co codamol addiction an withdrawals

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ive been taking co codamols 30/500 for over 5 years the last three years taking 2 four times a day , my doc told me to take them regularly as im alergic to asprin and anti infamatories , i have two town and buldging discs in my lower back , anyway i have suffered terible tummy problems weight gain and dependancy while taking them , always thinking about when i can take the next dose , not even in pain dont know if i was in pian i just took them bcos i was told to to keep my pain down , ive jsut had a stint in hospital for tummy problems , and i think these tablets have added to them problems without a doubt , i feel i dont need these pills for pain now more for addiction and habbit , anyway cut a long story short i came out of hospital yesterday i had taken none was ok day 2 today sever cramps , diareah , flu like symptoms , awfull pain shakes , anyway i taken paracetamol to ease the pain didnt touch it so i took 1 dihidracodine 30mg withing mins the cramps stopped , havent needed anything else so i think im over the worse of the withdrawals , i wont ever be taking them again , i feel like ive just taken the lining off my stomach , why oh why do the docs prescribe these pills so easily , i made my own choice to come off these pills i dont even take any more than prescribed amount but still i have never experienced pain and cramps like that in my life !!! anyone had the same problems ??

5 likes, 243 replies

243 Replies

  • Posted

    Codeine is any easy option for GP's to prescribe. They are a cheap and cost the NHS less than other painkillers. Some patients don't become addicted and can cope with long term use of codeine. You probably had tummy problems because you are susceptible to that sort of complaint but it was a wake up call. I think you should be commended for coping with it on your own. I regularly take codeine for arthritis in my shoulder and find my mood improves sometimes when I've take a dose. I know I must be careful
  • Posted

    I was put on Codeine after my hip replacement and it made me terribly constipated.
  • Posted

    I think I am experiencing withdrawl from 30/500 co-codamol, I was prescribed it 10 months ago, just taking 2 on a night, but the last 2 weeks i have had terrible stomach pains on taking them, so i stopped , now i am getting terrible night sweats and shivers including joint pain, i went back to taking them on a night for a couple of nights, and this all stopped. I don't need the tablets anymore for my back pain as a torn disc is now healed, but i'm feeling like i have persistant flu, and getting very littkle sleep!
    • Posted

      lydia I know just how you feel. Codeine is so addictive and a problem to many people but combined with paracetamol then it can be lethal because of the possible damage to the liver. As I said in a previous post codeine is a cheap drug to prescribe. I take codeine, not cocodamol for rheumatoid arthritis. My GP prescribes the paracetamol separately but I rarely take that. I suppose you know the sensible solution. Go and speak to your doctor, explain the symptoms of withdrawal and hope he can help. Doctors but patients in this position in the first place. I am dreading the day my doctor or rheumatologist takes me off the codeine.
    • Posted

      Totally agree with what you're saying regarding your GP taking you of codeine!!! I'm stock piling the co-codamol !!! Its awful, but I don't want to come of it and darent tell my GP I don't need it!,!!
    • Posted

      I can't even stockpile it anymore as it just doesn't last i take so many of them, I need to get off of them :-(
  • Posted

    I was prescribed co codamols 30/500 a few months ago to treat a work related injury. My life has be ruined because of this as i am now addicted to them. I no longer have any pain but still ask for a repeat prescriptions. I don't take them in the daytime, only at night and this is all i can think of all day, when can i get my fix. 

    I used to kid myself that i would take them for one more night and definatly give up the next day but i knew this was a load of rubbish and would go to extreme lengths to carry on indulging.


    I stopped taking them a week ago, deliberatly running out and not asking for a repeat prescription. The next day after not taking the drug i woke up with flu like symptoms and ached all over and had a pounding headache. I now realise that the kill is worse than the cure and will not be taking them again.

    I did casulally ask the doctor who prescribed them if they were addictive and he stated that they were not. This makes me think if doctors actually know anything or is thre a more synsister  agenda...who knows  

    • Posted

      It's so worrying when GP's are also in denial when it comes to Codeine addiction. There's no hope for the patients if doctors believe they can continue to prescribe it week in week out safely. It's cheap though and it keeps their prescribing costs down which in turn keeps the local health authority big wigs very happy!
    • Posted

      Hi..Very interesting reading...I’ve been on   Co-codamol 30/500 for the last 4 years plus...Did not know how bad they could be, reading this now makes me realize lots of things...

