Co- codamol not working

Hi all, I have been taking co- codamol 30/500mg for a long time and they always helped. In the last two months they are giving very little pain relief. I have severe arthritis in the spine, spondylothesis and suffer with nerve pain down my right leg which has now started to affect my feet. I honestly cannot take this chronic pain much longer. I am in pain every day and am only managing about four hours sleep. I am now unable to do even the smallest household tasks. Any advice? All welcome, Thanks Ann

42 Replies

  • Hello Ann

    BOB here

    You need to go back to the doctor and ask for a PAIN CLINIC assessment, they will sort out your medications and use of TENS, the relaxation techniques may also be good for you.

    Sorry I thought that you had done all of this, or is it me getting mixed up, must be getting old

    Ann give it a spin and good luck with future treatments


  • Hi, you are quite right, I had an apt at the clinic but due to chronic pain could not go. Thanks for the info, will be going soon. Ann

  • Lack of sleep makes everything much, much worse, and then you end up dreading bedtime because of the fear of not sleeping. There is nothing worse than being in pain and having that horrible feeling that comes with insomnia.

    I don't know what other medication you're on, but may be you need another trip to the doctor for something stronger? You certainly need to tell them how little sleep you're getting and how this is impacting on you in the daytime. And please tell them how it's making you feel - if you feel that you can't take much more than you definitely need the help you deserve with this, sooner rather than later.

    I hope you get a bit more sleep soon. Take care.

  • Thanks, will take your advice and go and see if I can a stronger medication. Thanks Ann

  • Hi Ann,

    I was on co-codomol for the first 3 months following an accident and at first they helped quite alot but then after 3 months they just stopped working! This seems to be a regular thing for me as I have nerve damage that must eventually fight through whatever pain relief I'm taking! Even morphine! You definitely need to tell your Gp how much this is impacting on your everyday life or you are going to end up miserable and exhausted! And bob is right pain management clinic is key!

    Look forward to hearing how you get on. Lots of love

    Elle x

  • Thanks Ellie, I will let everyone know how I do, am grateful for the support. Ann x

  • hi all, how i agree with teadrinker about the lack of sleep making pain so much worse. i'm in pain all the time, but if a sleep well i can cope with it, but if i don't sleep i feel absolutely awful the next day and find it so hard to cope. i too must go back to my gp as my butrans 20mcg a not enough now. i back them up with ibuprofen and paracetamol, but i need something stronger now i feel. x

  • Is,nt it a nightmare trying to get the meds sorted! Thanks Ann

  • Try asking your GP for Temgesic for breakthrough pain...I use them especially when I have a bad night - I find I use them relatively occasionally (actually I only use halves sometimes!) and so far it is keeping me from needing to up the dose of BuTrans patches all the time! It is the same constituent drug, Buprenorphine so easy to get on with if you are already OK with BuTrans, and dissolves under the tongue.

  • Hi, I was thinking that the pharmacist is the best one to speak to. I am making notes of all the meds that people are suggesting so will ask my chemist and then see my GP. Thanks for the reply. Thanks to everyone! Ann

  • I' have exactly your spine + nerve-ending condition. The drugs I was put on to really work for me : 30 / 500 co-codamol WITH, taken at the same time at night, 75 mg of

    Amitryptyline. Sometimes I have to repeat this combination the following afternoon, but

    it sends me to sleep. Try it ---- really hope it works for you at night so you can sleep.

  • Thanks I have amitryptiline 25mg but they made me feel so dopey the next day that I only use it when I really reach breaking point as far as the lack of sleep goes. I am going to see the gp and ask him to increase it to 75mg and then persevere with them. I really have to get something sorted as I have reached the end of my tether as far as having to endure so much pain every single day. There is a limit to how much a person can take, always considered my self to be a strong person but have had enough of it now! Thanks for this and will let you know how I get on. Ann

  • Superannie I know just how you feel pain constant pain does get you down, when I have it all that I want to do is take my Co codamal 30/500 mg an then go to my room an wait till the drugs kick in. I dont like my wife or my son see me in pain. Just hang on in there I know it does get to you .But you must fight it dont let it beat you ,sometimes I get tired with the fighting it does take a lot out of you.

