Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Dihydrocodeine


Last updated on 02/07/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Dihydrocodeine



DRUG CLASS: Analgesics, Antitussives

SUB CLASS: Opioid Analgesics

USED FOR: Moderate to severe pain, dry cough

– 30 mg (tablets)
– 15 mg/5ml (oral solution)
– 10 mg/5ml (syrups)

What is Dihydrocodeine for?

Dihydrocodeine belongs to a class of medications called opioid analgesics. It works by inhibiting nerve signal transmission of pain in the brain and nervous system. It is used for severe pain management for which alternative treatments are inadequate. Dihydrocodeine has cough suppressing effects and is sometimes found in cough medicines, for example cough syrups.

How to use it?

Dihydrocodeine is taken orally as a tablet, an oral solution or a syrup, after food. Dihydrocodeine tablets should be swallowed whole with a drink of water.

Moderate to severe pain
30 mg every 4-6 hours as required.

Child 12-17 years
30 mg every 4-6 hours.

Child 4-11 years
0.5-1 mg per kg body weight every 4-6 hours, and should not exceed 30 mg per dose.

Child 1-3 years
500 mcg per kg body weight every 4-6 hours.

What are the side effects of Dihydrocodeine?

Common side effects of Dihydrocodeine include constipation, dizziness and drowsiness, dry mouth, euphoric mood, flushing, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting (more common on initiation), respiration depression (with high dose). Like all opioid medications, people can become tolerant or addicted to Dihydrocodeine, which can result in withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop the medicine.

Who should not take Dihydrocodeine?

– People allergic to Dihydrocodeine or any component of the formulation.
– People with a history of alcohol or drug dependence.
– Patients with respiratory depression, serious bronchial asthma or gastrointestinal obstruction.

Pharmacist Tips:

– Note that opioids have the potential to be addictive and you can become tolerant over time.
– Tell your doctor if you experience severe side effects, such as difficulty breathing.
– Do not stop the medication abruptly if you have used Dihydrocodeine over long periods of time.
– Eat more high-fibre foods, drink more water and do more exercise to reduce the side effect of constipation.
– It is best to avoid alcohol while taking Dihydrocodeine.

Common dosing schedule:
Dihydrocodeine may be used every 4-6 hours or as required. Take Dihydrocodeine after food with a drink of water.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Dihydrocodeine may interact with:
– Antidepressants, e.g. Amitriptyline, Doxepin
– Antipsychotics, e.g. Aripiprazole, Risperidone, Olanzapine
– Benzodiazepines, e.g. Lorazepam, Midazolam
– Antihypertensives, e.g. Atenolol, Verapamil
– Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, e.g. Isocarboxazid, Selegiline

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Dihydrocodeine in Hong Kong?

IIn Hong Kong, Dihydrocodeine is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Dihydrocodeine in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.