Codeine (co-codamol) Withdrawal
Posted: December 2, 2015, 11:43 AM

Posts: 1
Joined: December 2, 2015


I am new to this site and am seeking advice and other people's experiences regarding withdrawal from codeine. I am currently taking 6 x 30mg tablets of co-codamol per day. I have tried to come off the pills twice, once by cold turkey and once by tapering. Both failed due to the crushing tiredness and depression that I experienced. I lasted 10 days after going cold turkey and expected to have got through the side effects by then, but the emotional misery was still there.

Has anyone any similar experiences or advice? I need to get off these sodding pills and would be grateful for any help.

Good wishes to you all

Posted: December 2, 2015, 12:49 PM

Posts: 206
Joined: July 27, 2015

As sorry as I am to have to say it, what you experienced is normal.

It takes time to get past that part. I filled my days with stories of how other people hung on and got past it. I went to NA/AA and slowly it got better.

The same person will use again. AA/NA can teach you what you need to know to experience a psychic change.

Don't give up, it's worth it to be free.

Best wishes,

" Many times I sought the lighthouse
The familiar beam in the dark
Looking for the comfort
Radiating from its spark;
Today I turn that inward
No longer am I the seeker
I am not just the lighthouse
I am the light -
And lighthouse keeper. "
Posted: January 17, 2016, 8:01 AM

Posts: 3
Joined: January 17, 2016

Hey buddy, my addiction is much worse, i'm taking 60 codeine pills of 60mg per day , that's 3.6 grams, but I do know how you are feeling cause I feel the same regardless of the amount. My life is not even worthy to be lived, I have tried countless times and various methods to quit but I just can't. I hope and pray that you will overcome this issue buddy.
Posted: January 19, 2016, 6:47 AM

Posts: 2
Joined: January 19, 2016

I'm sorry to hear what you are going through with co-codamol at the moment. I was addicted to these for some years, and finally managed to break free of them last year - cannabis is my problem at the moment, but I've written about that in another post.

Co-Codamol is an extremely powerful, opiate based drug - the effects on the body, mind and every part of life are so similar to the addictive qualities of heroin that it's hardly worth making a distinction between the 2. GP's need to start taking some responsibility for their over prescribing of these drugs because they give it out so easily, and do little to measure a persons usage. Very few doctors even bother to tell you that they are highly addictive, and that use should be restricted to a few days to prevent that. Yet, they are prescribed so routinely it's ridiculous.

I will tell you how I stopped, but everyone's journey is vastly different, so it might be that you need to take time to find your own way.

I picked my moment. I waited until we had a long weekend, when the surgery was closed Fri and Monday. The week before this I started to taper my use. This was difficult, because in a week I went from 18 of the 30/500mg tablets down to zero. I went from 18 on day one, to 16 on day 2, to 14 on day 3, to 12 on day 4, to 10 on day 5, 6 on day 6 and 2 on day 7. I made sure I had no tablets left at this point, and knowing that the doctors was then closed for 4 days, preventing me from easily getting more, I went cold turkey from that point.

I could never have imagined how hard it was going to be - there are the physical aspects of withdrawal, and there are the psychological aspects too - The former disappear long before the latter.

The physical withdrawals were terrible - cramps, pain, sweating, no appetite, no sleep, irritable and the list goes on. I found it was better to empty the house of people for those 4 days, because I knew it would be messy and I didn't want anyone to witness that. My emotions were all over the place too, and the only thing that got me through was sheer determination. There is no other way. You need to want to stop, and then you need to come up with your own plan of action to do just that.

By the end of that 4th day of cold turkey, I was starting to feel better - nowhere near 100%, it takes about 2 weeks before you are back to feeling physically good, and it's easy to go back the way at any point during that time - remember that the withdrawals are just your body screaming for a drug that you have got it used to having - when you start withholding that drug, the body punishes you for that. Don't give in.

Unfortunately, the emotional aspects of the withdrawal are altogether more difficult to cope with. I would suggest that you speak to your doctor AFTER the physical withdrawal because it might be that a mild anti depressant can help get over the worst of that to get your mood stabilised.

Nothing about stopping any opiate addiction is ever easy, just due to the nature of the drug. What I can tell you though, is that once you go through all that pain, get back to feeling good and when you wake in the morning, and your first thought is NOT about getting up to take your tablets, you will know that it's all been worthwhile.

Nobody who takes these tablets sets out to become addicted to them. The addiction creeps up, and the first most people know about it is when they run out and realise they can't manage without them. Doctors are getting better at warning people, but not always, and certainly not historically. My gran was prescribed Co-Codamol for a sore back at the age of 52. She was addicted to them, and the tablets before them, known as co-proxamol. When she died 5 years ago at the age of 81, she was still addicted to them, and still the doctor was prescribing them. She spent the last 30 years of her life addicted to a painkiller that doctors had prescribed, given no warning, and they wouldn't even recognise the addictive nature of these drugs until fairly recently. This isn't an isolated case either, in the UK alone, it's estimated that around 5 million people are hooked, in one way or another, on prescription drugs that they weren't warned about. It's the biggest disgrace never spoken about of the modern medical profession.

