This information is intended for use by health professionals
Co-codamol 8/500 Effervescent Tablets
Soluble Paracetamol and Codeine Tablets
Paracetamol & Codeine Effervescent Tablets (Co-codamol)
Each tablet contains 500mg paracetamol and 8mg codeine phosphate hemihydrate.
Excipients with known effect:
Each tablet contains 50mg of sorbitol and 388mg of sodium.
For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1
Flat white tablet with bevelled edges
For the short-term treatment of acute moderate pain which is not relieved by paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin alone such as headaches, migraine, neuralgia, toothache, dysmenorrhoea and rheumatic pain.
Codeine is indicated in patients older than 12 years of age for the treatment of acute moderate pain which is not considered to be relieved by other analgesics such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (alone).
Do not take continuously for more than 3 days without consulting your doctor.
Adults and the elderly:
Two tablets, to be dissolved in a glass of water, every 4 hours when necessary up to a maximum of 8 tablets in 24 hours.
Children aged 16 to 18 years:
One to two tablets every 6 hours when necessary up to a maximum of four doses in 24 hours.
Children aged 12 to 15 years:
One tablet every 6 hours when necessary to a maximum of four doses in 24 hours.
Children aged less than 12 years: Codeine should not be used in children below the age of 12 years because of the risk of opioid toxicity due to the variable and unpredictable metabolism of codeine to morphine (see section 4.3 and 4.4).
Method of administration
For oral administration.
• Hypersensitivity to the active substances or any of the other excipients listed in section 6.1.
• In all paediatric patients (0-18 years of age) who undergo tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy for obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome due to an increased risk of developing serious and life-threatening adverse reactions (see section 4.4)
• In women during breastfeeding (see section 4.6)
• In patients for whom it is known they are CYP2D6 ultra-rapid metabolisers
Care is advised in the administration of paracetamol to patients with severe renal or hepatic impairment. The hazard of overdose is greater in those with non-cirrhotic alcoholic liver disease. Do not exceed the recommended dose.
The recommended dose should not be exceeded. This medicine should not be taken with any other paracetamol-containing products. If symptoms persist, the patient should be advised to consult their doctor. The patient should be advised to see immediate medical advice in the event of an overdose, even if they feel well, because of the risk of delayed, serious liver damage.
Use with caution in patients with convulsive disorders.
The label will state:
Front of pack
• Can cause addiction
• For three days use only
• For pain relief
Back of pack
• For the short term treatment of acute moderate pain when other painkillers have not worked. Wait at least 4 hours after you last took other painkillers before taking this medicine.
• Headache, migraine, toothache, neuralgia, period pains and rheumatic pains
• If you need to take this medicine for more than 3 days you should see your doctor or pharmacist.
• This medicine contains codeine which can cause addiction if you take it continuously for more than 3 days. If you take this medicine for headaches for more than 3 days it can make them worse.
The leaflet will state:
Important things you should know about co-codamol
• This medicine can only be used the short term treatment of acute moderate pain when other painkillers have not worked
• You should only take this product for a maximum of 3 days at a time. If you need to take it for longer than three days you should see your doctor or pharmacist for advice
• This medicine contains codeine which can cause addiction if you take it continuously for more than 3 days. This can give you withdrawal symptoms from the medicine when you stop taking it
• If you take this medicine for headaches for more than 3 days it can make them worse
Section 1: What co-codamol is and what it is used for
• It is an analgesic (painkiller) and is for the short term treatment of acute moderate pain caused by headaches, migraine, toothache, neuralgia, period pain and rheumatic pains when other painkillers have not worked. Wait at least 4 hours after you last took other painkillers before taking this medicine.
