Painkillers and Codeine

Jan 28, 2021

There are many reasons why one would need pain killers, it could be a headache, a muscle ache or perhaps pain in your joints. Whatever the reason there are a host of different medications available to help reduce the pain.

Paracetamol is the main ingredient in most over the counter (OTC) pain killers, it has anti-pyretic properties which means it helps to control temperature and also aids in reducing pain. It is available in many forms such as liquid solutions, dissolvable tablets, capsules and regular tablets. The other pain killer also available is Ibuprofen, you may also know it as Nurofen. This works in two ways, the first is that it is an anti-inflammatory, meaning that it can help reduce swelling due to joint pain or injury. Ibuprofen also works as an effective pain killer.

Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are also available in combination with codeine, as well as on their own. Codeine is an opioid based pain killer and it is usually added to Paracetamol and Ibuprofen to increase their pain killing effectiveness. The codeine based pain killers should only be used as a second step, after trying paracetamol and ibuprofen on their own. Due to the nature of codeine it does have some drawbacks, codeine can cause drowsiness and also become addictive. This is why there is a control on the supply of codeine products.

Codeine based painkillers such as Nurofen plus and Solpadeine should not be used for more than 3 days at a time due to its addictive nature. For this reason, if patients require routine treatment with codeine-based painkillers then they should speak to their GP who will be able to help. Pharmacies are unable to do repeat supplies due to the addictive nature, and also if a patient is treating pain themselves and do not target the root cause then things could get worse as you wouldn’t want to mask the pain, rather solve it from the root.

It is important to realise that the root cause of the pain is controlled and not just masked, furthermore as codeine is addictive patients can easily get hooked to it. This can lead to a difficult spiralling out of control, to combat this Pharmacies have strict policies on supply. No more than ONE codeine containing product can be supplied and it cannot be bought on a regular basis. If you as a patient do require codeine-based pain killers it is advised that you make an appointment with your GP so that you can discuss your pain control in a more efficient and safe way.


B.V. Jan 21

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