Home > Help Guides > Drugs Help Guides > Side effects of co-codamol

Side effects of co-codamol

Find out more about the side effects of co-codamol and how to withdraw safely in the comfort of Delamere

Read our 82 reviews

Each review has a personal story. Read and write reviews

“Delamere focuses on equipping you with the tools to love sobriety and understand what led to the addiction in the first place which really helped me grow.” Delamere Guest, 2021

Holistic approach to recovery

Personalised programmes

Flexible stays

24-hour care & support

Private luxury accommodation

The side effects of co-codamol

When everyday painkillers, such as ibuprofen, aren’t working, you may be prescribed co-codamol. This over-the-counter analgesic is a mixture of paracetamol and codeine. It is used to treat mild to moderate pain such as headaches, migraines, muscular pain and toothache. Common side effects of co-codamol include constipation, feeling sick and drowsiness. Even if your pain is bad, it’s important not to take too much. When taken in high doses over a long period of time, co-codamol can cause lasting damage to your health.

Before prescribing this painkiller, your doctor should make you aware of the possible side effects and the risk of co-codamol addiction and drug withdrawal syndrome. Codeine is an opiate which works on the brain’s pleasure and reward system, providing feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Used habitually, it can quickly become addictive and lead to a physical dependency, even after if you’ve only been taking it for a short time. If a person has become addicted to codeine, the side effects of co-codamol withdrawal can be unpleasant.

Delamere helps guests to overcome co-codamol addiction at our purpose-built wellness retreat in Cheshire. Our team of holistic therapists are experts in treating painkiller addiction using a combination of one-to-one support, group therapy sessions and holistic healing techniques. We can help you to cope with the unpleasant side effects of co-codamol abuse and withdrawal in relaxed and comfortable surroundings. We’re here to listen and guide you through a successful recovery with compassion and care.

If you need help with co-codamol addiction, contact our team today and learn more about the different programmes we offer here at Delamere.

See how a stay at Delamere can give you the time, space and tools needed to grow beyond your addiction. Book a consultation

The long and short-term side effects of co-codamol

Easily accessible and affordable, the number of people abusing co-codamol has risen in recent years, especially among teenagers and young adults. People have become susceptible to co-codamol addiction due to unsupervised and long-term prescribing, poor access to non-pharmacological pain treatments, barriers to accessing information on the risks of harm and the availability of over-the-counter co-codamol (1). This medication’s ability to directly impact the body’s central nervous system carries both short- and long-term side effects.

Short-term side effects of co-codamol

Like all medicines, co-codamol comes with a list of common side effects, such as nausea and constipation, but these can be compounded if it is taken in high doses. Codeine, the opioid in co-codamol, is a CNS depressant which directly impacts the body’s central nervous system. It significantly slows down the brain’s activity causing feelings of relaxation and drowsiness which can help alleviate anxiety, panic, stress and sleep disorders. However, abusing this type of drug can slow down your heart rate, affect breathing, cause hallucinations and even cause cardiac arrest. The paracetamol in codeine is also linked to liver damage, which is why taking too much co-codamol can be very dangerous.

Long-term side effects of co-codamol

Co-codamol is considered safe at the correct dose, but prolonged use of the drug can result in unpleasant side effects. Even if your pain isn’t going away, you should never take co-co-codamol for a long period as the tolerance you build up will leave you craving for more. This is the beginning of co-codamol addiction.

Chronic abuse of co-codamol doesn’t just cause damage your health in the short-term, it can cause long-lasting physical and psychological harm. Long-term side effects of co-codamol include damage to the liver, kidneys, brain and eyes, life-threatening intestinal blockages, memory loss, permanent brain damage, impaired cognitive function, loss of vision and insomnia.

Taking too much co-codamol can also result in an overdose. Signs to look out for include difficulty breathing, blue tinged lips or nails, constricted pupils, loss of consciousness or extreme drowsiness, slow pulse, chest pain and vomiting.

Withdrawal side effects from co-codamol

If you have developed an addiction to co-codamol and suddenly stop taking it, you may experience drug withdrawal symptoms. These include restlessness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, agitation, anxiety, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, shaking, shivering or sweating.

It’s important to seek advice from a medical professional before reducing your dose. Withdrawal side effects of co-codamol addiction can begin with 12 to 24 hours after your last tablet. Symptoms are usually worse in the first few days and fade within two weeks, but the anxiety, irritability, insomnia and cravings can last for months.

It’s important to note that if you start taking co-codamol again after withdrawal, a previously tolerated dose can prove fatal. If you know someone who is struggling co-codamol addiction, we have a team of holistic experts at Delamere who can help them withdraw safely and comfortably under close medical supervision.

The Delamere approach to co-codamol addiction

If you’re suffering from the side effects of taking too much co-codamol and are worried about co-codamol addiction, it’s important to get help. At Delamere, we take a person centric approach to treating addiction at our purpose-built retreat in Cheshire. We can help you stop cravings with a medically assisted drug detox which will help you to withdraw from co-codamol safely with minimum discomfort.

Our holistic therapists will then work with you to establish the root cause of your co-codamol addiction through a range of advanced therapeutic practices, from one-to-one counselling to somatic healing experiences. Every residential rehab programme is uniquely designed around you. You will be given all the help you need to find your own path to recovery and the strength to grow beyond addiction.

Stop. Start. Grow

Our Stop Start Grow model is a refreshing approach to treatment and is what makes recovery at Delamere different. Our goal is always to give you the mindset and tools to grow beyond addiction and live life on your terms once you leave us.


Settle into your new environment
and remove yourself from
any distractions

Outcomes Outcomes


Spend time with our therapists to discover what led you to this behaviour in the first place

Delamere treatment model Delamere treatment model


Set healthy boundaries,
exciting new goals and prepare for
life after Delamere

Environment Environment


Practice using the tools
while staying anchored to support.
Bring Recovery Home.

Read More Read More

Our core elements of treatment

We believe that whatever the reason for co-codamol addiction – whether from past trauma or present challenges – it has to start somewhere. Rather than adhering to the conventional step-based programmes, we look at underlying factors that drive your behaviour. Only by recognising how you arrived at this point can you begin to positively shape your future.


Stopping the cycle of addiction safely and comfortably


Healing whatever
pain is causing
the behaviour


Instilling tools to help facilitate change and encourage continued growth

Why choose Delamere?

Holistic approach to recovery

Discreet location

Luxury ensuite accommodation

Personalised programmes

Flexible stays

24-hour care & support

On-site gym & health studio

Business & family lounges

Free collection service

Transformational stories

Addicted to co-codamol?

Get the help and support you need to overcome addiction.

Find a programme
4.5/5 stars on google

Know someone who needs help with co-codamol addiction?

If a friend, family member or work colleague is abusing co-codamol, it’s important they get help.

Our admissions team is on hand 24/7 to help answer any questions about our therapeutic programmes and make sure your loved one gets the support they need.

Call the team today on 0330 111 2015 to discuss the different options available.


1. Kinnaird E, Kimergård A, Jennings S, et alFrom pain treatment to opioid dependence: a qualitative study of the environmental influence on codeine use in UK adultsBMJ Open 2019;9:e025331. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025331.