Section 2: Before you take co-codamol
• This medicine contains codeine which can cause addiction if you take it continuously for more than 3 days. This can give you withdrawal symptoms from the medicine when you stop taking it
• If you take a painkiller for headaches for more than 3 days it can make them worse
Section 3: How to take co-codamol
• Do not take for more than 3 days. If you need to use this medicine for more than 3 days you must speak to your doctor or pharmacist
• This medicine contains codeine and can cause addiction if you take it continuously for more than 3 days. When you stop taking it you may get withdrawal symptoms. You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you think you are suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
Section 4: Possible side effects
This will appear at the end of section 4
How do I know if I am addicted?
If you take this medicine according to the instructions on the pack it is unlikely that you will become addicted to the medicine. However, if the following apply to you it is important that you talk to your doctor:
• You need to take the medicine for longer periods of time
• You need to take more than the recommended dose
• When you stop taking this medicine you feel very unwell but you feel better if you start taking the medicine again
Codeine is metabolised by the liver enzyme CYP2D6 into morphine, its active metabolite. If a patient has a deficiency or is completely lacking this enzyme an adequate analgesic effect will not be obtained. Estimates indicate that up to 7% of the Caucasian population may have this deficiency. However, if the patient is an extensive or ultra-rapid metaboliser there is an increased risk of developing side effects of opioid toxicity even at commonly prescribed doses. These patients convert codeine into morphine rapidly resulting in higher than expected serum morphine levels.
General symptoms of opioid toxicity include confusion, somnolence, shallow breathing, small pupils, nausea, vomiting, constipation and lack of appetite. In severe cases this may include symptoms of circulatory and respiratory depression, which may be life-threatening and very rarely fatal. Estimates of prevalence of ultra-rapid metabolisers in different populations are summarised below:
3.4% to 6.5%
1.2% to 2%
3.6% to 6.5%
Not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
Post-operative use in children
There have been reports in the published literature that codeine given post-operatively in children after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy for obstructive sleep apnoea, led to rare, but life-threatening adverse events including death (see also section 4.3). All children received doses of codeine that were within the appropriate dose range; however there was evidence that these children were either ultra-rapid or extensive metabolisers in their ability to metabolise codeine to morphine.
Children with compromised respiratory function
Codeine is not recommended for use in children in whom respiratory function might be compromised including neuromuscular disorders, severe cardiac or respiratory conditions, upper respiratory or lung infections, multiple trauma or extensive surgical procedures. These factors may worsen symptoms of morphine toxicity.
Co-codamol 8/500 effervescent tablets should be used upon medical advice in patients with:
• Mild-to-moderate hepatocellular insufficiency
• Severe renal insufficiency
Monitoring after prolonged use should include blood count, liver function and renal function.
This medicinal product contains sodium. This medicinal product contains 388 mg sodium per tablet, equivalent to 19% of the WHO recommended maximum daily intake of 2 g sodium for an adult.
This medicine contains 50mg sorbitol per tablet. Patients with hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI) should not take this medicinal product.
The speed of absorption of paracetamol may be increased by metoclopramide or domperidone and absorption reduced by cholestyramine. The anticoagulant effect of warfarin and other coumarins may be enhanced by prolonged regular daily use of paracetamol with increased risk of bleeding; occasional doses have no significant effect.
Patients receiving other narcotic analgesics, antitussive, antihypertensives, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antianxiety agents or other CNS depressants (including alcohol) concomitantly with this codeine containing drug may exhibit additive CNS depression.
Epidemiological studies in human pregnancy have shown no ill effects due to paracetamol used in the recommended dose. A large amount of data on pregnant women indicate neither malformative, nor feto/neonatal toxicity. Epidemiological studies on neurodevelopment in children exposed to paracetamol in utero show inconclusive results. If clinically needed, paracetamol can be used during pregnancy if clinically needed however it should be used at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time and at the lowest possible frequency.
Codeine can cause respiratory depression and withdrawal syndrome in newborns.
Results of one case control study suggest that there might be an increased risk of malformations of the respiratory tract in the offspring of women who consumed codeine during the first four months of pregnancy. This increase was statistically not significant. Evidence of other malformations is also reported in epidemiological studies on narcotic analgesics, including codeine.
Codeine has been used for many years without apparent ill consequence and animal studies have not shown any hazard.
Patients should follow the advice of their doctor regarding the use of this product.
Paracetamol is excreted in breast milk but not in a clinically significant amount. Available published data do not contraindicate breast feeding.
Codeine should not be used during breastfeeding (see section 4.3). Co-codamol 8/500 Effervescent Tablets are contraindicated during breast-feeding.
At normal therapeutic doses codeine and its active metabolites may be present in breast milk at very low doses and is unlikely to adversely affect the breast fed infant. However, if the patient is an ultra-rapid metaboliser of CYP2D6, higher levels of the active metabolite morphine, may be present in breast milk and on very rare occasions may result in symptoms of opioid toxicity in the infant, which may be fatal.
Patients should be advised not to drive or operate machinery if affected by dizziness or sedation.
This medicine can impair cognitive function and can affect a patient's ability to drive safely. This class of medicine is in the list of drugs included in regulations under 5a of the Road Traffic Act 1988. When prescribing this medicine, patients should be told:
• The medicine is likely to affect your ability to drive
• Do not drive until you know how the medicine affects you
• It is an offence to drive while under the influence of this medicine
• However, you would not be committing an offence (called 'statutory defence') if:
- The medicine has been prescribed to treat a medical or dental problem and
- You have taken it according to the instructions given by the prescriber and in the information provided with the medicine and
- It was not affecting your ability to drive safely
• Regular prolonged use of codeine is known to lead to addiction and tolerance. Symptoms of restlessness and irritability may result when treatment is then stopped.
• Prolonged use of a painkiller for headaches can make them worse.
The information below lists reported adverse reactions, ranked using the following frequency classification:
Very common (≥1/10); common (≥1/100 to <1/10); uncommon (≥1/1,000 to <1/100); rare (≥1/10,000 to <1/1,000); very rare (<1/10,000), not known (cannot be estimated from the available data).
Codeine can produce typical opioid effects including constipation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light-headedness, drowsiness, confusion and urinary retention. The frequency and severity are determined by dosage, duration of treatment and individual sensitivity. Tolerance and dependence can occur, especially with prolonged high dosage of codeine.
There have been very rare occurrences of pancreatitis.
Immune system disorders
Hypersensitivity including skin rash may occur.
Not known: anaphylactic shock, angioedema
Blood and lymphatic system disorders
Not known: agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
Not Known: Respiratory depression
Skin and subcutaneous disorders
Very rare cases of serious skin reactions have been reported.
Not Known: Confusional state, dysphoria, euphoria
Nervous system disorders
Not Known: Seizure, headache, somnolence, dizziness
Not Known: Miosis
Not Known: Constipation, vomiting, nausea, dry mouth
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product.
Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
Liver damage is possible in adults who have taken 10g or more of paracetamol. Ingestion of 5g or more of paracetamol may lead to liver damage if the patient has risk factors (see below).
If the patient:
• is on long term treatment with carbamazepine, phenobarbitone, phenytoin, primidone, rifampicin, St. John's Wort or other drugs that induce liver enzymes, or
• regularly consumes ethanol in excess of recommended amounts, or
• is likely to be glutathione deplete e.g. eating disorders, cystic fibrosis, HIV infection, starvation, cachexia.
Symptoms of paracetamol overdosage in the first 24 hours are pallor, nausea, vomiting, anorexia and abdominal pain. Liver damage may become apparent 12 to 48 hours after ingestion. Abnormalities of glucose metabolism and metabolic acidosis may occur. In severe poisoning, hepatic failure may progress to encephalopathy, haemorrhage, hypoglycaemia, cerebral oedema, gastrointestinal bleeding and death.
Acute renal failure with acute tubular necrosis, strongly suggested by loin pain, haematuria and proteinuria may develop even in the absence of severe liver damage.
Cardiac arrhythmias and pancreatitis have been reported.
