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Solpadeine addiction - anyone else have this problem?

(36 Posts)
butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 09:16:22


I've been taking Solpadeine every day for 3 years now and feel very anxious of the long term effects its having on my body.

I know I need to stop taking them. I know the damaging effects they will be having. I don't go over the stated daily dose but obviously every day taking the blend of codeine and paracetamol is very very bad. They are extremely addictive.

I wondered if anyone is in the same position and wanted support to try and quit with me.

hollyisalovelyname Mon 23-Dec-13 18:22:13

My elderly mother is addicted, but in denial. She takes Solpadeine 'to sleep' - she gets up in the middle of the night to take them.
Her gp knows, but feels that because of her advanced age, if it makes her happy, let her have them.
The pharmacist however does warn her. It falls on deaf ears.

Musicaltheatremum Mon 23-Dec-13 16:06:06

If you're taking 8 a day I would recommend you cut knew tablet out a week. That would, in theory have you off them by the middle to end of February. I had a patient do this with tramadol and she gradually cut down. Even to getting a soluble tablet so she could dissolve it and take smaller volumes. Not looked at the codeine website mentioned above but will do as may be helpful

revivingsnowshower Mon 23-Dec-13 15:27:53

That's great butterfly stick with it. Don't cut back any more for the rest of the week. It is also a bit of a stressful time of year so take it easy, but as pp said dont cheat and go back up again if you have a bad day or headache. Does anyone know if the op can take a different medication if she really does have a headache? Maybe ibuprofen?

butterflyroom Mon 23-Dec-13 14:43:05

Thanks everyone! Once again I'm overwhelmed by those of you taking the time out to post detailed and helpful responses and those with general supportive comments. I'm taking all your advice and comment on board. I've cut out a dose today by making my mid morning and afternoon dose just one which I had earlier. Hopefully it now means I'm having 3 instead of 4 doses a day.

MrsFlorrick Mon 23-Dec-13 02:10:11

Butterfly. Well done for making a start. As others say, stick to your plan and don't be tempted to cut down too quickly. thanks

I've been there too. Cutting down very slowly is definitely the easiest way to do it IMO - but you do have to be very disciplined about it as it's very easy to give in 'just this once' if you have a bad day, headache, etc.

If you aren't exceeding the recommended dosage each day, I would think it's unlikely that you have damaged your body/liver. Many people take paracetamol for many years with no problems as long as they don't take more than 2, 4x daily. The codeine also doesn't generally create huge long term damage other than constipation, and of course the withdrawal symtoms if you stop. Is there anything else in solphadeine?

The poster whose DH ended up with a perforated ulcer was, I suspect, taking codeine with ibuprofen (not paracetamol) such as Nurofen Plus? Ibuprofen will knacker your stomach big time if taken long term as happened to him.

I was taking a lot more than you are, and stopped in the end with the help of the local drugs team, referred by my GP. They helped me wean me off very very slowly which was brilliant for me. I was urine tested regularly so couldn't cheat, which is what I needed.

I would have no chance of ever getting opiated from my GP now, as has been said already. But when I had my DS2 I had a c-section, and they almost forced morphine on me despite me explaining exactly why I didn't want it! It was bizarre. It happened again when I was admitted this year with something - a Dr said, 'I'm just going to give you some pain relief' and almost had the syringe in my bloody arm before I could say I hope that isn't morphine cos I don't want it! Again I clearly told them my medical history on admission.

revivingsnowshower Sun 22-Dec-13 20:56:59

That's great keep going, don't rush it will work!

LovelyMarchHare Sun 22-Dec-13 20:50:56

Well done Butterfly. Great start.

Kaffiene Sun 22-Dec-13 20:09:07

I become addicted to codeine a couple of years ago after an accident. the worse part was actually just before I realised there was an issue. I was constantly worried about the pain coming back and would be fretting about my next dose in case the pain came back.

Once I realised it was the tablets making me anxious and twitchy it wasn't so bad. I was on prescription only strength so first I stitched to 1 prescription and 1 soledepine and stepped down slowly over 6 weeks from there. It wasn't so bad once I made a plan but definitely do it slowly as sudden withdrawal can be horrid.

Good luck!

butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 20:07:19

I've taken one less dose today (mid afternoon, easier when I'm busy) and when I went to the supermarket I didn't go to the pharmacy section. That's a big step. Going to try my very best to cut one to two doses down over Christmas. As other posters have suggested, I'm hesitant to go to the GP as I'm unsure how it will effect my records. Going to try by myself first.

HoHolepew Sun 22-Dec-13 19:57:45

I remember a programme about OTC addiction, Solpadine is the no.1 pill to be addicted to.
Like the others have said cut down slowly. Drop one tablet for a few days then another etc.
Good luck, you can do it fsmile.

revivingsnowshower Sun 22-Dec-13 19:51:23

Well done for recognising you have a problem. Do keep coming back for support. You say that the pills have become a destresser. Maybe this hypnosis download could help. I use them and I find it very relaxing and helpful in dealing with stress. I don't find it works like magic to make your problem disappear sadly, but combine with other methods like slowly cutting back, maybe giving yourself small rewards for progress , posting for support etc it will be a helpful extra stress reliever/motivator
Hypnosis download

butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 19:47:34

Thank you all so so much for your responses and support. I've certainly got a lot to consider. It's going to have to be gradual as if I don't have any for a full day I feel ill and anxious. At the same time I've felt unwell today and keep wondering if its signs of liver damage. The support I've had on here though is very helpful and has truly touched me. Thanks for the non judgemental kindness.

