Paramol contains paracetamol and dihydrocodeine, which are two different types of painkillers. This combined product is the strongest painkiller (or analgesic) available over the counter in the UK and can be used for the short-term treatment of pain in a range of conditions, including headaches, migraines, toothaches, period pain, and muscle aches.
Paramol should only be used a last line over-the-counter, after exhausting other available medication. You should try other painkillers like ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol, and only turn to Paramol if these have been ineffective.
Dihydrocodeine is a similar medication to codeine, and they both belong to a family of drugs called opioids. Dihydrocodeine is thought to be roughly twice as strong as codeine. Note the prefix ‘di’ of Greek origin means double.
Paramol comes as tablets that are suitable for adults and children aged twelve and above, and dosing is age-dependent.
It is possible to become addicted to Paramol if you take the medication for too long. Opioids like dihydrocodeine activate receptors in the brain and spinal cord, reducing pain and giving us feelings of pleasure.
It is possible to become dependent on the feelings of these medications, so they should only be used for the shortest possible time and only when there is a good reason. The medications also carry a risk of tolerance with prolonged use, whereby you need to keep increasing the dose to have the same effect.
For these reasons, it is best to speak with your doctor before taking Paramol for longer than three consecutive days (especially if you are taking the full recommended dose for the product).
As always, do not take the medication if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in it. You should also avoid the medication if you have had an allergic reaction to any other medications in the opioid family in the past. The medication is not suitable for children under twelve years of age.
You should speak with your doctor before taking the medication if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you have any medical conditions. Paramol can interact with other medications such as warfarin (an anticoagulant), certain cholesterol-lowering medications like lomitapide and colestyramine, and other medications that can cause drowsiness.
If you take any prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it is safe for you to take Paramol.
As with all medications, some people may experience side effects. Common side effects from Paramol can include nausea, drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth, increased sweating, and dizziness. If you experience drowsiness or dizziness, it is best to avoid driving and drinking alcohol. If you are worried about any potential side effects you may be feeling, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
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