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Dihydrocodeine tablets belong to a group of medicines called opioid analgesics or painkillers.
Dihydrocodeine works by mimicking the action of naturally occurring pain-reducing chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are found in the brain and spinal cord and reduce pain by combining with opioid receptors to block the transmission of pain signals sent by the nerves to the brain. Therefore, even though the cause of the pain may remain, less pain is actually felt.
Dihydrocodeine 30mg tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water with, or soon after, food. Do NOT drink alcohol with dihydrocodeine.
The usual dose of dihydrocodeine for adults is:
- one 30mg tablets every 4-6 hours
- up to a maximum of 6 tablets in 24 hours
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember and then continue taking your doses as before. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
As with all medicines some people may have side effects from taking dihydrocodeine.
Some of the more common side effects of dihydrocodeine include:
- Drowsiness (if this occurs do not drive or operate machinery)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty passing urine
- Shortness of breath
- Skin rashes
Codeine/dihydrocodeine should only be taken for short periods as it can lead to dependence and in some cases addiction. You must take the lowest dose that controls your pain and never take more than the daily recommended amount. If you believe you need to take it for a longer period we would expect you to have discussed this with your General Practitioner.
Dihydrocodeine should be used with caution in:
- Elderly people
- People with decreased kidney or liver function
- People with decreased lung function or breathing difficulties e.g. asthma
- People who are constipated.
- People with inflammatory bowel disorders such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
- People with diseases of the bile duct.
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- People who have difficulty passing urine, for example men with an enlarged prostate gland (prostatic hypertrophy).
- People with an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
- People with underactive adrenal glands, e.g. Addison's disease.
- People with low blood pressure (hypotension) or shock.
- A condition involving abnormal muscle weakness called myasthenia gravis.
- People with a history of convulsions or fits, e.g. epilepsy.
- People with an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
- People with a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Dihydrocodeine should NOT be used in:
- People with very slow, shallow breathing (respiratory depression).
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- People having an asthma attack.
- People who are intoxicated with alcohol.
- Liver failure.
- People who have or are at risk of getting a blockage in the gut (paralytic ileus).
- People with a head injury or raised pressure inside the skull (intracranial pressure).
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet