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Can You Drink Alcohol on Co-Codamol?

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Taking codeine and co-codamol as a way to manage pain can sometimes be useful – but can you mix codeine and alcohol?

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To most people, mixing codeine and alcohol could seem like a huge risk, but how dangerous is it actually?

In this article, we will discuss the dangers of codeine and alcohol along with addiction to these substances.

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Dangers of Mixing Co-codamol and Alcohol

Mixing alcohol and paracectamol or codeine (an opioid drug) is dangerous. Mixing the two gives you a bigger high – something that makes it popular with young people – but can also lead to an overdose and/or significant long-term health damage.

How Alcohol Affects Co-codamol Users

Mixing these two chemicals can have a direct impact on your own comfort and motor skills. Your reaction time will decrease, and your body will slow down, which includes your internal organs also slowing (such as your digestive tract slowing down dramatically with heavy use).

As a consequence of being a painkiller, co-codamol dulls pain senses and makes the body less responsive to a lot of internal signals. Alcohol also does the same, limiting how much pain your body can feel. Combining both can intensify the effects, but this is not always a good thing.

Side Effects of Mixing Co-codamol and Alcohol

While mixing codeine and alcohol can result in a temporarily-enhanced high (since alcohol increases the influence of codeine itself), it also brings numerous side effects – many of which are clearly negative. This includes:

All of these side effects can occur at any point while codeine and alcohol are in your system at the same time and get worse as you continue to consume alcohol and codeine.

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Note that this does not include the side effects of codeine and alcohol addiction. These two substances can cause physical dependence if overused, and abusing alcohol or codeine pushes you towards an overdose faster.

Risks of Mixing Co-codamol and Alcohol

Mixing alcohol and codeine can result in numerous major risks and problems beyond the standard side effects. Minor effects include abdominal bloating and damage to the gastrointestinal system, as well as delayed reactions, thanks to the sedative nature of the mixture.

The true dangers of mixing these two come from putting an excessive amount in your body, either as a trigger to an overdose on one (or both) or causing a reaction between them that can result in significant health risks.

It is common to suffer from severe respiratory depression after even small amounts of codeine and alcohol. This leads to irregular breathing, which can be extremely dangerous – it can reduce the level of oxygen reaching your brain and other vital organs. Alongside this, it can cause organ damage or even a full-scale coma.

Not only can this damage major organ systems (alongside the liver damage from potential alcohol addiction and the stomach pain from withdrawal), but codeine-related deaths are quite common. The dizziness, drowsiness and sedative effects can cause brain death through subdued breathing.

When combining alcohol and codeine, you are at greater risk of kidney damage and liver damage, and even death by shallow breathing if you happen to pass out or fall into a coma after taking both. This can happen quite easily due to the sedative effect of both substances.

Mixing Alcohol Addiction and Codeine Dependency

Understanding how addiction to codeine and alcohol affects your body is important. Codeine addiction ( or co codamol addiction) is a very real threat and easy to cause if you take co-codamol often.

This addiction causes increased tolerance but also greater risk and withdrawal symptoms. The dangers of mixing alcohol and co-codamol are much greater if you suffer from an addiction to either due to the reward system in your brain.

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Combining codeine and alcohol in this state can be extremely dangerous since the addictions may result in you consuming alcohol or codeine on a more regular basis and pushing your body too far. Respiratory depression becomes even more significant and can kill a person very quickly if they overdose on one (or both) substances.

What is Co-Codamol?

Co-codamol is a painkiller containing codeine phosphate and paracetamol, used when regular paracetamol does not provide enough pain relief.

What is Co-Codamol Used for?

When using co-codamol, the codeine binds to your opioid receptors, resulting in pleasurable feelings and a lowered perception of pain. In comparison, alcohol targets the GABA receptors.

The paracetamol in the mixture blocks chemical messages to your brain, which can help with a range of problems – dulling headaches, regulating perceived body temperature, and limiting how you can feel pain.

Codeine is an opiate that blocks your pain receptors – providing even more pain relief, slowing down digestion, and offering other forms of relaxation for different areas of your body.

As prescription painkillers, doses of co-codamol are used as treatment options for a variety of problems, from physical pain to major headaches as well as more significant medical issues.

Can you drink while using co-codamol?

You should avoid alcohol while taking codeine in any form. Co-codamol is created by combining codeine with paracetamol, and mixing opioids with alcohol can be a severe risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you Drink on Co-Codamol 500mg?

You should never drink while using co-codamol. Drinking alcohol while using opioids and painkillers is a huge risk, and it is a good idea to stop drinking even before you take any.

This is to stop your body from mixing codeine with alcohol that may still be in your system, which can lead to lingering side effects if it has not left your body yet.

Is it Okay to Drink Alcohol While Taking Pain Relief?

It is not recommended to take alcohol when using any kind of medication.

While the intensified pain-killing effects may sound useful for dealing with sharp pains, the side effects are far more dangerous and can lead to major health issues, including semi-permanent damage to your nervous system.

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Certain pop culture alcoholic drinks mix alcohol and codeine, as well as other substances like hard candy. These can be incredibly dangerous and are an unfortunate mainstay of modern rap and hip-hop culture icons like DJ Screw and Lil Wayne, among many others.

What Should You Not Take with Co-Codamol?

Do not take co-codamol with alcohol or any other medicines that contain paracetamol. Using too much paracetamol at once can lead to an overdose.

Be sure to ask a medical professional if you are worried about any serious risks to your central nervous system, organs, general health or long-term safety.

You should also avoid taking co-codamol while pregnant or breastfeeding since this could result in your baby developing breathing issues.

What Are The Active Ingredients in Co-Codamol?

Co-codamol contains paracetamol and codeine, two substances considered to be painkillers that work in different ways. While these both affect the body in different ways, they are very different kinds of chemicals, with neither getting in the other’s way.

This combination provides a more powerful form of painkiller, cough suppressant and general medical substance. Since the two do not target the same parts of the body, limited use is considered a safe option, although they can still be dangerous if a person takes enough to overdose.

How Much Alcohol Can You Drink While Taking Co-Codamol?

The NHS website recommends that you drink no alcohol whatsoever, even if you are planning to use it as part of a treatment. Self-treatment with alcohol can be incredibly dangerous, and mixing it with any kind of cough syrup that uses codeine can be a serious health risk.


Alcohol and co-codamol are a dangerous combination. While both might seem relatively harmless in terms of their individual side effects, they are also an incredibly huge risk when used together or if you happen to overdose on one (or both) due to frequent and consistent use.

If you suffer from an addiction to either, then proper addiction treatment and support groups in Liverpool are available. Ideally, you should stop drinking for at least a few days before using painkillers, if possible.

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Mixing the two should never be attempted in any normal circumstances. The potential damage to your nervous system and organs alone can be enough to kill you, and the side effects of using both too much can result in “silent deaths” due to suffocating as a result of a lack of oxygen while unconscious.

For information on drug abuse, alcohol detox or other treatment options, please make sure to speak o a member of our team today.

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