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Hi Steve,

I hope you're doing OK?

I was just wondering about your replacing Solpadeine soluble tablets with the standard ones. Do you mean replacing the soluble version with Solpadeine capsules? Because Solpadeine capsules also contain codeine, caffeine and paracetamol. They might contain less sodium, though (not sure).

I usually get thrown into cold turkey when I take more than eight Solpadeine a day. I have never taken more than 10 in 24 hours. My body literally can't handle that high a dose.

Although codeine and caffeine are addictive, the most dangerous drug ingredient in Solpadeine is actually the paracetamol. Once you take over eight 500mg tablets per day, you are overdosing on paracetamol.

If you take 8+ tablets a day, I'd strongly urge you to see your GP. Paracetamol overdose can lead to organ failure, even at relatively small overdoses, and even if taken as an accidental 'staggered' overdose, where you take just a bit too much over a period of time. The line between a safe and a toxic dose of paracetamol is surprisingly thin.

If you are taking under eight tablets a day, I find reducing by half a tablet a day, or a quarter of a tablet a day, works for me. I judge how fast to go by whether or not I get a headache or migraine. I start by reducing by a half a tablet a day. If the speed of my withdrawal triggers pain, I pull back and reduce it by a quarter of a tablet per day. If I don't feel pain, I continue to reduce it by half a tablet per day.

I also take Solpadeine at regular hours (e.g. 9AM, 1PM, 6PM, 10PM). Why? The caffeine in Solpadeine triggers headaches as much as, or more so, than the codeine. I strive the keep the level of caffeine (and codeine) relatively even in my system, as a sudden drop off can trigger a headache or migraine (the reason I started taking Solpadeine in the first place). On day one of my withdrawal, I chop half off my last dose of the day. The next day, I chop half off my last dose AND my second-last dose. The third day, I chop half off my last, second-last and third-last doses, etc.

Hope that helps…?

All the best,


Re: Cutting Down
Judge JeffreysJudge Jeffreys 17 Jul 2017 20:07
in discussion Forum / My story » Cutting Down

Hi Joanna2017

Many thanks for your reply and feedback.

I find I have good and bad days. Sometimes I can get through almost a whole day before I take one. I usually get dizzy and muzzy headed sooner or later. I feel kind of fragile and vulnerable when they are not in my system. The headaches are the worst. One thing I have been considering is to take a Solpadeine and caffine tablet without codeine to treat any headaches. If you can treat the headaches with paracetamol then hopefully the craving for codeine will wear off in time if you can cope with the other withdrawal symptoms.

Good luck with the Alka Seltzer and let us all know how you get on.

Re: Cutting Down by Judge JeffreysJudge Jeffreys, 17 Jul 2017 20:07

My partner is addicted to Solpadeine. Please help me for his addiction.

Even I am also in the same boat as yours.

Hi Steve
Good luck for the 12th.
How is the reducing working for you?
I have been reducing each week from 8 to 4 and now this week I am only taking 2.
I have in addition to this taken 2 alka seltzer twice to get the "fiz" and this did work.
I am trying to keep occupied so I don't have time to focus on my cravings for them. I find the gym really helpful and also swapping around the time of days I take them to try and break the cycle.
I also find reading on here such a big help.
Please let me know how you are getting on.

Im in exactly the same position. Ive now stopped caring. Its sad, i dont want to feel like this but ive given up. I realise that it wont stop no matter what i feel, the draw of the solpadeine is bigger than me. The only advice i have for you is, do not allow it to take over your life, stop snooping because that actually winds you up even more….you know what your going to find so why continue to look? Accept. He takes them, and will continue to do so until he is ready. It sounds negative but it really isnt! Its survival. Hope things get better for you xx

Hi guys, pretty happy to have found this forum to be honest as I am not ashamed to admit that i am pretty frightened at the position I have gotten myself into.

I started taking Solp Max in 2010, I really don't know why, I wasn't in pain, I think I jut liked the little bizz. My team leader used to give us all 2 in the morning to start the day, not even kidding, it was like her little treat to us. I rue the day I met her.

So now and again I would take them, nothing serious, great hangover cure, nice little recreational buzz if I was home alone playing Xbox or watching the football.

In 2013 I started taking them regularly after a rough time and work and a period of depression , and with the usual gradual increase I quickly went from 4 a day to 8., I'm now on 16 or 20 a day, all dependant on my mood and how work has been etc. Always a dose of 4, sometimes I look for excuses to have an extra dose as a reward to myself. Sounds absolutely crazy writing that down, I'm an educated smart guy, but I genuinely believe I'm rewarding myself sometimes.

