Co-codaprin is a mixture of 2 different painkillers: aspirin and codeine.

It’s used to treat aches and pains, including headaches, muscular pain, migraine and toothache. It can also be used to treat the symptoms of colds and flu.

It’s usually taken when everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin alone, have not worked.

This medicine comes as both tablets and soluble (dispersible) tablets that you dissolve in water and drink.

It’s available on prescription or to buy from a pharmacy.

  • Co-codaprin is another name for aspirin and codeine. It’s also known by the brand name Codis.
  • It’s best to take co-codaprin with or just after eating food. That way, you’ll be less likely to get mild indigestion or stomach pain.
  • Never give co-codaprin to children under 16 years old, unless their doctor prescribes it. This is because it contains aspirin, which can cause serious side effects in children.
  • The most common side effects of co-codaprin are mild indigestion, feeling sick (nausea), constipation and feeling sleepy.
  • It’s possible to become addicted to the codeine in co-codaprin, but this is rare if you’re taking it to relieve pain and your doctor is reviewing your treatment regularly.

Most people aged 16 years old and over can safely take co-codaprin. But co-codaprin is not suitable for some people. 

Do not give co-codaprin to a child younger than 16 years old, unless their doctor prescribes it.

There’s a possible link between the aspirin in co-codaprin and Reye’s syndrome in children. Reye’s syndrome is a very rare illness that can cause serious liver and brain damage.

Do not give co-codaprin to anyone aged 18 years or under who has had their tonsils or adenoids taken out to treat obstructive sleep apnoea.

Co-codaprin comes as tablets and soluble tablets (to mix with water). You should take them with or just after food.

For tablets: swallow them whole with a drink of water.

For soluble tablets: dissolve them in a glass of water and drink straight away.

Different co-codaprin strengths

Co-codaprin comes in 2 different strengths. They contain either 400mg or 500mg of aspirin. All strengths contain 8mg of codeine.

The strength of co-codaprin appears as 2 numbers on the packet. For example, the strength may be written as 8/500. This means it contains 8mg of codeine and 500mg of aspirin.

Both strengths are available without a prescription, but only from a pharmacy.

How much to take

The normal dose in adults (over the age of 18) is 1 or 2 co-codaprin tablets (of any strength) up to 4 times in 24 hours.

Always leave at least 4 hours between doses.

The maximum dose is 8 co-codaprin tablets in 24 hours.The dose for teenagers aged 16 to 18 years old is the same, but they should not have co-codaprin if they have had their tonsils or adenoids taken out to treat obstructive sleep apnoea.

It’s safe to take co-codaprin with paracetamol.

Do not take co-codaprin with other medicines that contain aspirin or codeine.

Also do not take it with ibuprofen or naproxen.

Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen all belong to the same group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

If you take them together, it may increase the chance of you getting side effects like stomach ache or bleeding.

Watch out for these painkillers in medicines you can buy from pharmacies. For example, Nurofen or Nurofen Plus, or cough and cold remedies such as Nurofen Cold & Flu or Beechams Powders.

Like all medicines, co-codaprin can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Many people have no side effects or only minor ones.

Common side effects

These side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people. Tell your doctor if these side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • mild indigestion
  • feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)
  • constipation
  • feeling sleepy
  • bleeding more easily than normal – because aspirin thins your blood, it can sometimes make you bleed more easily (for example, you may get nosebleeds, bruise more easily and, if you cut yourself, the bleeding may take longer than normal to stop)
  • dizziness and vertigo (a sensation of spinning)
  • headaches

Serious side effects

Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 100 people.

