Oedema – Dihydrocodeine v Co-codamol results (A Chronicles of the Heart suppmement).

The last week or two I’ve been alternating DHC and Co-codamol, and closely monitoring my oedema. I opined, in this post, that the effects of DHC and Co-codamol on oedema where likely to be similar, I was wrong.

I have absolutely no idea why there should be such a substantial difference between the two drugs, but there clearly is, at least in my case, and possibly influenced by the cocktail of drugs I’m also taking. However, there is no way of proving or disproving this, as multiple-drug interaction are impossible to quantify.

I took each drug for 3-4 days at a time (60mg DHC or 2 30/500 Co-codamol, 4 times a day), and there is absolutely no doubt that oedema reduction is better with Co-codamol (a shame, as it’s pretty crap for pain control). Not only that, taking DHC puts the process somewhat into reverse, and I begin retaining fluid again, though not uniformly.

For adequate pain control, particularly osteoarthritis, supplementing with occasional Naproxen (a NSAID), is necessary.

The weird thing is that I am taking exactly the same amount of DHC that I’ve taken for the last 3-4 years, and only recently has it been a problem – only since the last week in January, in fact. To my mind, it seems clear that DHC is exacerbating a condition, not actually generating the oedema itself, and what it’s exacerbating is most likely to be the oedema caused by heart failure. The chances, as the previously-mentioned Dr. Abdelmouti, at St. Cath’s hospital would have it, that it is an unspecified condition hitherto unsuspected and undiagnosed, are vanishingly small.

So, if you have intransigent oedema, it might well be worth checking to see if any of your meds can cause or exacerbate it.

One last thought – alcohol is a natural diuretic (many hangover symptoms are simply dehydration), but if you have oedema and you like beer, it is still vital that you continue to take you prescribed diuretics while in the pub. True, you’re likely to be peeing prodigiously every half hour or so, but the diuretic effect of beer, on its own, isn’t enough and is likely to worsen your oedema. Which you really don’t need. Yesterday, though I didn’t drink much and left the pub early (it wasn’t a good day), I did forget my Furosemide (Lasix), and my left leg was twice the size of my right by midnight,and I’ve gained 4lb in weight, which I would normally expect a similarly-sized weight loss.

There is no sign, this time, of pulmonary oedema, though my breathing is pretty poor.

2 thoughts on “Oedema – Dihydrocodeine v Co-codamol results (A Chronicles of the Heart suppmement).

  1. Hi Ron,

    Firstly, I have absolutely zero idea of this will help or be of interest (and you probably know about it already as you are very clued up about these thigns) but you can create a free account with the BNF (Britsh National Formulary) which is the same info doctors use to look up medications and their side effects and interactions.

    Also, google scholar is pretty good for looking up clinical studies, although you can often only get hold of the abstract unless you pay an extortionate amount.

    But like I said, this might not be relevant and you probably know about these already.

    Take care

    • Hi apples,

      Thanks for that – I’ll check it out. I have a copy of the BNF, have done since the eighties, but didn’t know that – anything that saves money is worth looking at. I also managed to sign up to Pulse Today, some years ago before they enforced the rules and restricted it to health pros. They haven’t thrown me out though, and that can be a very good resource too.

      PubMed is worth a look too, and there are occasionally links to the full versions

      As It turned out, I had to stop the DHC – it wasn’t causing the oedema, but it was greatly exacerbating it, Actually, it might not be the DHC itself, but I’m taking so many drugs, there’s no telling what weird and unrecorded interactions are going on, but DHC is the trigger so, for now, at least, it’s out, or just for emergencies, for a short time.


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