It has been made me irritable, unhealthy, lazy and overweight. I hate them for taking away the self control and will power that I have always been proud of in myself. My partner hates them and my 5 year old daughters knows the word solpadiene now. That broke my heart when she said it in the kitchen a few months ago.

Her saying "solpadeiene" was enough for me. So 21st Jan this year I started keeping a diary, stopped drinking alcohol, eating right, and cutting down my soluble tablets by 1 or 2 a week. By april 21 I was on 6 a day and felt fantastic, I had lost weight, my family said I was myself again and my friends loved me being part of the group again.

Queue a stressful house move and extreme wisdom teeth problems and I shot back up to 20 a day. I live on the Isle of Man, waiting times for the surgery is 13 months so I have gone private and paid 3k to have them extracted on 12th July. All the while in agony and nervous about my situation I am taking more and more. I have my wisdom teeth surgery next Tuesday and tomorrow I begin the weaning off solpadeiene process again, I am scared and nervous as I don't have the motivation for quitting that I had in January, I'm back in the feeling of worrying about the withdrawal, I know I have to stop but don't feel I am the strong bloke that I was 4 years ago. This things have beaten me so badly. I've always been a strong person and don't have an addictive personality yet these have me in their grip :-(

So, sorry to drone on! When I began cutting down in January I didn't tell anyone and did it aloneZ this time I have decided to share my journey and what is likely to be a horrible experience on this forum. Also I am trying a different trick also, perhaps someone can advise if it's a good idea, bad idea, or just pointless. As well as weaning down I am going to replace half the soluble tablets with the standard ones, thus dropping the sodium salt and caffeine quicker than the rate that the codeine drops at (as the standard tablets don't have those ingredients). Also I am back to the gym tomorrow and have drawn myself a massive list of DIY jobs to annoy everyone with and hopefully keep me busy!

Please please offer any advise you have. I'll try anything to kick these things up the ass once and for all

Peace and good luck to all those in the middle of their own struggle with this demon.

Bring on the headaches

Steve :-)

Re: Cutting Down
StormAtSeaStormAtSea 06 Jul 2017 21:07
in discussion Forum / My story » Cutting Down

Hi Joanna2017,

I find I have to cut down more slowly or I get thrown into migraine. My body seems to be very sensitive to any fluctuations in Solpadeine, even as little as half a tablet.

I tend to find that I can reduce by halves from 8 to 6. After that, I have to reduce by quarters.

I also find taking eight tablets a day makes me breathless. I feel so weird. Usually my body can't tolerate it and I am chucked into cold turkey (which means a 4-5 day migraine).

I also find Alka-Seltzer helpful at times but it doesn't always work for me. At a certain point, my body is so sick of painkillers that it rejects every kind. After I have been clean for a while, they start to work again. Alka-Seltzer also gives me a stomach ache, so I don't take it that often.

Wishing you the very best of luck in reducing Solpadeine to zero.

All the best,


Re: Cutting Down by StormAtSeaStormAtSea, 06 Jul 2017 21:07
Re: Cutting Down
Joanna2017Joanna2017 06 Jul 2017 13:28
in discussion Forum / My story » Cutting Down

Hi Judge Jeffreys

How is the cutting back working for you? Wishing you lots of success in your progress and please keep us all updated.

I am currently using the cutting back approach, I was taking 8 per day and they had started to make me feel breathless, it felt like I was losing my sense of smell and my eyes always felt so dry.
I cut back last week to 4 per day for 7 days and then this week I am cutting down to 2 per day which means 1 in the morning and 1 about 7pm at night. Cutting back to 2 a day has been a lot harder than I thought, I am having trouble sleepling at night, I am getting some headaches and my mind is just craving them.
Today I used alka seltzer at lunchtime to get the same fizzy sensation and to try and shift the headache. I think this has worked.
What side effects are other people experiencing?

Re: Cutting Down by Joanna2017Joanna2017, 06 Jul 2017 13:28
Re: Day1
StormAtSeaStormAtSea 28 Jun 2017 20:17
in discussion Forum / About this site » Day1

If you feel comfortable involving your GP, I think it might be a good idea.

Solpadeine has been in your life for a long time (for me, too: 34 years) and it can be bloody hard to quit. Some people do so and that's it; they are free. Others (like me) find it harder to stay off it, especially when migraine strikes.


Re: Day1 by StormAtSeaStormAtSea, 28 Jun 2017 20:17
Re: Day1
StormAtSeaStormAtSea 28 Jun 2017 20:13
in discussion Forum / About this site » Day1

Hi DCot,

I think the best way to quit is to do so very slowly, especially if you have been taking Solpdadeine for a long time. Different people suffer from different withdrawal symptoms. For me, they take the form of terrible headaches and migraines. I sometimes get lower back pain, too. Other people get different symptoms, like restless legs at night.