Call a doctor straight away if you have:

  • a change in your normal heart rate (slower or faster) and you feel dizzy or very tired – these can be signs of a heart problem
  • seizures
  • difficulty breathing or short, shallow breathing
  • stiffness in your muscles
  • feeling faint when you stand up or sit quickly – this can be a sign of low blood pressure
  • coughing up blood or blood in your pee, poo or vomit
  • yellowing skin, or the whites of your eyes turn yellow – this can be a sign of liver problems
  • painful joints in your hands and feet - this can be a sign of high levels of uric acid in the blood
  • swollen hands or feet - this can be a sign of a build-up of fluid in your body

Serious allergic reaction

In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to co-codaprin.

What to do about:

  • mild indigestion – take your co-codaprin just a few minutes before or after a meal. If the indigestion still does not go away, it could be a sign that the co-codaprin has caused a stomach ulcer. Talk to your doctor – they may prescribe something to protect your stomach or switch you to a different medicine.
  • feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting) – take co-codaprin with or just after a meal or snack. Feelings of sickness should normally wear off after a few days. Talk to your doctor about taking an anti-sickness medicine if it carries on for longer.
  • constipation - eat more high-fibre foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables and cereals. Try to drink several glasses of water or another non-alcoholic liquid each day. If you can, it may also help to do some gentle exercise.
  • feeling sleepy or tired - do not drive or use tools or machinery if you’re feeling this way. Do not drink any alcohol, as this will make you feel more tired.
  • bleeding more easily than normal – be careful when doing activities that might cause an injury or a cut. It might be best to stop doing contact sports, such as football, rugby and hockey, while you’re taking co-codaprin. Wear gloves when you use sharp objects like scissors, knives and gardening tools. Use an electric razor instead of wet shaving, and use a soft toothbrush and waxed dental floss to clean your teeth. See a doctor if you’re worried about any bleeding.
  • dizziness and vertigo – if you feel dizzy or unsteady, stop what you’re doing and sit or lie down until you feel better. Do not drive or use tools or machinery if you’re feeling dizzy. Do not drink alcohol, as it will make you feel worse.
  • headaches – make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Do not drink too much alcohol. Talk to your doctor if the headaches last longer than a week or are severe.

Co-codaprin is not generally recommended during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. There may be safer medicines you can take. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

In early pregnancy, the codeine in co-codaprin has been linked to some problems in unborn babies.

If you take codeine at the end of pregnancy, there’s a risk that your baby may get withdrawal symptoms when it’s born. Your baby may also get breathing problems.

Aspirin in co-codaprin should not be taken after 30 weeks of pregnancy. It can cause complications, including breathing and blood clotting problems, in newborn babies.

For most women, paracetamol is the best painkiller to take in pregnancy.

For more information about how codeine can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read this leaflet on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) website.

Co-codaprin and breastfeeding

It’s not generally recommended for women to take co-codaprin while breastfeeding.

Small amounts of the codeine in co-codaprin get into breast milk and can cause breathing problems in babies.

Some medicines interfere with the way co-codaprin works. And co-codaprin can interfere with the way some medicines work.

Tell your doctor if you’re taking any other medicines, especially:

  • blood-thinning medicines, such as warfarin and clopidogrel
  • medicines for pain and inflammation, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • sleeping pills
  • antidepressants
  • medicines to stop you feeling or being sick, such as domperidone or metoclopramide
  • medicines to treat infection, particularly rifampicin and ciprofloxacin
  • epilepsy medicines
  • medicines to prevent organ rejection after transplant, such as ciclosporin and tacrolimus
  • steroids, such as prednisolone
  • medicines to treat high blood pressure, such as ramipril
  • diuretics (medicines to make you pee more), such as bendroflumethiazide and furosemide
  • digoxin (a medicine for heart problems)
  • lithium (a medicine for mental health problems)
  • acetazolamide (for an eye problem called glaucoma)
  • methotrexate (a medicine used to calm your immune system and treat some types of cancer)
  • diabetes medicines, such as gliclazide
  • medicines to treat allergies

Mixing co-codaprin with herbal remedies and supplements

It’s not possible to say that complementary medicines and herbal supplements are safe to take with co-codaprin.

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.

How does co-codaprin work?