Co-codamol side effects: Four ‘serious’ side effects – ‘tell a doctor straight away’

Pharmacist explains how paracetamol and ibuprofen work

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You may be taking co-codamol if your usual go-to painkillers don’t work on their own. This medicine, coming as a tablet or capsule, has a list of “serious” side effects that happen in less than one in 100 people, but are good to be aware of.

The NHS urges telling your doctor “straight away” when you experience these:

  • Skin rash
  • Difficulty peeing
  • Changes in your eyesight
  • Dizziness.

Although many people don’t get any side effects, there are some more common ones linked to this medicine.

These can range from constipation and nausea to sleepiness.

You should discuss symptoms like these with your doctor if they bother you and don’t go away.

People are more likely to experience side effects when taking higher strengths of co-codamol.

In some rare cases, people can be allergic to this medicine and develop a serious reaction that calls for urgent medical help.

You should call 999 or go to A&E if your tongue or throat starts swelling, if you have trouble breathing or if you feel tight in the chest and throat.

For all of the possible side effects and signs of an allergic reaction refer to the patient information leaflet inside your medicine packet.

Co-codamol medicine comes in three strengths, with the lowest one being available in pharmacies.

If you require higher strength, your doctor will issue a prescription.

Don’t increase the dose if your pain is really bad as taking too much can be harmful, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor.

You should also know that it’s possible to get addicted to co-codamol, however, you will receive tips on avoiding the likelihood of this from a medical professional.

This medicine can be taken only by adults and children over 12, but teenagers should be aware that it is only recommended for them if other painkillers haven’t worked.

Co-codamol is not suitable for some individuals with specific conditions.

You can find the full list of these on the NHS website here under “who can and cannot take co-codamol”.

If you suffer from any of these, tell your GP before you start taking the medicine.

As co-codamol can be addictive, it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice on the dosage.

Both the tablets and capsules, that this medicine comes in, can be swallowed with water.

There’s also a dissolvable variant that you can put into your drink.

It’s not necessary to eat before you take co-codamol, as it can be taken both with or without food.

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