Paracetamol + codeine

Easy-to-read medicine information about paracetamol + codeine – what it is, how to take paracetamol + codeine safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as analgesics (pain killers)
  • It is also known as a combination analgesic as it combines two painkillers together into one tablet
  • Codalgin®
  • Panadeine®
  • Panadeine Extra®
  • Panadeine Plus®

What is paracetamol + codeine?

  • Paracetamol + codeine is a painkiller (analgesic) used for the relief of mild-to-moderate pain.
  • It is described as a combination analgesic because it contains 2 ingredients paracetamol and codeine that work to relieve pain by different actions.
  • Paracetamol + codeine tablets are available in three different strengths. The amount of paracetamol in the three different strengths is the same (500 mg), but the amount of codeine differs and this determines the strength of the preparation.
  • The three tablet strengths are: 8 mg/500 mg, 10 mg/500 mg, and 15 mg/500 mg, where the first amount relates to how much codeine is in the tablet, and the second is the amount of paracetamol present.
  • Do not take any other preparation which contains paracetamol while you are taking paracetamol+ codeine.


  • The usual dose of paracetamol + codeine is 1 or 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours when required for pain. Do not take more than 8 tablets in 24 hours. 
  • Always take your paracetamol + codeine exactly as your doctor has told you.
  • The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much paracetamol + codeine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take paracetamol + codeine

  • Paracetamol + codeine is not affected by food so you can take it with or without food.
  • Limit or avoid drinking alcohol while your are taking paracetamol + codeine. Taking it with alcohol can increase your chance of side effects such as feeling sleepy, drowsy or dizzy.
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the amount.
  • Do not take any other preparation which contains paracetamol while you are taking paracetamol+ codeine.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, paracetamol + codeine can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sleepy, dizzy or tired
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Feeling sick or vomiting
  • Try taking paracetamol + codeine after meals
  • Tell your doctor if this is troublesome
  • Constipation
  • Eat a diet rich in fibre and drink plenty of water.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Headache, dry mouth, altered vision, skin rash and itching
  • These are quite common when you first start taking paracetamol + codeine, and usually go away with time
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Breathing difficulties, changes to your heartbeat
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116


  • Paracetamol + codeine may interact with a number of medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting it or before starting any new medicines.
  • It may interact with medicines available without a prescription such as:
    • cough suppressants (such as Benadryl Dry Forte®, Duro-Tuss®)
    • sedating antihistamines (such as Phenergan®)
  • As mentioned, do NOT take any other medicine containing paracetamol such as Lemsip, Codral, maxigesic, Dimetapp, coldrex, mersyndol. See more...

Learn more

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet: Panadeine Extra

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: paracetamol + codeine

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft, GP