I hope you have found a way to stop, and to get your life back from these awful tablets.
Posted: January 19, 2016, 6:59 AM

Posts: 2
Joined: January 19, 2016

@input - I can't even begin to imagine the seeming mountain you have to climb to rid your body of the amount of codeine it is now dependant upon.

It saddens me to hear or read anyone saying that they have a life that they feel isn't worth living. Some of us are just prone to addiction. I have been through it first with alcohol, then with the prescription meds (Co-Codamol) and now I'm going through it all again with cannabis, which seems harder to quit than all the rest combined.

Get help. I don't know where you are from, and I know rehab in the U.S is difficult to access if you don't have the funds to pay - In the UK with an addiction at that level, you would get into a residential rehab fairly quickly, and the NHS would pay for it, but if that's not an option, then I think you need to look and see what help might be available in your country. It's going to be very hard for you given the sheer amount you now need to take.

All I can say is that no matter how hard it is, or how hopeless it feels, there is always a way out at the other end - I just wouldn't recommend that you go cold turkey without medical advice because you could do yourself more damage than good. It's hard to trust medical advice when that's what has helped get you into the situation, but just be honest with your doctor, ask for help, and hopefully you will get it.

Please let us know how you go, I wish you the very, very best!
Posted: February 4, 2016, 10:21 AM

Posts: 1
Joined: February 4, 2016

Codeine addiction is to me one of the worst addictions ever. Partly because it is so easy to get hold off, personally I would love to see the O.T.C (chemist bought) stuff banned and for our drs only to prescribe it for severe pain. I dont see the sense in prescribing such an addictive drug for migraine or mild pain when there are soo many alternatives on the market....reason they do this is because its cheaper than the alternatives!!!! I am a pharmacy dispenser in a local chemist and have been addicted to these pills for a long the temptation to take these is always there.
I was prescribed 30/500 co-codamol 5 yrs ago for breaking my wrist....same old story once the pain went the addiction did not. Everytime I stopped taking these things i would get horrible withdrawals but the worst for me was always the psychological pain and emptiness i felt after the physical withdrawals left me.
I took my last dose of Co-codamol on Fri night, i am lucky that Ive been able to take a weeks holiday to do this but it has been hard but doable and i was taking about 30 per day maybe more when stressed. So this is the 6th day without and yes the physical symptoms have eased but now Im left in a bored, depressed, empty, dull, anxious state. I googled some things to help and i truly believe that the vitamins i have taken have been a lifesaver...l-tyrosine in particular to help lift your mood and get your natural feel good chemicals in the brain working again...the codeine has been taking over these for sooo long so they have stopped working.
The amount of customers that come into our chemist that are hooked on these evil pills is horrendous...take it like this they are our top sales item and have been for as long as Ive worked there.
Once I beat this my next goal is to get out of there and find a job where I dont need to watch people destroying their lives....I hate selling these things to people and i always say "please dont take for longer than 3 days" but i hate that i cant share my story with them.
I wish every person on this journey the strength and courage to succeed, start loving yourselves and dont feel guilty because that will lead to using again. You can all do it....and you WILL notice your life taking a better turn once your free of these...GOODLUCK xx
Posted: April 3, 2018, 4:51 PM

Posts: 1
Joined: April 3, 2018

Hi all,

I just wanted to share my story and hope it helps. Also hope it shows people how addictive cocodamol is. I have spent most of my life always looking for alternative and natural cures for everything as i was always so against mefication believing that most gps just keep prescribing meds to people to keep the big pharmaceutical companies in business! Anyway a few years ago i was experiencing neck and back pain and was prescribed cocodamol. I took them home but decided not to take them. After a month or so i hurt my back and decided one night to just give in and take 2 tablets and rest. The pain disappeared very quickly and i had some sort of codeine rush which i had never experienced before and as much as it felt a bit strange, it was actually quite nice! Before i knew it i was pretending and believing i had backache just so i could keep taking them. I didnt want to get more from my gp as i used to work in the reception of the surgery and didnt want to let on to anyone that i was enjoying the buzz so i found myself going around everyone i knew, family, neighbours friends to get some of theirs until there was nobody left to ask. I then realised that i could buy tgem quite easily online from various doctor websites by completing quite simple forms so for the last year i have spent around £100 per month buying them and taking between 6 and 8 per day. Last week i had to call an ambulance as i thought i might be having a heart attack with pain along the top of my stomach and chest, cold sweats etc. The hospital did every test under the sun and i am now waiting to go for a stomach scan as i have been told that my liver is not functioning properly. I came home last thursday and have not taken a cocodamol since. I know that this medication is the cause of this. I have been taking milk thistle and probiotics and juicing green veg and ginger to try to detox my liver before i have to go back this week for more bloods. I cant say that the last few days have been easy. My whole body has ached, ive had sweats, fever, felt sick and had a thumping headache and no sleep. Ive just tried to push through drinking loads of water. Its now day 5 and i am starting to feel slightly normal again and actually slept about 5 hours last night. I never want to touch these again and would encourage everyone to stick in there. You will feel better gor it and theres always a natural way of managing certain aches and pains. I have also been taking good strong vitamin c and fish oils! I cannot believe how easy it was to be addicted to these and that was someone who as i said was always against medication. I really wish anyone going through this all the luck and love in the world and i hope you all manage to get through it
Lots of love
G x

  top of page  Top