You could try cutting down by a quarter of a tablet a day (or even a little less) and taking your Solpadeine doses at regular times (e.g. 9AM, 1PM, 5PM, 9PM) to keep caffeine and codeine levels relatively stable in the blood. Sudden dips in these levels can trigger nasty withdrawal headaches or migraines.

It helps to drink lots of plain, cool fluids, too, like still water (not fizzy, as it makes headaches much worse, for some reason). Coconut water (much cheaper in Lidl than in other shops) is also very hydrating.

Eating regular meals helps keep blood sugar levels stable so that you don't get ravenously hungry or trigger a headache due to lack of food. I find some foods help during withdrawal, like brown rice and steamed courgettes / zucchini. Other foods and drinks (e.g. more complicated recipes, meat, chicken stock, milk, sweet things, yeast/sourdough bread, tea, coffee, alcohol, etc.) make things a lot worse for me during withdrawal.

If you withdraw slowly, you should avoid the lion's share of detox issues. I hope you do, anyway.

All the best,


Re: Day1 by StormAtSeaStormAtSea, 28 Jun 2017 20:13

Hi Jackie,

A bit late to reply, perhaps, but your husband's severe headache was highly likely to have been Solpadeine withdrawal.

Stopping the tablets suddenly leads to rapid codeine and caffeine withdrawal.

Caffeine withdrawal, in particular, is famous for causing severe headaches and/or migraines. These do pass but it takes a few days and minor 'aftershock' headaches can last up to a week or two.

Same if he stopped drinking coffee suddenly. I have little doubt that favouring water over coffee for those few days contributed to the pain because he accidentally threw himself into coffee cold turkey too!

Going back on coffee is not the answer, though, as it leads to the same cycle of pain eventually. Best to stay away from caffeinated drinks altogether, including painkillers like Solpadeine that contain caffeine. Caffeine is bad news for headache and migraine sufferers. Even if it appears to cure a headache, which it can do, it's only because the body is getting a drug fix. The underlying issue is still there as long as the headache sufferer continues to drink/eat caffeine.

If your husband has stayed off Solpadeine and coffee since June, that is brilliant.

If he hasn't, the least painful way to withdraw is to do so very slowly, e.g. cutting down by a quarter of a tablet a day (or even a little less) and taking Solpadeine at regular times (e.g. 9AM, 1PM, 5PM, 9PM) to keep caffeine and codeine levels relatively stable in the blood. The sudden dips trigger the pain.

It might be too much to tackle Solpadeine and coffee all at once. Quitting Solpadeine is the more important task, then quitting coffee (slowly - check out for an easy, pain-free way to quit coffee).

I hope that helps…?

All the best,


DCotDCot 20 Jun 2017 09:15
in discussion Forum / About this site » Day1

I am addicted to Solpadeine for over 30 years. I want to end this hell. I take about 10 a day sometimes more. What is the best way to start

Day1 by DCotDCot, 20 Jun 2017 09:15

my husband has taken solph plus for 5 years. he stopped taking them for two days recently and now has a severe headache that has lasted for two days so far and he still has one.he has recently had keyhole surgery on his knee, just over a week a go - could he be getting withdrawal symptoms, i have always worried about how long he has used these has painkillers for. someone please help/advise if you can. he does drink coffee too all though since the headache he is drinking water.

worried about my husband by jackie perryjackie perry, 16 Jun 2017 08:07
Cutting Down
Judge JeffreysJudge Jeffreys 15 Jun 2017 18:00
in discussion Forum / My story » Cutting Down