  • Thanks for the support, my husband thinks I am superwoman and I try very hard not to let him see me at my worst, we have an understanding that when I stagger out of bed at 5am he stays put for a couple of hours to give me time to get myself towards myself. I just get so bloody tired of it all sometimes! In one way, pain wise I am so lucky I am not working but saying that, working has always been a big part of my life so I do miss having workmates etc, it can be a bit isolating just the two of us on a 24/7 basis. But lots to be thankful for. Have a good evening Ann

  • Hi Superannie,

    Yes, the morning after this high dose is lost in a fog, so NO DRIVING, but after 20-odd years of suffering intermittent attacks of intolerable pain, I can cope with the dopeyness. It's REALLY worth it, for an uninterrupted night of sleep + a pain free morning. I, luckily, suffer attacks only between 2 & 4 weeks apart; 2 or 3 nights of this high dose subdue the worst pain, so I then only need 25 mg Amitryptiline at night until the next attack. Is there a Pain Clinic where you live ? They know about the subtleties of different drug combinations.

    You must put the "Super" back into Annie !

  • The" super" is still there, just had a bit of a wobble! Thanks so much for the support. xx

  • I can see where you're coming from I have bad arthritis in my hips knees back and shoulder also pains in other joints the to letrozole drug for breast cancer and it's also caused trigger finger (which I can cope with) I am on cocodemol s the strongest have been for seven years and they don't help whatsoever now I ran out of them a week ago and until my nextonths prescription have been taking paracetamol extra which seems to be ok except for the pain in my humerous which I fractured ten years ago and the last couple of weeks has got so bad I struggle to dress and fasten seat belt in my car in a very strong person as lived on my own for 35 years do all my own gardening and decorating but think those days are over now as the pain is constant and no sleep

  • Hi, I have also taken on the decorating this year as the bungalow has been in desperate need of a clean up. I have to say, I am shocked at how little agility I have, I ended up stuck on the floor twice. Couldn't get up! It is so frustrating. This morning I am aching in every bone in my body. Taking the day off today. Onwards and upwards hey. Hope you have a good day. Ann

  • I don't get hardly any sleep wake every couple of hours as the side I sleep on I broke my humerous multiple fractures and when I turn over pain starts in my hip so I'm tossing and turning all night im not bad when I'm sitting but as soon as I try ho get up it's pure hell once I'm on my feet I have to rock to get myself going as the pains so bad my humerous is painful 24/7 but got worse this last year I fractured it seventeen years ago I only go out twice a week to get food in as can't walk I feel as though I've really gone downbank the last month

  • Anne, hello, might be worth chatting with the phar macist to see what alternatives are out there that you might be able to try.

    Maybe some meditation at night when you wake will help relax you. I find a simple one focusing on breathing, and breathing slowly filling up your lungs fully (tummy breathing) in nose out mouth helps to relax the body and calm the mind.

    Hope you find something that works

  • Thanks Zanna will give it a go. Ann

  • Zanna hi I will try this technique tonight as after 6 hours at work today I know that it will be a bad night even after my painkillers.

  • I have OA in the spine and an arthritic/dislocated hip too & I resisted moving "on and up" from Tramadol for a very long time, (years!) and even though I did not get settled on new stronger opiates straight away, it was worth persevering with a few different ones. I ended up on BuTrans patches with Temgesic for breakthrough pain, at a dose not that dramatically stronger, but with better results. I took Tramadol for about 15 years, and have to say wish I hadn't ever seen it in the first place, it is barely any more effective than the codeine based stuff, and a lot more problems as well as *much* worse to get off, GP's seem to love the stuff though :-(

