Co-codamol 8mg/500mg is a mixture of 2 different painkillers – paracetamol and codeine.
Co-codamol 8mg/500mg is used to treat aches and pains including headaches, muscular pain, migraine and toothache.
Co-codamol 8mg/500mg is usually taken when everyday painkillers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol alone, haven’t worked.
Who can and can’t take co-codamol ?
Co-codamol 8mg/500mg can be taken by anyone aged 12 years or over, but for under-16s, read our information on co-codamol for children. Under-18 year-olds should only take it if other painkillers haven’t worked.
Co-codamol 8mg/500mg isn’t suitable for some people. Tell your doctor before starting the medicine if you:
have lung problems or breathing difficulties
have a head injury
have adrenal gland problems
have an illness which causes fits
regularly drink more than the maximum recommended amount of alcohol (14 units a week)
are trying to become pregnant, are already pregnant or are breastfeeding – co-codamol is not usually recommended in pregnancy or while breastfeeding
have liver problems
are less than 18 years old and have had your tonsils or adenoids removed because of a sleep problem called obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.
How and when to take it ?
Co-codamol comes as tablets and capsules. Swallow them whole with a drink of water, with or without food.
Co-codamol also comes as soluble tablets that dissolve in water to make a drink.
Different co-codamol strengths
Co-codamol tablets and capsules come in 3 different strengths.
They contain 8mg, 15mg or 30mg of codeine.
All 3 strengths contain 500mg of paracetamol – the same as in a standard paracetamol tablet or capsule.
The strength of co-codamol appears as 2 numbers on the packet. For example, the strength may be written as 8/500. This means it contains 8mg of codeine and 500mg of paracetamol.
You can buy the lowest strength of co-codamol (8/500) without a prescription, but only from a pharmacy. The higher strengths (15/500 and 30/500) are only available on prescription from a doctor.
How much to take
The normal dose for pain in:
teenagers aged 16 years to 18 years is 1 or 2 tablets (of any strength) up to 4 times in 24 hours. Always leave at least 6 hours between doses. The maximum dose is 8 co-codamol tablets in 24 hours.
adults over the age of 18 is 2 co-codamol tablets (of any strength) up to 4 times in 24 hours. Always leave at least 4 hours between doses. The maximum dose is 8 co-codamol tablets in 24 hours.
It’s important to leave a gap between doses of co-codamol. Taking too much co-codamol can be very dangerous. That’s because the paracetamol in it can cause liver damage. Don’t increase the dose of co-codamol or take a double dose if your pain is very bad.
How long to take it for?
If your doctor has prescribed co-codamol for you, take it as you’ve been advised.
If you’ve bought co-codamol from a pharmacy, don’t use it for more than 3 days. If you still have pain, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
What if I take too much?
If you take 1 or 2 extra tablets of co-codamol by accident on a single occasion, it’s unlikely to be harmful. If this happens, wait at least 24 hours before you take any more.
Like all medicines, co-codamol can cause side effects although not everyone gets them. Many people have no side effects or only minor ones.
You are more likely to have side effects if you take the higher strengths of co-codamol.
Common side effects
Common side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people. Tell your doctor if the side effects bother you or don’t go away.
Common side effects include:
feeling sick or vomiting
Serious side effects
Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 100 people.
Tell a doctor straight away if you have:
a skin rash
changes in your eyesight
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction to co-codamol.
Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines interfere with the way co-codamol works. And co-codamol can interfere with the way some medicines work. Tell your doctor if you’re taking:
sleeping pills or tranquillisers
antidepressants – some types don’t mix with co-codamol
medicines to stop you feeling sick or vomiting such as domperidone or metoclopramide
blood-thinning medicines such as warfarin
medicines to treat infection, particularly rifampicin or ciprofloxacin
Mixing co-codamol with herbal remedies and supplements
It’s not possible to say that complementary medicines and herbal teas are safe to take with co-codamol. They’re not tested in the same way as pharmacy and prescription medicines. They’re generally not tested for the effect they have on other medicines.