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Co-codamol & alcohol side effects

Before we look into the side effects of mixing co-codamol and alcohol, it is important to gain an understanding of what exactly co-codamol is and what it is used for.

What is co-codamol and what’s it used for?

Co-codamol is a painkiller, containing paracetamol and codeine phosphate, and is used when paracetamol alone doesn’t ease the pain. The added codeine, a slightly stronger painkiller, also helps to provide relief from pain and discomfort.

Despite being available on prescription from a doctor, co-codamol can become addictive. We compiled a list of prescription drug addiction blogs that may provide a greater understanding of the effects that they can have.

Co-codamol may be known by various brand names including Zapain, Tylex, Codpar, Kapake and Solpadol.

Can you drink on codeine?

No matter your tolerance level, you should never mix alcohol with co-codamol.

No-one who suffers from alcoholism, is alcohol dependent or has liver failure should take codeine phosphate or co-codamol. It may also be the case that you should not take codeine if you have drank excessively in the past.

There are numerous side effects to mixing alcohol and codeine phosphate, the ingredient in co-codamol, that we will explain further down this page.

As previously mentioned, co-codamol contains ingredients of codeine – an opiate drug used when someone isn’t responding to painkillers. Prolonged use of codeine can lead to a full-blown addiction. Read up on codeine addiction help here.

As a prescribed medicine, co-codamol is used for back problems, muscle ache, pain relief after surgery, rheumatic disorders, flu, fever and migraines.

What are the side effects of co-codamol?

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Itching or skin rashes
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty passing urine

Upon reading the possible side effects of taking co-codamol, it becomes even clearer why you shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking this drug. Drinking only serves to further emphasise many of these side effects and can become extremely dangerous when mixed.

Can I become addicted to co-codamol?

Can I become addicted to co-codamol?

In short, yes. Co-codamol addiction occurs in sync with an increased tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. In order to achieve the sought after feeling, users increase the doses and can quickly become addicted.

The need to remove the feeling of intense pain can lead people to take co-codamol at increased levels, as described in this co-codamol addiction blog.

It is entirely possible to overdose on co-codamol and doing so can cause serious damage to the liver and kidneys. Of course, alcohol increases the risk of liver damage if an overdose of co-codamol occurs and persistent heavy drinkers are at a greater risk.

How long after taking codeine can you drink?

You must ensure that co-codamol is completely out of your system before drinking alcohol.

It is likely that you’ll be ok to drink alcohol without ill effect from the drug, 24 hours after your final dose. It is best to check with your doctor, pharmacist or a medical professional on this and other information about taking your medication correctly.

Also, beware that certain cough and cold remedies may contain alcohol. Mouthwash may also contain alcohol. Nothing containing alcohol should be used at the same time as co-codamol.

The problem of prescription painkillers

In a recent high-profile example, Ant McPartlin (one half of Ant and Dec) revealed how he turned to prescription drugs after a troubled operation on his knee back in 2014.

ant mcpartlin drink driving

The I’m A Celeb presenter said:

Initially I was prescribed co-codamol, codeine, the normal stuff you would get, and then a lot of opium-based stuff.

They’re very hard to come off, and I drank with them, which was stupid and very reckless.

After being told by his doctor that he was taking his life into his own hands, McPartlin sought help.

Further reading and help

You can find more information on the NHS website about mixing co-codamol with alcohol

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