  • Ask GP to prescribe Methocarbamol

  • Dear SuperAnnie, trying to minimise your drugs when you have chronic pain is not helping you and will not help most people. I'm trying to say this in the nicest possible way: you are making your pain worse, possibly permanently. The longer those pain pathways are traveling from brain to body and vice versa the more entrenched they become and the tougher to reverse. The sooner you try to stop them dead in their tracks with medication the greater the cchance of some recovery for you. We have 5 different pain receptors in our bodies and need a drug for each one that is pain stimulated. Pharmacy provides 4. The 5th is marijuana (now available medically under certain circumstances). Co-codamol and the opiates do not work for nerve pain. Co-codamol is so weak it is available over the counter. Plenty of other drugs do eg: gabapentin, pregabalin, topiramate, amitriptaline, voltarol and NSAIDS. This is why it is so important to go to a pain clinic. You should also be doing light physio with a physio trained in chronic pain, pacing your activity, having postural education (Occupational Therapy) so as to manage better with daily tasks at home, and finding at least one thing you can do that you really enjoy every day. The best place you can learn all this is at Bath Neuro Hospital where they have the best pain programme in UK. There are also programmes at eg. Edinburgh, Newcastle, and if you want to go private, at The Wellington Hospital in London. Please do google the McGill pain scale. This is the standard scientific measure of pain used by doctors and should be a wake up call to all who minimize their drugs and suffer. If you have chronic pain (CRPS= Chronic regional pain state or chronic central pain state) you will see chronic pain is worse than first labour pain, pain from amputation, fractures, toothache, chronic back pain, phantom limb pain and non terminal cancer. Good luck, I hope you find a way forward. Trust me, there is one - my pain is fairly well controlled by the meds I am on plus all the other things I do daily to manage it and I do have a social life. I was housebound for several years and i have no intention of going back there - I know how awful it is.

  • Hi Superannie

    More drugs is not always the answer. There is a suggestion that something has changed. Are you suffering from more muscle tension? More muscle tension more pain and the pain relief at the old dosage will cease to work.

    There is research work that is suggesting that certain pain killers have adictive properties. Ie there comes a point when you have to up the dosage to get the same result.

    There is the possibility that you have a slight infection in the area of pain that may need treating with antibiotics. This is a matter of investigation. The GP may try and tell you that this is not possible. You are of an age that beeding gums is a root for bacterial infection and this infection can travel to areas of weakness. This is a matter worth exploring.

    Pain killers are designed for pain killing. If you have extra inflamation that provides more pressure on pain causing nerves then you need to explore something that takes the inflamation down.

    It is worse exploring things like

    1) McTimony chiropractic which helps in reducing pressure on spinal discs

    2) Alexander Technique which will help reduce muscular tension which in turn could help reduce pain.

  • Thanks for your comments. I sometimes read how many painkillers people are taking in comparison to mine, but at the same time am a little wary of taking anything really strong. What happens when I get used to them. Where does it all end?

  • It doesn't end. Unless there is a solution to your pain at it's source. The alternative is to not function.

    I don't feel any different now after using several strong opiates than I did with codeine phosphate, some people seem to, but opiates work well for me, even if I use them up faster than most people seem to, never felt sick or had ANY of the common side effects, although they have hammered my endocrine system!

    I strive to keep my dosage as low as will give me REASONABLE function, most often based on ability to sleep. If you are coping fine, don't take more than you need, if you are not coping, you may well need to consider more or stronger.

    Pain FREE is an unrealistic aim, everyone has their boundaries and levels of tolerance. That said, severe pain allowed to "get hold" is often harder to control than taking dose that will prevent that happening meaning you take less in the long run in you act sooner!

    We can suggest things, only you and your Doctors in combination can act based on how you react to treatments and drugs.

    My own personal experience of a pain consultant was not good, it had me almost wheelchair bound for 18 months, and ten years or so on, I remain much worse permanently following Prolotherapy, but everything we do involves a risk, and only you can weigh up how your respond to taking those risks.

  • Hi re sleep, for a long time I was lucky to get 30-60 mins a night 5/7 nights and then go to work on a 26 mile journey. Doc eventually stopped me going to work after going through nefopam, tramadol and now morphine at night. Needed over a month off work so body adjusted. Was taking codeine for pain but not strong enough, body tolorated it and became used to it. Got into pain clinic end of August and now trying to titreate my amitriptyline from 20mg nocte to 100mg nocte and started pregabalin titrate from 20mg x2 daily to 300mg at the same. This will hopefully allow me to stop morphine and lower coideine. Side effect, bp come down from 156/106 tonight was 130/90 and sleep touch wood much better and longer - another welcome side effect of amitriptyline. Have to judge morning how I feel before driving in morning. Good luck and hope you get sorted soon and a better nights sleep. Just been referred back to nerologist to check for carpel tunnel.

