Codeine/Co-codamol addiction beaten

Posted , 35 users are following.

I've come on here to let those of you who recognise you have a dependency on cocodamol or codeine know that you can get off these hateful tablets. There's hardly any info on UK websites, but if like to share my experience with you.

I became addicted to 30/500 co-codamol about 5 years ago when I was prescribed them for back pain, and eventually was taking up to 12 a day. I realised about 6 months ago that I had a problem, and decided to stop taking them. The withdrawals were so bad, within 3 days I'd renewed my prescription and was back on them. I made an appointment to see a Dr and confessed. I admit I was ashamed, how had I allowed myself to get addicted?! The first thing the Dr did was to give me codeine phosphate 15mg. The biggest danger in taking cocodamol is the paracetamol, which can damage your kidneys and liver. The Dr told me initially it would take around 6 months to taper my doseage, reducing slowly to minimise the withdrawal symptoms. I visited him a month later as agreed and he had decided 6 months was too long, he wanted me to stop altogether in a month! Otherwise he would have to refer me to a Methadone clinic! This scared me I admit, and I went straight home and trawled the Internet looking for help. The first thing I found out is that Methadone is 10 times more addictive than codeine. Talk about scatter gun approach. I had asked the Dr if there was any vitamins/supplements I could take to minimise the withdrawals (buzzy head, restless legs, anxiety, nausea, diharrea), he'd told me no. But there is. If you search "Thomas recipe" you'll find a list. I used this list to come off Codeine. It was 5 days of real hell, but it can be done. If anyone wants any more info, message me or reply to this thread. If writing this helps one person, then I'll be happy.

2 likes, 61 replies

61 Replies

  • Posted

    hi nicky

    can i ask you why was you on both ??? as cododamal on its own is very addicted and been on the codine too i used to be on co-drydomol was on them 4 fourteen yrs i just came straight of them but started on these but never got  any side effects dont no if these as took over to do with it or not all i want to no

    am on 4 codiene a should take 8 but can manage on 3 or 4 a  day only been on them for 4  month  they are 30mg i some times will miss one out but i can take them or leave them but im still frightened if i have to take them long term could i still get addicted to them??? i also take 2 parocetomol 4 times a day and ora-morph 5mils 3 times a day ive been on them for a yrs now


    reason why i have had 2 hip operations in the past 11 month both been unsusseful and the pain is so bad i also have a scar 12 inch long were im getting loads of pain from plus drop foot thats very painful then to top it a cant bend my knee its totally locked up from my first op up to my second one

    i cant walk but this is due to the drop foot an through knee not bending from my    first op had them been done properly i wouldnt have had to be on any tablets      just a bit of advice from you now i honestly will go barmy if i dont get some ease im glad i cant take cocodamol as only once i ever took 1  made me dizzy so threw them on fire.

    but i have heard co odamol is a bad drug for addiction they can make you get addicted to them but dont you think any tablet can if took over a long period of time but i hate having to take any tablets as i belive they are giving us them to cover up instead of getting to the bottom of the cause of a problem same as im taking these for.

     the operation on this as caused nerve damage but nobody will do anything about it there as to be something to a all whats happened with me nothing just dosent happen on the own there there as to be a reason behind it.dr's are too quick at dishing tablets out and dont think long term damage from them

    ive been on diazapam for 44yrs then one day out of blue the dr took me straight of it 5yrs ago i had pains every were never thought it could be anything to do with that i was backwards and forwads to hospital they couldnt find a solution till onetime the dr at the hopital asked if i had been took of any tablets or had them changed told him yes what it was straight away he put me straight back on sent a letter to gp that put me on it

    told him never do you take some one straight of this drug just like that after all them yrs ween them of it not just take them of it as soon as i was back on it all the pains went trouble is i cant do without it now so i reported him for it i blame the dr for putting any one ona drug cocktail then not review it well i hope you can give me a bit of advise if this comes into your question as i dont want to get addicted to codine or the morphine just in case i will look at your recipe

    are you on any now??? thank you



    • Posted

      Hi Christine, I'm not a medical professional so I wouldn't like to advise you, I can only speak from experience, and I was addicted to Codeine. It sounds as if, unlike me, you are in need of medication to help with your pain management. I'd suggest if you're worried, go back and speak with your GP, and tell them your concerns. I'm no longer taking any tablets at all. Good luck.
  • Posted

    Hi Nicky I just found your thread I desperately want help to stop I know I am gradually increasing my intake and try to quit but each time can get down my dosage only to go up again.