      Unfortunately at the moment I’m up to taking 3 tablets sometimes up to 4 times in a day...Need to try and talk to the Doc me thinks..

      At times I suffer from great pain (arthritic hips) and the 3 tablets 30/500 takes it off a little, but I must admit to taking them at times even when I’m not in pain or little pain....

      Thanks for the advice and info...


    • Posted

      good luck , hope you dont suffer too much withdrawals ! 
  • Posted

    I've taken co-codamol 30/500mg since last June 2013. Initially it was given after I had my gall bladder out but I found that it worked better than the otc co-codamol 8/500mg for my back and so asked my GP if they would prescribe it for me.  I have osteoporosis. I was taking 2 tabs as needed but it wasn't long until I realised that I needed to take it pre-emptively - to build the pain killing properties up as if I waited until I had the pain it was too late and nothing worked.  So I started taking 2 tabs 4 times daily and that worked - for a while.  Over the past few months though it was not working and so I finally went back to my GP last Thursday and explained and he has now prescribed Tramadol (2 tabs 4 times daily) and Paracetamol (2 tabs 4 times daily).  All day Friday I was light headed and nauseous and decided that I wasn't going to take any more Tramadol as I couldn't cope with the side effects.  Yesterday was even worse, shivering and shaking one minute, really hot the next, headachey, agitated and diarrohea every 20 minutes. It was only at 12.30am this morning that it clicked - withdrawal from the co-codamol.  As I had no more co-codamol left, in desperation I decided to try the Tramadol again - this time I only took 1 tab. and fingers crossed it seems to be working - no nausea or light headedness.

    I can't believe that I could get such back withdrawal symptoms from such a relatively short space of time of taking them.  Nobody warns you how you will feel.  Hope you are feeling better now.

    • Posted

      im back on them sad i had so much back pain that i didnt have much choice but i have spoken to the doctor im in to have back surgery in dec he said once im over the worst i can go on a weaning program to get off them alltogether , but the same as b4 not sure i need to be taking them 4 times a day but i am , habbit is back again , i think about when i can take the next dose all day im sick of it , this drug should be a lot harder to get hold of its to easy to throw you a prescription and let you get on with it , good luck to you all i hope you manage to get yourself off them as i hope to do as soon as poss xxxxxxx
    • Posted

      Hi Andaco,

      Just to provide a small warning which you may wish to heed or may not. I've just come out of hospital due to the withdrawels caused by Tramadol. Trust me, I went the exact route as you, starting with co-codamol, stopped all pain killers for two weeks and had nasty withdrawels from the co-codamol, the runs, nausia, restless legs and trouble sleeping, but this pales in comparison to tramadol withdrawel!!

      Tramadol became a controlled substance in june in the UK and has basically stopped being prescribed in the US due to its side effects and withdrawels. Trust me, do one search of google on 'tramadol withdrawel' and you will see what i mean. People who have been addicted to heroin have stated they found it harder to withdraw from than that! Tramadol plays with the seretonin and other neuro transmitters in your brain as well as the opiate receptors, despite being classed as a synthetic opiate.

      When I withdrew from Tramadol I turned suicidal (never ever have I experienced that before) undescribable deppression (you will hear that alot from people withdrawing from tramadol) I had restless legs, vision problems, had a seizure (tramadol induced) and developed a stutter. I have spent 3 weeks in the neurology department in hospital and am getting better, still struggling with this incredible deppression, never known anything like this and hope it clears soon!

      Please read around tramadol withdrawel online and don't just take my word for it. If you feel its benefits outweigh the risks for you then please continue to take it. However after my experience and the countless others available to see online I promised myself I would highlight this to others where I could, I would not wish what I've been through on my most reveered of enemies!

      The stuff it poison and it's being realised hence being controlled strictly of late by governments around the world.

      I hope this helps.

      Take care smile

    • Posted

      Oh and one other thing...the insomnia. Coming off tramadol I managed to not sleep for 16 days straight, despite the doctors giving benzodiazepines in hospital to try and knock me out. I thought I was going insane, didn't see how it was possible to not sleep for that long as I'm one of those people who hits the pillow and i'm asleep usually. Here is a thread from here on tramadol withdrawel too......