  • Thanks a lot for the info. I am starting to take the amytriptiline. Got a few extra hours last night but very woozy this morning and pain seems to be worse. That could be down to doing the shopping run though. Thanks Ann

  • Hi Annie, have you tried meloxicamb as it is particularly for osteoarthritis and spondylitis? Regards

  • I shall ask the specialist about those as I see him next week. Thanks Ann

  • Dear SuperAnnie, The people taking more painkillers are probably having a better quality of life than you. I was on the same variety and dose from 2006 to 2012, when I had foot surgery - no alternative. Every pain Dr knows surgery will put pain up permanently. So my pain has gone up and by trial and error so have my meds. This has been my most difficult year in 7. It ends when you have a good doctor at a good pain clinic and have found which meds and proceedures suit you. When you know what you can manage in terms of activity and you have a quality of life and a social life; when you have several pain free periods in every day/night. There are 300 pain meds: if you start getting side effects on a raised dose of one, they should try you on another. Seriously, what is the worst that can happen? They are not going to kill you. That is why a consultant is prescribing your meds, not a GP. I get ZERO side effects on: paracetomol, tramodol, clonazepam, topiramate, trazodone, oxcarbazepine, morphine sulphate and lidocaine patches. The puritan ethic doesn't work with pain. Good luck

  • Thanks for your reply, I am going to take all into account and keep trying. Ann

  • Just Remember, never give up and try to keep smiling! I am thankful for every new day I can function even a little of what I did when I was young and fit! Pain free is not going to happen realisitcally but somewhere close to bareable is my aim!

  • Yes, me too. I surprise myself sometimes, how I still manage to keep a smile on my face and still show concern for others problems amazes me. I just want to stand and shout " What about me! " People close to me need me to be strong and hate to see me show any kind of weakness, tiring at times. Like that song says " I will get up again! " Thanks Ann

  • Hi I've been taking pregabalin and it's been working for me with my chronic pain in my back, hip thighs... The only problem I have is that it's put weight on me! :-( I am gutted as I don't want to be in so much pain again but I'm a lot overweight to begin with! So on a reducing course now to see if it is the meds causing the weight gain.... I'm dreading being in so much pain again! Some people have said isn't the weight gain worth it but no it isn't, .it leads to other problems!

  • Know how you feel, I have put on a stone and it does nothing for your self esteem, less pain but more weight?? That leads to more problems. We shall just have to continue to work our way through all these obstacles. Ann

  • hi folks, my names jim.

    i just came across this site while looking for info on side effects of long term painkillers.

    i've been on the 30/500 co codomol for over 16 yrs and thinking that cant be good for me plus the just dont seem to be working anymore!

    i was in a and e at xmas with terrable chest pains and they gave me 8 mg of morphine and it was the only time i could remember not having a sore hip/back/knees.

    my old doc has retired, dr macormack was great, and now theres no docs in surgery that i can relate. my current one is about 15 yrs old it seems and doesnt seem to listen to my problems.

    the tips earlier about pain clinics was good info and thanks for that, do i phone them myself or have i got to get the doc to set it up?

    reading all the messages above i realise im not the poorest soul on the block and i wish you all well, jim

  • thanks for the thumbs up, be safe. jim

  • Try amitriptyline to help,you sleep. If you are on drugs too.long your system will get immune to them

  • I. Exactly the same in agony 24/7 cocodemols 30/500 mg don't touch me I ran out of them for eight days and the pain was exactly the same I've been taking them for years and never felt any benefit from them I broke my humerous sixteen years ago Im now 72 and arthritis has set in there the pain is horrific. I've been on my own since I was 35 very independent gardening decorating ran business and this has taken everything away from me I've been on tablets for breast cancer which have crippled me and now I'm practically housebound can't sleep awake every two hrs I just wish there was some pain relief somewhere

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