My story is similar to many others on here. I had an attack of shingles some years back which went into my right eye. My doctor recommended Co-Codamol for the pain. I remember getting up at about 4am after a sleepless night and taking 2 dissolved in water. After about half an hour I began to feel like I was floating away into some peaceful,painless paradise, it was wonderful. My addiction did not begin straight away, I switched to Solpadeine Plus to avoid the drowsiness and get the caffeine kick. I began taking them at work to cope with stressful meetings and difficult colleagues. Soon I was taking 4-6 per day, I never went over the 8 per day rule but I took them every day and sometimes after a few beers at night to help me sleep. I am a nervous flyer, and I would take them with alcohol on flights to increase the effect. I decided to see my doctor and tell her I was a Solpadeine addict. She didn't take me seriously. When I told her I was staying within the daily guidelines she more or less dismissed what I had said. I injured my back shortly afterwards and went back to her for help. She prescribed me Solpadol 30/500. I couldn't believe it, but naturally being an addict I wasn't going to turn her offer down. I have them on repeat prescription and can get 50 of them any time I like. I rarely take them as they are mega strong but I like to keep them in my cupboard. It was interesting (and alarming) to read that you should never drink alcohol with Solpedeine. I cannot see this warning anywhere in the instructions although I suppose it's pretty obvious. I had a liver function test recently which gave me a gamma factor of 228 when it should be in the range of 0-71, gamma is directly related to alcohol. I do the usual round of chemists and it always amazes me how their reactions vary when you ask for Solpedeine. Some of them will read you the full rules and ask questions, others just wiz it through the till and take the money. I have been cutting down for about a week now. At first it was easy but now I am getting headaches every day and sometimes restless legs in bed at night. I am really glad I found this site as It seems a great source of support for people in this situation. I know I have to get through this and hopefully the headaches will start to fade once I get through the withdrawal. Best wishes and best of luck for a Solpadeine free future to everyone on here.

Cutting Down by Judge JeffreysJudge Jeffreys, 15 Jun 2017 18:00

You're very welcome! There's always a danger zone, or a point where one is vulnerable to going back on Solpadeine. For me, it is triggered by migraines. I hope you make it over the hump this time. Good luck with everything :-)

Haha - hopefully uphill! Will report back in a few months as I see no real problem in quitting for a few weeks, but it's just whether I can really make this permanent - beyond a month or two. That's where I've fallen before, but the last times I didn't have the knowledge I do now. Thanks again!

Hi NeilLon,

You're very welcome. We're all in this together :-)

Thank you for detailing the sodium content of Solpadeine. I knew it was high but I hadn't realised it was that high.

I wasn't aware of that stroke statistic (22%). It's scary. I agree that stroke is one of the worst afflictions anyone can suffer. I'm sorry to hear that your father has suffered two strokes. It is a cruel illness, both for sufferers and for carers like your mum.

The partner of a close friend of mine had a stroke 11 years ago. It was devastating. It robbed him of movement, cognition, emotional nuance and speech.

It took him years to become independent again and he will never be fully well. He is now well enough, though, to be aware that he will never regain his former abilities.

My friend has done everything in her power to care for him and to help him heal (and more!) but the brain damage he sustained is too extensive for a full recovery.

So it's good to be aware that stroke might be another potential danger of Solpadeine use.

I'm glad you are noticing your blood pressure coming down. I suspect you're right in that exercise has shielded you from the lion's share of hypertension. Foods rich in potassium (lots of fruits and vegetables, basically) can also help to offset sodium and bring blood pressure down further.

It's great you have stopped taking Solpadeine and are feeling OK. It's all uphill from here.

All the best to you, too,


Re: Is it too late?
StormAtSeaStormAtSea 19 May 2017 14:16
in discussion Forum / My story » Is it too late?

Hi Paul,

I'm so glad to hear that you are clear now and that the restlessness is over. That is really wonderful news :-) Well done! Quitting Solpadeine is SO worth it.

In relation to your liver, I think it's unlikely that you have caused scarring or cirrhosis in such a short time, especially given that you have taken fewer than eight tablets a day and have left four hours between doses, as instructed on the box.

I saw a neurologist for migraine recently. I asked him if it was possible that I could have done permanent damage to my body as a result of taking Solpadeine for 34 years (I have taken it daily for seven of those years). He said it was unlikely and that most consequences of Solpadeine use, while painful, are of a minor order. Of course, that would not be the case for people who take way over the maximum dose every day. Like you, however, I kept to fewer than eight tablets a day (almost all of the time) and left four hours between doses.

I think it might be a good idea to have a chat with your GP, though, simply to ease your mind. He/she will be able to tell you how long it should take for your liver enzymes to return to normal. I suspect staying off Solpadeine, Panadol Extra, plain paracetamol and other painkillers will help a lot. The liver has an amazing ability to regenerate itself.

There's a book you might find interesting called The Liver Cleansing Diet by an Australian doctor called Dr Sandra Cabot. (She has a website, too; you can look her up.) It's basically healthy eating and some juicing, with a few tweaks. It is supposed to take the burden off the liver so it can do its job of detoxifying the body in peace.

Dr Cabot also recommends a few supplements, though friends of mine have followed the diet on its own and have felt good on it. It was written in the 1990's. Your local library should either have it or be able to order it for you through inter-library loan. Alternatively, you will find it online or in larger bookshops.

I hope that's of some use. Congratulations again for kicking Solpadeine. Doing so is hard but it's so worth it.

All the best,


Re: Is it too late? by StormAtSeaStormAtSea, 19 May 2017 14:16
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