MrsFlorrick Sun 22-Dec-13 18:36:34

Sort of glad you're backing me up here. I thought I'd be flamed.

OP. honestly. You take just 4 doses a day. It's completely doable.

Have a go at cutting down start even tonigh by cutting a dose out.

We are all here with support if you need it!!!!

lookatmycameltoe Sun 22-Dec-13 18:21:41

I am a HCP and I agree with the previous poster. Opioid addiction will be in your medical history FOREVER. If you can come off them on your own please do. I've just had an awful case of a patient having disfiguring major surgery who was preventing from having any opioid analgesia from the pain specialist because of a short-term drug addiction 25 years ago. He has suffered immensely because of his honesty. I don't want to frighten anyone but there is good info on the internet if your addiction is minor.

Ledkr Sun 22-Dec-13 18:15:29

Take less each day even if you snap some off one if the tabs each dose.
It's very common and you should see gp but if not just decrease everyday and drink plenty of water to flush it through.
If you want to do it you will do.

MrsFlorrick Sun 22-Dec-13 18:12:11

Addiction to OTC painkillers is extremely common.

Don't worry.

As you are am safely taking the max dose four times a day (8 tablets). It will not be too difficult to cut down.

Start by removing one dose. Do that for 5 days. Then remove another dose. Another 5 days and then the last one.

Another thing you can do is not take any early in the day (you don't say how you "spread your doses out).
Leave the first dose as late as you can. Then take. It will help you cut down another dose.

Lots of people on here are very correctly recommending a GP visit. I would try to cut down slowly (as described above, you'd be off the tablet in less than a month). Once you tell your GP, its on record and every time you genuinely require pain relief, you probably won't get any.

Best friend at Uni was quite keen in Nightnurse. She developed an addition to it after a car accident and she had a cold at the time and couldn't sleep. She sought help at GP but it still haunts her and she still 20 years on can't get prescription pain relief when she actually needs it. It was particularly bad after she broke her arm and no one would issue pain relief because of her "past".
For a start it was 18 years after the Nightnurse addiction, she wasn't physically dependent on Nightnurse it was psychological and after an accident. And yet she was refused any pain relief in hospital and after because she had gone to GP for Nightnurse problems almost two decades earlier.

Lots of people will now come and flame me. To those, yes GP is the right place for addiction. But there are serious consequences that follow you forever if you do.

Have a go and set yourself a limit of mid January to try to wean yourself off before you see the GP. It can be done. You would only be doing exactly what the gP will suggest anyway.

Good luck. thanks

Footle Sun 22-Dec-13 17:58:03

I was never addicted to them but it's the nearest I've come with a substance - except chocolate. I took them for headaches when a friend recommended them. It got so I'd be pleased to feel a headache coming on ( more and more frequently, strangely enough ) because then I felt justified in opening up another little sachet and dropping the damn thing into the water and hearing it fizz .. At this point I discussed it with the friend, and realized that she actually was addicted. That was enough to stop me. I was lucky.

OP, I'm surprised you take them at bedtime - the caffeine element is quite strong. Perhaps that end of the day would be a good time to start cutting down ? Good luck, you're brave enough to talk about it here, so you're brave enough to give it up.

Hi. i can't PM you for some reason butterfly but I have been in your shoes. PM me if you like? x

shouldnthavesaid Sun 22-Dec-13 10:59:56

My mum was highly addicted to them when I was a child - her advice is to cut down gradually. She also stopped going to the chemist unless she needed a prescription, as it removed the ability to buy them if that makes sense? She can't take codeine at all now, gives her hallucinations.

It's so easy to become addicted, especially if you take them for physical pain - I sometimes have to take the 30mg stuff and it can be so relaxing/so good at relieving pain, that I can see how it could become addictive.

Belize Sun 22-Dec-13 10:41:33

I understand where you are coming from as I do tend to take them at the drop of a hat. I don't take as many as you a day but I do often take them every day for weeks on end.

I also worry about the long term effects of paracetamol on my liver, funnily enough not so much the effect of the codeine but understand that that of course is the addictive element.

Good luck and I would definitely agree to do it really slowly, don't go cold turkey or you will feel completely dreadful and probably OD on the darn things. It's like losing weight, crash diets never work.

Ghostsdonttalk Sun 22-Dec-13 10:34:55

Butterfly you sound like you do have a problem but you have recognised it which is a huge first step.

The advice is to drop one tablet per week so this week you will seven per day next week six etc and in eight weeks you will be codeine free.

Have a look at

butterflyroom Sun 22-Dec-13 10:27:45

I'm taking 8 per day. It's definitely habitual as the first ones are as soon as I get up. The next are at about 11, then 3, then two before bed. They are almost a de-stresser but now I'm stressed about what they're doing to me. I've had my head stuck in the sand for sure. Thanks for all the advice.

dozily Sun 22-Dec-13 10:22:29

Ps. If you cut down slowly there is no way you will be off them by new year - please don't aim for that as it's unrealistic. How many are you taking per day at the moment?

Crazdsky Sun 22-Dec-13 10:19:39

Yes thankfully that was nearly 2 years ago now he is much better and only ever uses paracetamol short term for pain. He has learnt the hard way that health is much more important than wealth and that as much of a pain that he is we really need and want him around for a very long time.

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