    It drives me nuts.

    I take them initially for joint pain and the problem I have is sometimes I hurt more than other times work dependent I do very physical job!

    I know long term usage is causing major problems have Bern on these pills seven years .

    What tips can you give xxxx

    • Posted

      Hi Amanda,

      What strength tablets are you taking? Prescription or over the counter? How many are you taking daily?

    • Posted

      Hi Nicky sorry for late reply.

      30/500 fizzy seven a day only starting out with two to four.

      I thought this was a lot but looking at some replies on here I am not so sure, what I am sure about is that they are becoming less effective. I wake all night and am now thinking it is my body wanting the codeine, my partner also takes them throughout day and again work back etc etc.

      Do you know if they can cause ectopic heartbeats have been suffering really bad and been treated for thyroid which initially wad thought to be causing ectopic now too many tests later have said it's not.

      Sorry to bombard you with questions but always more helpful to speak to people who have had experience with the same issues.x

    • Posted

      Hi Amanda,

      It's no problem at all. Please don't make the mistake of saying "only 7", or comparing your situation to others. There's always someone out there that's taking more than you, but the ultimate issue is you and your situation. Some days I only took 2, or 4, but it took a hell of a lot of willpower, and I was still addicted. Can I ask how long you've been taking them for, and whether you actually need to take them? That makes a big difference when you're trying to come off them. Again, same question with your partner, why are they taking them? I'm sorry Im not a medical professional so wouldn't know about the ectopic heartbeat, but if you're hAving tests, have you told your Dr or nurse that you're taking cocodamol regularly? Sorry for all the questions!

      Take care.

    • Posted

      Hi started on them 8 years ago for severe back pain after crushing bottom spine.

      Some days pain not too bad others too uncomfortable, I tend to try and cut back when not too bad only to find pain kicks right back in with vengeance but on my good days the need to take that fizzy tablet is ridiculous.

      My partner only started taking them 18 months ago again for back ad we make bespoke kitchens and extremely heavy hard non stop work it is our own business so we are obviously very committed there are no days off or early hours plus all paperwork on top so I am going to be very honest I feel if I don't have these I would definitely not be able to do what I do.

      I am worried reading posts on here as to how bad the codeine is and was never told this when I started taking them.

      When I said just 7 good point , I don't think any amount over long period is good and having only started on a couple when really needed I have only just realised that last year I could take three so have already doubled plus in that time but feel the urge for more! 

      How are you doing , what started you on them and do you think we can rid these x

  • Posted

    I too was prescribed them for back issues, so I researched what I could do to strengthen my back to minimise the pain. While you have the back pain, you will always (rightly) have an excuse to take the tablets, no one should ever be in pain. My situation was different though in that, psychologically I justified taking the number of tablets I did because of the "pain". Sometimes there was no pain I'm ashamed to admit. I took the tablets because they gave me that nice, warm fuzzy feeling, like a big hug that I needed to get through a tough day at work. Bad heh? The paracetamol is the issue as aside from having an opiate addiction, that really can have a terrible effect on your liver and kidneys. Personally, I'd go back to your Dr, tell them you're concerned because you've been taking the tablets for so long and see if he could put you on a different non opiate based pain killer. You can then taper the cocodamol, you are going to have bad withdraws, if you just go cold turkey, if you taper, it's will still be hard but less so. There's no point trying to reduce your intake however if you're in pain, especially with your business being quite manual. Has your Dr not suggested an alternative, or a solution for your back problems? Sorry, so many questions, but you're on the right path just by coming on here and admitting your issues, that takes a huge amount of courage. There's a solution, but the hardest part isn't kicking the habit, it's staying off them, believe me!
  • Posted