    • Posted

      please be very careful taking Tramadol- you will be told they are not addictive- B....l....t - i have been addicted to both codeine and tramadol and gone cold turkey with both- the codiene was terrible the Tramadol was the worst experience of my life- check out the forums on this site and others dedicated to people trying to get off tramadol- they are bad news- please think twice before you start taking them again- 
    • Posted

      This sounds utterly horrific !!!, you poor thing !!!!..I was offered trmadol at one point, but refused it, I got offered Diclofenac instead, which I took, that put me in hospital overnight (on my birthday) with suspected heart problems !!, for over 8 hours i was suffering increasingly escalating chest pains which started at 9am and finally i gave in and went to A&E at 5pm where i was admitted...horendous stuff, should be banned, and is soin many countries !!!!..I hope you are fully recovered now rolleyes
    • Posted

      Hi cliffdogg,

      I was wondering if you could offer me some advice- my mum takes co-codamol and she takes 10 a day when shes only meant to take 8. She also takes Neurofen Plus with these, which also has codiene in it, she knows she isn't allowed to take them together but she does anyway. Last christmas she had a codiene withdrawal and she became very restless, emotional and angry. I have no idea what to do, she says she is not being "bullied" into making an appointment at the doctors. She also takes codiene linctus. What kind of support did you receieve? Can I offer my mum some support? I'm so scared for her. Also, 5 months ago she took an accidental overdose and I;m so scared she will do it again, although this time she may not recover.

      Thank you for reading this, any advice will be great smile

    • Posted

      Hi there bronte-rose, what strength co-codomol is your mother taking, and is it for a pre existing condition? Unfortunately if its the 8/500mg strength this can be bought over the counter,and subsequently more difficult to control,  30/500mg needs to be prescribed by a doctor. Its very very difficult, as you my have read, i think most of us here have/had a dependancy of some shape or form to codeine !! Going cold turkey is terrible!!, I tried for 1 week and the side effects were extreme to say the least..stopping smoking was easier !!!'s the paracetamol side of co-codomol that is the danger, no matter what strength the codeine is, the paracetamol is always 500mg to prevent overdose as your only supposed to take 8 a day (on the packet) i know some doctors will say you can take more (my mothers did). Its really difficult to see someone addicted to ANY substance, I don't know what i would do if it was my family member, but on the otherside of the coin i KNOW I'm addicted to it, but don't feel like its doing me any harm, so maybe yr mum feels the same and its the rest of the family with an issue, not themselves. Hope someone can help further, and take care xx
    • Posted

      Hello bronte-rose. I do feel for you as you obviously are so worried about your mum. I regularly take codeine (without the paracetamol) prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis but I know I can't cope without it. When I picked up a prescription recently I saw a notice offering support for anyone addicted to codeine. I don't know whether that is offered in your area. It's worth checking and if so you could ring them for some advice on how you could help your mum. It I'd the paracetamol that can be lethal and the effect on the liver can creep up on you and suddenly you can find there is damage. I hope you can get some support very soon for your mum.
    • Posted

      Hi Bronte smile

      Obviously I'm not a clinician but I'll be happy to offer advice where I can.

      How old are you roughly (I'm in my mid 20's) and how old is your mother as I feel this quite important to understand what your interactions and positions may be like?

      Co-codamol I found to be highly addictive, with a constant thought of maybe that extra tablet above and beyond my maximum dosage, otherwise I'd be taking my tablets like clockwork, often thinking forward to the next dosage. It sounds as if your mum may have a similar issue and be using them to stiffle and underlying problem, such as depression or anxiety, she may be simply overwhelmed by life at the moment.

      Why did your mum start taking the tablets initially, for what condition?

      It is important not to overtly pressure your mum, as this can often lead to backlash...I have a natural personality like this, I'm a stubborn lad haha smile Sadly you wont be able to stop your mum taking these until she is herself ready, so maybe helping her and yourself discover the underlying problem would be a start. Maybe just an honest conversation and explaining that you are upset would be a start. I always find that emotions of being upset strike a cord more than anger or pressure, you need to be working in harmony, not against. This is where your mums 'bullied' comment comes into play in my humble opionion.


