Is Remedeine Forte the same as Codeine?

6th June 2019

The names of medicines can be confusing and actually, most of us will know what we’re taking by the packaging or the look of the pills themselves rather than by the name (especially people who have to take a number of different medications on a daily basis).

So it’s easy to see why people end up questioning if another drug is the same or different from another.

Branded versus generic

The first major difference between certain medications is the branded and unbranded kinds. In the same way that you can ‘tomato ketchup’ and you can get ‘Heinz tomato ketchup’, you can get the generic and branded versions of certain medications.

It’s easy to tell which kind you’re buying because all drugs will have both the name and the active ingredient listed on the box and the packet. If both of these words are the same, then you’re looking at a generic, unbranded product. If they are different then this is the branded version, and it’ll likely be the active ingredient that you recognise.

For example, Remedeine Forte is a branded kind of co-dydramol, so the name and active ingredients so not match. It can be extra confusing in this case because co-dydramol is the name given to drugs that are a combination of dihydrocodeine and paracetamol.

Generally speaking, branded products will always be more expensive than the generic version, but will usually contain exactly the same amount of the active ingredient. However, people often have a preference on specific brands because even though the active ingredient may be the same, the coatings and other ingredients can sometimes differ and they may find one suits their body more than another.

In the case of Remedeine Forte though, this contains 30mg of dihydrocodeine and 500mg of paracetamol per tablet, whereas the generic, unbranded version of co-dydramol only contains 10mg of dihydrocodeine and 500mg of paracetamol. For this reason, a lot of people with chronic pain opt for the branded version.

Does Remedeine Forte contain Codeine?

A lot of users mistakenly think that Remedeine Forte is either the same as, or contains, Codeine but this isn’t quite right. Remedeine Forte contains dihydrocodeine which is an opiate painkiller. Codeine is also an opiate painkiller but a slightly different kind.

The two drugs are not the same but they do fall under the same category and behave in a similar way. The exact action of opioid painkillers is not fully understood, but they bind to receptors in the brain (your opioid receptors) to block the transmission of pain. Both Codeine and Dihydrocodeine are extremely effective at killing pain, however, they should be reserved for very severe or chronic pain and should never be used to treat mild to moderate pain.

The downside to opioids (although they are highly effective painkillers) is that they come with a risk of dependency and addiction, which is why it’s extremely important to follow your doctor’s instructions and don’t take them for longer than instructed. If you do feel yourself becoming dependant on them then contact a medical professional.

How come you can take Dihydrocodeine and Paracetamol together?

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding medications and interactions between them; what you can take together, what you can’t take together, what has an effect on each other. When it comes to painkillers, you are okay to take more than one painkiller, as long as they are in different categories and you are following the correct dosage instructions.

So you must only ever take one opiate painkiller at a time (codeine, dihydrocodeine, morphine etc) but it is fine (as long as your doctor doesn’t tell you otherwise) to take an opiate painkiller alongside an NSAID or paracetamol. And the same applies to NSAIDs and paracetamol too; you are fine to take an NSAID (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) at the same time as paracetamol provided you follow the instructions.

Because you are fine to take paracetamol at the same time as opiates, drug manufacturers have made this easier for the patient by combining the two ingredients into one tablet. You can get co-dydramol (such as Remedeine Forte), which combines dihydrocodeine and paracetamol, or co-codamol which combines codeine and paracetamol.