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Back to Medicines A to Z. Co-codamol is a mixture of 2 different painkillers — paracetamol and codeine. It's used to treat aches and pains including headachesmigrainemuscular pain and toothache. Children aged 12 to 15 years can have co-codamol but only if everyday painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol on its own, have not worked. For adults and children aged 16 years and over, read our information on co-codamol for adults. Co-codamol can be taken by children aged 12 to 15 years or older if other everyday painkillers have not worked.
Co-codamol is not suitable for some children. Tell your doctor before starting the medicine if your child has:. Co-codamol comes as tablets and capsules. They're swallowed whole with a drink of water, with or without food. If your child finds it difficult to swallow tablets or capsules, co-codamol is also available as soluble tablets. These dissolve in water to make a drink. All 3 strengths contain mg of paracetamol — the same as in a standard paracetamol tablet or capsule. The strength of co-codamol appears as 2 s on the packet.
The normal dose for children aged 12 to 15 years is 1 tablet of co-codamol of any strength up to 4 times in 24 hours. It's important to leave a gap between doses of co-codamol. Giving your child too much co-codamol can be very dangerous. That's because the paracetamol in it can cause liver damage. Do not increase the dose of co-codamol or give a double dose even if their pain is very bad. Do not give your child co-codamol Strengths of co codamol you have bought from a pharmacy for more than 3 days.
If the pain does not improve after 3 days, talk to your child's doctor. The maximum dose of co-codamol for children aged 12 to 15 years is normally 4 tablets in 24 hours. Wait at least 6 hours between doses. If you've bought co-codamol from a pharmacy, do not give it to for more than 3 days.
If they still have pain, talk to a pharmacist or doctor. If your child needs to go to hospital, take the co-codamol packet or leaflet inside it plus any remaining medicine with them. It's safe to give children co-codamol with ibuprofen. Do not give children co-codamol with paracetamol or other medicines that contain paracetamol. Co-codamol already contains paracetamol so your child could get a paracetamol overdose.
Medicines that have paracetamol in them include painkillers Tramacet and co-dydramolmigraine remedies and cough and cold remedies Lemsip and Night Nurse. Before giving any other medicines together with co-codamol, check the label to see whether these contain paracetamol. Never give aspirin to under the age of 16 unless their doctor prescribes it.
It can cause serious, even fatal, side effects. Like all medicines, co-codamol can cause side Strengths of co codamol although not everyone gets them. Most children have no side effects or only minor ones. In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction anaphylaxis to co-codamol. These are not all the side effects of co-codamol. For a full list, see the leaflet inside the medicine packet.
You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme. Some medicines affect the way co-codamol works. Equally co-codamol can stop some medicines working as well as they should. It's not possible to say whether complementary medicines and herbal remedies are safe to take with co-codamol. They're not tested in the same way as pharmacy and prescription medicines. They're generally not tested for the effect they have on other medicines. Tell your pharmacist or doctor if your child is taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.
Co-codamol contains paracetamol and codeine. These 2 painkillers work in different ways to relieve pain. Paracetamol seems to work by blocking "chemical messengers" in the brain that tell us we have pain. It also reduces a high temperature by affecting the chemical messengers in an area of your brain that controls body temperature. Codeine belongs to a group of medicines called opiates.
It affects pain receptors in the central nervous system and the brain to block pain als to the rest of the body. When codeine blocks the pain receptors, there are other unwanted effects — for example slow and shallow breathing. It can also slow down digestion, which is why codeine can cause constipation. If you've bought co-codamol from a pharmacy, do not give it to your child for more than 3 days.
If they're still in pain after this time, talk to your pharmacist or doctor. In theory, taking co-codamol regularly for a long time could make your child addicted to the codeine in it. However, if they're taking it as a painkiller under medical supervision, it's very unlikely they will get addicted to it. If your child is addicted to co-codamol, they may find it difficult to stop taking it or feel they need to take it more often than necessary. It's not usually recommended for children to take co-codamol that's been bought from a pharmacy for longer than 3 days.