    Hi Nicky,

    I'm planning on stopping taking Zapain 30/500 today. I did try at the end of last week and suffered with panic attacks. I was planning on just going cold turkey as I took the maximum of 8 per day sometimes less, I've been taking them around 3 years for back pain and I now want to stop. What I want to know is was it just the 5 days that were bad and after that did it get better? 

    • Posted

      Hi Abby,

      If you've been taking 8 a day, you're going to go through some serious withdrawals. Congratulations on taking the first step and deciding you want to stop, that's a massive positive.  Have you tried to reduce your dosage first? Could you cut down to say 4 a day for a week and then go cold turkey? It will also give you time to get your support system in place, which shouldn't be underestimated.  Do you intend on working too? Have you cut off your supply? Sorry for so many questions, but preparation really is the key to this. 

    • Posted

      Yes I do intend on working, no have not cut off supply yet just stopped taking them
  • Posted

    Hi, yes could cut down to 4 per day I suppose, I just want it over with though, I never realised there was anything wrong with that as my GP prescribed me up to 8 per day!! Really frightened now as I didn't realise the effects this could have. Did you get the sensation that your heart was racing?
    • Posted

      The biggest thing is that you've made the decision that you're going to stop, and that's a massive decision, and the best for you, your body and your future.  Taking opiates (not to mention the damage from the paracetamol) long term messes with your brain chemistry, so just stopping immediately is going to be hard. If you can taper, reduce gradually, then that will be easier because it gives your brain and body time to adjust more gradually. The problem with that of course is the temptation! I got down to 2 tablets a day before I "jumped" and went cold turkey. There were a number of things I did before that too. I confessed my guilty secret to my husband. I read everything I could about opiate addiction and withdrawal. I bought supplements to help me through the process, and I took a week off work. You also need to cut your supply off, and get rid of any tablets you have in the house, flush them. Believe me, day 3 when you are pacing the house at 4am not having slept you are going to want those tablets. If they're not there you can't, and you will get through it.  I told my Dr, and he wasn't greatly supportive, yours may be different, but either way, this needs to be planned in order for it to be successful.  Feel free to send me a private email, and I'll answer all the questions you have, no problem, this is the best thing believe me. 
    • Posted

      I'd also like to add my doctor wasn't really supportive either, I'd been honest how I'd gone off track with my tablets at one point and she started to get funny about it. I was so angry how she dealt with me.
  • Posted

    Hi, I'd like to share my story of how I got tied into these tablets.. It started about 20 months ago, I'd had horrible tooth ache (abscess causing the pain) and started to use my mothers co-codamol tablets 30/500mg. Anyway, I took 3 in one go to get rid of the pain after having my tooth out. I started to feel good on them. I did some online research on them and other people had said how they'd took them to feel good. That's when I started to abuse them for their recreational effects. It started to become a daily thing. Only using 4 a day but taking them all in one go. Even though compared to others, this wasn't a lot of tablets for daily use I was still bothered about the paracetamol intake I'd been using all in one go. Since then I've had blood tests and they've all come back fine. I'm still using tablets everyday but I want to come off them. I don't take 4 in one go anymore, mostly 2-3 if that. But my dose is between 4-8 tablets a day at the moment. I want to stop these but don't want to go through withdrawals, as I tried a couple weeks back through my local GP's advise and my emotions seemed to have been all over the place. That's when I went back to my normal daily dose. I feel silly about the whole situation but it's so easy to fall into. I know how hard it can seem to talk to someone but I can tell you it's a big weight off your shoulders. I want to taper off myself and take it slowy so if anyone has any advice on how they've done it I'd love to hear. Hope all is going well Nicky, thanks for sharing this with us people :-) 

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.