General Health

What is Zapain and its side effects?

Are you among the 28 million adults living with severe or chronic pain in the UK? If so, Zapain can provide you with effective pain relief. Learn how this medication works, its side effects, and essential tips for safe usage, tailored for those aged 50 and above.

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What is Zapain and its side effects?
  • Zapain is the strongest form of co-codamol, containing paracetamol and codeine to relieve pain effectively.
  • Zapain may cause uncomfortable side effects such as drowsiness, nausea and shortness of breath.
  • You shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking Zapain as it can exacerbate side effects such as drowsiness.
  • Speak to a doctor before taking Zapain if you have any underlying medical conditions or addiction problems.

Zapain: FAQs

  • What medication is in Zapain?

    Zapain contains two key active ingredients: paracetamol and codeine. You can get a prescription for this drug under the name co-codamol. This medication comes in three doses, and Zapain is the strongest dose formulation.

    Codeine is an opioid that relieves pain, and paracetamol is an analgesic, reducing inflammation and lowering your temperature if you have a fever.

  • What are the side effects of ibuprofen?

    There are a few common side effects of ibuprofen. You may experience constipation, diarrhoea, bloating or dizziness. However, there are more serious side effects, such as nausea, shortness of breath or painful urination.

    If you take ibuprofen daily, this drug can irritate your stomach lining and cause some digestive issues. Make sure to speak to a prescribing healthcare professional if you experience any of these side effects.

  • Is co-dydramol stronger than ibuprofen?

    Yes, co-dydramol is stronger than ibuprofen. Like Zapain, your doctor may prescribe co-dydramol if aspirin, ibuprofen or paracetamol are ineffective at relieving pain. Co-dydramol is a mixture of paracetamol and dihydrocodeine - and it can help with problems such as headaches, migraines, period pain and toothache.

    You may experience a few side effects while taking this drug, such as nausea and dizziness, and you shouldn’t take co-dydramol alongside other strong prescription medicines.

  • What is the difference between aspirin and ibuprofen?

    Both aspirin and ibuprofen can reduce pain and inflammation - and you can buy these drugs over the counter for issues such as toothache or headaches. People typically use aspirin to lower fevers and use ibuprofen to alleviate pain.

    There is also some evidence that aspirin is the best choice for migraines. Typically, aspirin and ibuprofen provide effective pain management, so which one you use is a personal preference.

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Zapain is a common medication used to provide temporary pain relief. As a strong painkiller, there are some side effects associated with this drug, and you should be aware of the possible drug interactions. If you have existing medical conditions, you should consult a doctor before using Zapain for the first time.

What is Zapain?

Zapain is the brand version of the highest strength of co-codamol (a combination of codeine and paracetamol). Although painkillers like paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen can provide substantial pain relief, Zapain is a stronger alternative if these medicines don’t help.

There are three different versions of co-codamol. Each formulation has 500mg of paracetamol, along with 8mg, 15mg or 30mg of codeine. Zapain is the name of the higher-dose formulation of co-codamol. Codeine is an effective pain reliever that blocks pain signals to the brain, and paracetamol is analgesic and antipyretic. This means it can relieve moderate pain, reduce inflammation and lower your temperature.

You can buy the 8mg formulation of co-codamol over-the-counter from your local pharmacy if you need immediate pain relief. However, you’ll need to get a prescription for Zapain.

How to take Zapain

A typical Zapain pack consists of 50, 56, 100 or 112 tablets and is available in aluminium blister packs or secure plastic containers. 

For adults, the recommended dose is one or two tablets every four to six hours - and you shouldn't take more than eight tablets in 24 hours.

You should only use this medication on a short-term basis, with a typical prescription of up to three days. Using it longer than prescribed may lead to addiction, which can cause withdrawal symptoms when you stop it. 

Speak to your healthcare provider about how and when to take your Zapain prescription for the best results.

Side effects of Zapain

There are a few side effects of Zapain tablets to understand before taking your prescription.

Zapain contains codeine phosphate, which is an opioid. This means it has an addictive component - and you can only use this medication temporarily for this reason. Research shows that 4-9% of adults age 65 or older use prescription opioid medications for pain relief, so it is important to be careful and only take the medicine as prescribed. 

You may also experience withdrawal symptoms if you don’t follow your doctor’s advice about taking this medication correctly. Withdrawal symptoms include difficulty sleeping, restlessness, anxiety and increased blood pressure.

There are a few common side effects of Zapain, including:

  • Nausea.
  • Constipation.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dizziness.
  • Sleepiness and drowsiness.

Although rare, the codeine in Zapain may cause an allergic reaction in the body. Signs of an allergic reaction include sudden wheeziness, difficulty breathing and swelling in the eyelids, face or lips. Stop taking Zapain and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.

You shouldn’t operate heavy machinery while using Zapain tablets as, along with all the side effects mentioned above, there is a possibility that it can affect your vision.

Can anyone take Zapain?

Some people can’t take Zapain, for example, if you have asthma, chronic bronchitis, or recently suffered a head injury. 

You also shouldn’t take this drug if:

  • You’re allergic to paracetamol or codeine.
  • You have kidney or liver disease.
  • You’ve had recent gallbladder surgery.
  • You have diarrhoea.

You should speak to a doctor before taking this medication if breastfeeding, as codeine can pass to your baby through breast milk. 

If you experience stomach pains or have an underactive thyroid gland, a lower dose of Zapain might be appropriate.

Also, if you live with myasthenia gravis (muscle weakness), disease of the biliary tract, Addison’s disease or an enlarged prostate gland, you should speak to a healthcare professional about the best practice for taking this medication.

Drug interactions and Zapain

In England, more than 1 in 10 people over 65 take at least eight different prescribed medications each week, so it's essential to be aware of any potential drug interactions. 

You shouldn’t take Zapain if you also take monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), as these antidepressants can alter how Zapain works in your body. Taking Zapain tablets with sedatives like benzodiazepines can also cause difficulties in breathing, known as respiratory depression, and your doctor may need to consider an alternative treatment.

Other common drug interactions include:

  • Medication for irregular heartbeats, such as mexiletine.
  • Diarrhoea or sickness medication.
  • Sleeping pills, such as temazepam.
  • Other strong opioids.
  • Anticoagulants like Warfarin.

It’s also important to avoid other paracetamol-containing products while you take Zapain to prevent overdosing.

Foods to avoid with Zapain

You shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking Zapain. Drinking alcohol with a prescription-only painkiller can increase uncomfortable side effects like drowsiness and sleepiness, according to the NHS.

Speak to a doctor if you’ve ever experienced addiction issues or been a heavy drinker in the past, as this may affect whether you can take this drug. If you find that Zapain doesn't relieve your pain, you may have developed an addiction, or your body has become tolerant to this medication.

Taking Zapain with food is also a good idea if you're struggling with nausea. However, you should speak to a doctor if you regularly feel sick while taking this medication.

Understanding Zapain and its side effects

Zapain can relieve severe pain, providing a stronger drug formulation than over-the-counter medications like paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen. As a strong painkiller, taking this medication correctly is essential to avoid side effects like drowsiness, nausea or constipation.

Avoid substances like alcohol and follow medication guidelines to ease moderate pain and reduce side effects.

Being aware of possible interactions with other medications is very important. If you're worried about withdrawal symptoms or have any concerns, you should talk to your doctor. And if you're dealing with addiction issues, there could be different treatment options that are better suited for you.

Make sure to seek medical advice before taking this painkiller for the first time.

Image Credit: Anna Shvets at Pexels

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