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Marvellous for Migraines
Solpadeine Headache Tablets
Member Name: Kukana
Solpadeine Headache Tablets
Date: 10/05/04, updated on 01/10/04 (2401 review reads)
Advantages: Fast and effective, Not too expensive, Can be bought over the counter
Disadvantages: Tastes vile, Possible side effects, Need caution if taking other medications
I only came across Solpadeine about a year ago, when my husband's dentist recommended it to him after a wisdom tooth extraction. As it turned out, although we bought a pack, my husband didn't need to use it. However a week or so later I developed a stinker of a migraine which refused to respond to my more normal remedies. I had run out of Migraleve, my previous 'last resort', and had a busy, somewhat stressful day ahead which I knew would make the migraine unbearably bad. So, after consulting the instructions and learning that Solpadeine was suitable, I tried some, and was impressed.
* What is Solpadeine? *
It's a soluble form of pain relief. Stored in a mainly red, square box, it can be bought over the counter from a pharmacist, although it's not available in supermarkets. Each tablet contains the active ingredients of 500mg paracetamol, 8 mg codeine and 30mg caffeine, as well as fillers and a fizzy base to make it dissolve. For adults and teenagers, two can be taken in one dose, and repeated every four hours, although no more than eight should be taken in any 24-hour period.
* Cost and pack size *
We bought our Solpadeine in a pack of 24, which cost about £2. It's also available in packs of 12 or 60; you have to ask the pharmacist for them - they're not on general display. They can be made available on prescription, so if you're entitled to free prescriptions it would be worth talking to your doctor about them. On the other hand, for occasional use such as mine, it's better value to buy them directly.
* Using Solpadeine *
The tablets themselves are quite large - about 2cm in diameter - enclosed in airtight paper wrappings. They have to be fully dissolved in water before taking. They bubble and fizz strongly for at least 30 seconds, and it's important t
o wait until this reaction stops before drinking; the taste is bitter enough anyway, but getting a still-fizzing lump of the tablet is quite vile. I tried it once, and it was a mistake! I would recommend adding something like lemon squash too, to disguise the taste a little - and keep another glass of liquid nearby to get rid of any lingering Solpadeine. The taste reminds me faintly of Perrier water, which I also loathe, but I think that's partly the strongly fizzy effect. There's something worse in it, too; perhaps not a bad thing since it means it's not something I would take routinely.
* Effectiveness *
The effect on a migraine is amazing, in my experience. Whereas ordinary paracetamol, taken with coffee, will clear the beginning of a migraine or lessen the effect of a more serious one, Solpadeine makes it vanish completely within about ten minutes. The solubility no doubt means that the ingredients get to work faster, and codeine combined with paracetamol gives very rapid pain relief. However as with any pain relief, the effect lessens if it's taken too often. There was one day when I took this on waking up, and experienced immediate relief. By four hours later, the pain had returned, so I took some more. The migrine mostly went, but not so completely. By the evening it was back again in full spate, and I took yet another dose of Solpadeine, only to find that it had no more effect than ordinary paracetamol.
* Side effects *
The instruction leaflet mentions that there are possible (but rare) side effects of constipation, nausea, dizziness or drowsiness. They recommend that anyone who experiences any of these, and is worried about them, should speak to their doctor. Personally I haven't had any problems at all with these tablets.
* Dangers *
The instructions have plen
ty of warnings about this product, which, if you are pregnant or on any other type of medication, should only be taken under medical supervision. It's extremely important to avoid taking any other paracetanol product with it (that includes many cold-relief medications) since even a mild overdose of paracetamol can cause serious liver damage. It should never be given to children under the age of 12 years old, and it's also unsuitable for anyone on a low-sodium diet for any reason, since - like most soluble products - it contains a significant amount of sodium: 427mg per tablet.
It's also important to remember that both codeine and caffeine are addictive substances. Occasional use of these tablets is unlikely to cause any harm, but it's best to restrict their use to occasions when other methods of pain relief have been unsuccessful (and ensure you wait at least four hours before trying this, after having any other form of paracetamol). If you never use caffeine in any form, you may prefer to use something which does not contain it, since unexpected caffeine can potentially make a headache worse if your body is not accustomed to it at all. It can also keep you awake at night; I once took Solpadeine before going to bed, only to find that despite the pain of my migraine vanishing, I could not sleep for several hours. I don't usually have any coffee or other caffeine after about 3pm in the afternoon, and I now also never taken Solpadeine after that time.
It's vital to remember, too, that anything like this is only intended for short-term relief. Ongoing pain which has no obvious cause should always be checked by a doctor.