If your child needs Strengths of co codamol take co-codamol for a long time their body can become tolerant to it. That means they may need higher doses to control their pain. If your child has been taking co-codamol for a long time, you can prevent withdrawal symptoms by reducing Strengths of co codamol co-codamol gradually. Your doctor can help you do this. Some painkillers work better than others for certain pains. For example, the best painkiller to ease a headache may not be the best one for backache.
Before giving your child co-codamol, try paracetamol to see if that helps the pain. Paracetamol can relieve most types of pain. Painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDssuch as ibuprofencan reduce inflammation as well as pain.
These are good for cold symptoms and aches and pains after an injury like a sprain. This includes children with stomach ulcers or severe heart, kidney or liver problems. Never give aspirin to younger than 16 years unless it is prescribed by their doctor. There's a possible link between aspirin and Reye's syndrome in children. Reye's syndrome is a very rare illness that can cause serious liver and brain damage. Co-codamol can make children feel sleepy or dizzy.
If this happens, do not let them ride a bike until Strengths of co codamol feel better. last reviewed: 3 September Next review due: 3 September Co-codamol for children On this About co-codamol for children Key facts Who can and cannot take co-codamol How and when to give co-codamol Giving co-codamol with other painkillers Side effects How to cope with side effects of co-codamol Cautions with other medicines Common questions.
About co-codamol for children Co-codamol is a mixture of 2 different painkillers — paracetamol and codeine. Do not give co-codamol to children under 12 years old. This medicine comes as tablets and capsules. Do not give co-codamol to children less than 12 years old. It can cause severe breathing problems. Co-codamol tablets and capsules come in 3 strengths. You can buy the lowest strength co-codamol from pharmacies but higher strengths are only available on prescription.
Giving your child too much co-codamol can be harmful. Do not increase the dose or give a double dose even if their pain is very bad. It's possible to become addicted to co-codamol, but this is rare if your child is taking it to relieve pain and their doctor is reviewing their treatment regularly. Always leave at least 6 hours between doses. The maximum dose for children is 4 co-codamol tablets in 24 hours. Co-codamol is also known by many different brand names. Talk to your pharmacist if you have any questions about different brands. Tell your doctor before starting the medicine if your child has: lung problems or breathing difficulties a head injury adrenal gland problems a condition that causes fits or seizures liver problems had their tonsils or adenoids removed because of a sleep problem called obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.
Different co-codamol strengths Co-codamol tablets and capsules come in 3 different strengths. They contain 8mg, 15mg or 30mg of codeine. Dosage The normal dose for children aged 12 to 15 years is 1 tablet of co-codamol of any strength up to 4 times in 24 hours. The maximum dose is normally 4 co-codamol tablets of any strength in 24 hours. Important The maximum dose of co-codamol for children aged 12 to 15 years is normally 4 tablets in 24 hours. How long to give it for If your doctor prescribes co-codamol, give it to your child it for as long as they recommended.
What if they take too much? Taking more than the recommended dose can be dangerous. Your child has taken too much co-codamol and: they are seeing things that are not there they are finding it hard to breathe. Urgent advice: Contact for advice now if:. Important Before giving any other medicines together with co-codamol, check the label to see whether these contain paracetamol. Your child is more likely to have side effects if they take the higher strengths of co-codamol.
Common side effects Common side effects happen in more than 1 in children. Tell your doctor if these side effects bother your child or do not go away: constipation feeling or being sick nausea or vomiting feeling sleepy headaches Serious side effects Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in children. Tell a doctor straight away if your child has: a skin rash difficulty peeing changes in their eyesight dizziness Serious allergic reaction In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction anaphylaxis to co-codamol.
What to do about: constipation — give your child plenty of high-fibre foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables and cereals.Strengths of co codamol
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