Immediate treatment is essential in the management of paracetamol overdose. Despite a lack of significant early symptoms, patients should be referred to hospital urgently for immediate medical attention. Symptoms may be limited to nausea or vomiting and may not reflect the severity of overdose or the risk of organ damage. Management should be in accordance with established treatment guidelines (see BNF overdose section).
Treatment with activated charcoal should be considered if the overdose has been taken within 1 hour. Plasma paracetamol concentration should be measured at 4 hours or later after ingestion (earlier concentrations are unreliable). Treatment with N-acetylcysteine may be used up to 24 hours after ingestion of paracetamol, however, the maximum protective effect is obtained up to 8 hours post-ingestion. The effectiveness of the antidote declines sharply after this time. If required the patient should be given intravenous N-acetylcysteine, in line with the established dosage schedule. If vomiting is not a problem, oral methionine may be a suitable alternative for remote areas, outside hospital. Management of patients who present serious hepatic dysfunction beyond 24h from ingestion should be discussed with the NPIS or a liver unit.
Further measures will depend on the severity, nature and course of clinical symptoms of paracetamol intoxication and should follow standard intensive care protocols.
The effects in overdosage will be potentiated by simultaneous ingestion of alcohol and psychotropic drugs.
Central nervous system depression, including respiratory depression, may develop but is unlikely to be severe unless other sedative agents have been co-ingested, including alcohol, or the overdose is very large. The pupils may be pin-point in size; nausea and vomiting are common. Hypotension and tachycardia are possible but unlikely.
This should include general symptomatic and supportive measures including a clear airway and monitoring of vital signs until stable. Consider activated charcoal if an adult presents within one hour of ingestion of more than 350mg or a child more than 5mg/kg.
Give naloxone if coma or respiratory depression is present. Naloxone is a competitive antagonist and has a short half-life so large and repeated doses may be required in a seriously poisoned patient. Observe for at least four hours after ingestion, or eight hours if a sustained release preparation has been taken.
The opioid antagonist naloxone hydrochloride is an antidote to respiratory depression and must be administered intravenously.
Patients should be advised to first consult their healthcare professional before taking codeine if they are taking a benzodiazepine.
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Paracetamol, combinations excl. Psycholeptics
ATC Code: N02B E51
Paracetamol is a well established analgesic and antipyretic.
Codeine phosphate is a centrally acting weak analgesic and also has a weak cough suppressant activity. Codeine exerts its effect through µ opioid receptors, although codeine has low affinity for these receptors, and its analgesic effect is due to its conversion to morphine. Codeine, particularly in combination with other analgesics such as paracetamol, has been shown to be effective in acute nociceptive pain.
Paracetamol is rapidly and almost completely absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Concentration in plasma reaches a peak in 30-60 minutes. Plasma half-life is 1-4 hours. Paracetamol is relatively uniformly distributed throughout most body fluids, plasma protein binding is variable.
Codeine phosphate is well absorbed after oral administration and is widely distributed. About 86% is excreted in the urine in 24 hours, 40-70% is free or conjugated morphine and 10-20% is free or conjugated Norcodeine.
Non-clinical data reveal no special hazard for humans based on conventional studies of safety pharmacology, repeated dose toxicity, genotoxicity, carcinogenic potential, toxicity to reproduction and development.
Conventional studies using the currently accepted standards for the evaluation of toxicity to reproduction and development are not available.
Sodium hydrogen carbonate (sodium bicarbonate)
Sodium lauryl sulphate
Anhydrous citric acid
Anhydrous sodium carbonate
Paper/PE/Aluminium/PE (PPFP laminate) - 48 months.
Paper/PE/Aluminium/Copolymer (Surlyn laminate) – 36 months
Individually packed into PPFP or Surlyn laminate strips in cardboard carton.
Pack sizes: 12, 16, 24, 30, 32.
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.
No special requirements
Zentiva Pharma UK Limited
12 New Fetter Lane,
17 November 2002