doctor as they may be able to recommend a different painkiller.
Non-urgent advice: Tell your doctor if you’re:
- trying to get pregnant
9. Cautions with other medicines – Buy dihydrocodeine online
Some medicines interfere with the way dihydrocodeine works.
Mixing dihydrocodeine with herbal remedies and supplements – Buy dihydrocodeine online
It’s not possible to say that dihydrocodeine is safe to take with herbal remedies and supplements.
Important: Medicine safety
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines, vitamins or supplements.
10. Common questions – Buy dihydrocodeine online
How does dihydrocodeine work?
How long does it take to work?
How long will I take it for?
Can I become addicted to dihydrocodeine?
How will I know if I’m addicted?
Is it safe to take for a long time?
What will happen if I stop taking it?
How is it different to other opiates?
Can I drink alcohol with it?
Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?
Will it affect my contraception?
Will it affect my fertility?
Can I drive or ride a bike?
Will recreational drugs affect it?
Dihydrocodeine works in the central nervous system. It changes the way that the body feels and reacts to pain by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which play a key role in transmitting sensations of pain and pleasure throughout the body
Withdrawal symptoms may occur if an individual stops taking dihydrocodeine after prolonged use, including irritability and restlessness.
Possible Side Effects of Codeine & Precautions/dihydrocodeine online pharmacy
Known possible side effects include blood problems, nausea, vomiting and addiction.
A doctor may not issue this treatment to persons who are pregnant, breastfeeding, allergic to any ingredients, or who have a history of liver or kidney disease.
The information provided here is not extensive. For a full list of restrictions and possible side effects, consult the safety information leaflet.