      I had no support coming off of co-codamol unfortunately, I had to ride it out for 2 weeks but was then placed on tramadol (1 million times worse than co-codamol in my view, do not let your mum get hold of this stuff). In the two weeks I suffered the runs, flu like symptoms, aches & pains, extreme sadness mixed with explosive anger at stages, along with ultra sensitivity to light and noise.....not to mention the restless leg syndrome and lack of sleep. All these are enough to drive you mad.

      During the above phase it is important to maintain maximum hydration, intake potassium for restless leg syndrome and to consume a good multi vitamin and some forms of healthy food, if not too much. I would let diarreah run it's course for 24-36 hours and then put a stop to it with mild ammounts of immodium if it continues, as for a short while it serves a natural purpose of cleansing the body but can then become an issue to health if it continues. Probably above and beyond all of the aforementioned is the support of a loved one during this, I suffered several panic attacks and this can be enough to make anyone relapse if they dont have anyone to hold them and reassure them during this process. If this is yourself and no stage show extreme emotions of any spectrum other than love, stability and reassurance is key.

      Depending on your age and location I would also consider contacting some support groups such as the samaritans or FRANK and asking their advice also.

      I admire your love for your mum and your own personal courage, for family are often what keep people on this earth when all else seems desilate and you are in your darkest hours of need, I certainly feel that way.

      Please do reply with answers to my above questions also, this will be of interest. Also do not neglect yourself during this process, no. 1 needs care too.

      All the best smile


    • Posted

      I have gone through the TRamadol withdrawal experience. My doctor has now given me co codemol now, but I'm really wanting to find an alternative. The point I want to make about the withdrawal is that although all the elements are there as @cliffdogg has documented, if you go cold turkey it can  to be really bad. The sensible thing to do is to do a controlled withdrawal, letting your body adjust to very fine decrease in the volume of the drug and not shocking your body into violent reactions.  I avoided the worst effects of TRamadol by withdrawing over a period of 3 months. Cutting the dose by 15-20 mg at a time every 10 days. If you have to crush your tablet and chop it up to achieve this, that is what you should do.
    • Posted

      Only just registered on this site after googling 'codeine withdrawal symptoms' and finding the link to this thread.

      My experience is extremely similar to yours cliffdog, except it happened the other way around for me. I was told I have a fractured spine around 6 years ago, my gp prescribed Tramadol. Jeez, what a total nightmare! They made me feel depressed, very depressed, so I did the worst thing I could have possibly done, I stopped taking them. Bad mistake! Went from depressed to totally suicidal, never experienced anything so horrendous. Managed to be given good advice at the time that reassured me that it was the withdrawal symptoms and so stuck it out and after about 3 weeks the symptoms wore off, thank the lord.

      Went back to my gp, he then prescribed co-codamol 30/500 which I took for around 3 years (8 per day), downgraded to the 15/500 strength around 3 years ago as the pain did get better and they were ok, been taking these just 'as-and-when required', usually 2 to 4 per day. But lately been having quite bad stomach pains lately so decided 2 weeks ago to stop taking them altogether, didn't renew my subscription. Wow, even only taking them irregularly, had exactly the symptoms you describe, constant diarrhea, nausea, irritable legs, can't sleep properly, and still the stomach pains. And my back is flippin murder again now!

    • Posted

      Totally concur with the going cold turkey scenario, worst thing I've ever done in my life and I was only taking Tramadol for a short while.
    • Posted

      Hello could u please get bk to me I was addicted to cocodomol for years I stopped about 7 weeks ago and I’m so depressed that Its hard to function I’m already on antidepressants and been on them years but since stopping cocodomol Iv been so poorly mentally iv searched so many sites to see if any one else can relate to this does it get better x
    • Posted

      Hi it took me many weeks n months to break free from the mental affects of the addiction hang in there its worth it in the end its not easy but to be free of the addiction is fantastic i hve ups n downs but i dont forget the strangle hold they had over me never again will i b in that state again b strong take care

    • Posted

      Did you struggle with depression really bad like days was so hard to get through? Thank u for replying I’m just at end off wat a can take and just thought it was me that cocodomol affected my depression is it known that this can affect depression xx

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