Taking co-codamol 30/500mg and other opioids on a fairly regular basis may lead to inadvertent dependence. You may have been started on these some time ago and are probably taking them for pain. However, not everyone is aware of the risks of codeine or opioid addiction. By this we mean that you can get hooked on the medication and then find it very difficult to reduce or stop it. This may develop gradually and you may not be aware of how this affects you.
Although you may think the tablets are giving you pain relief, it may actually be addiction that drives you to regular use. This problem has been highlighted in the media on several occasions and it is important that we alert you to the risks.
There are important side effects, such as impaired concentration (which can affect your driving), constipation, nausea (feeling of sickness) and low mood. These side effects can be made worse by the addition of alcohol.
We would like to encourage you to try to reduce your consumption of this medication. This is best done gradually as you may feel ill if you stop it suddenly. The ‘500’ refers to the paracetamol which is in the tablets. This could be prescribed separately if you wish. Paracetamol is often underrated but can provide good pain relief if taken regularly.
Having reviewed the evidence, we have decided to reduce the prescribing of co-codamol 30/500mg as a repeat medication. We will endeavour to prescribe the reduced strength to 15/500mg in order to help you gradually stop this medication. This will then be reduced further to the 8/500 strength and then stopped completely, with paracetamol as an alternative.
If you find it difficult to reduce your use of co-codamol, we would advise you to contact the surgery for advice and assistance. There is expert help if you need extra support.
Thank you for considering the above and we would encourage you to act on the advice.