Co-proxamol Side Effects

Updated February 21, 2017

Co-proxamol is a pain medication made up of paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene. In the past, this medication was used in the treatment of mild to moderate pain. The drug was primarily used in the United Kingdom; however, as of the end of 2007, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) cancelled the licensing for all medications that contained co-proxamol. Patients who have used the drug long term can still obtain unlicensed co-proxamol when under the supervision of the prescriber.

Common Side Effects

Medicines can affect people differently. Most medications, including co-proxamol, produce some side effects even when taken as directed. Common side effects of co-proxamol include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, constipation and other abdominal discomforts, headache, skin rash, hallucinations and jaundice.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Co-proxamol could cause harm to unborn children. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not use co-proxamol unless their health care provider believes the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the baby. Co-proxamol does pass into breast milk. However, with normal dosage it does not appear to be present in sufficient amounts to harm a nursing infant. Nursing mothers should consult with their health care provider before using co-proxamol.

Drug Interactions

Co-proxamol frequently causes drowsiness, a characteristic that can be exacerbated when taken with alcohol and certain other drowsiness-inducing medications. This medication should never be taken along with antipsychotics, antidepressants, sedatives or tranquillisers, muscle relaxers or opioid painkillers. Patients taking co-proxamol should advise their health care provider and pharmacist of all prescription and over-the-counter medications they are taking.


Co-proxamol should not be taken by children younger than 18. It is not recommended for use by the elderly or by pregnant or lactating women. People with compromised liver or kidney function should avoid this medication. Anyone who has experienced suicidal tendencies or is prone to addictions should not take co-proxamol.


Paracetamol, one of the active ingredients in co-proxamol, is known to be toxic when taken in large quantities. Reports by the BBC indicate that intentional co-proxamol overdose resulted in up to 400 suicide deaths in England and Wales each year before the drug was cancelled. Because of the medication's toxic nature, accidental overdose is also a major concern and particularly when taken by elderly patients.

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About the Author

Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.