Can I become addicted to dihydrocodeine?

Can I become addicted to dihydrocodeine? It is possible to become addicted to dihydrocodeine. For this reason, your dose will be reviewed to make sure you are only taking the amount you need to control your pain.

Your treatment plan may include details of how and when you will stop taking dihydrocodeine.

If you need to take it for a long time your body can become tolerant to it. That means you need higher doses to control your pain over time.

Some people can become more sensitive to pain (hyperalgesia). If this happens, your doctor will reduce your dose gradually to help these symptoms.

Speak to your doctor if you are worried about tolerance, hyperalgesia or becoming addicted.

1. About dihydrocodeine

Dihydrocodeine is an opiate painkiller. It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain, such as after an operation or a serious injury.

It’s also used for long-standing pain when weaker painkillers, such as paracetamolibuprofen and aspirin, have not worked.

Dihydrocodeine is only available on prescription. It also comes mixed with paracetamol, this is called co-dydramol.

It comes as standard tablets, slow-release tablets and as a liquid that you swallow. It can also be given by an injection into the muscle or under the skin. This is usually done in hospital.

Dihydrocodeine is also known by the brand names DHC Continus and DF118 Forte.

2. Key facts

  • Dihydrocodeine works by stopping pain signals travelling along the nerves to the brain.
  • Standard dihydrocodeine tablets take 1.5 to 2 hours to work fully.
  • It’s possible to become addicted to dihydrocodeine, but your doctor will explain how to reduce the risks of becoming addicted.
  • If you need to take dihydrocodeine for more than a few weeks, your treatment plan may include details of how and when to stop taking this medicine.
  • The most common side effects are feeling or being sick, feeling drowsy or constipation.

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