England vs. US - Pharmacological Differences

I know that mild doses of codeine are available OTC in England. I am also aware there is a stronger pain-killer known as Solpadeine that can be bought over the counter. What does it do?

I am going to London with a bad toothache, no time to see my dentist. What other pharmacological wonders can I take advantage of, in a responsible manner?

What’s legal in the UK that is out of the question in the US? I leave tomorrow for a business trip.

(I don’t smoke, drink, but my tooth does hurt…)

No one answered this when posted to another board…I hauled it over here.

What I find iss that much of the US over-the-counter stuff is more effective than what’s available in the UK - cold treatments and so on.

That said, codeine is indeed readily available in the UK. Codeine-bearing products include Solpadeine (SOLuble PARacetamol [that’s acetaminophen in the US] and codEINE), Paracodol (similar stuff), and Nurofen Plus (ibuprofen and codeine). Solpadeine is astonishingly good at pain relief, though I don’t really like the wooly feeling the codeine gives me - makes me a bit jumpy.

Dental care in the UK is pretty good and relatively inexpensive, so if you need a procedure while you’re there, you’ll be fine.

I’m sure that for most of the ‘Something Plus’ products, the Plus refers to caffeine not codeine.

Try the products that end in ‘ol’ - Paramol, Cocodamol and maybe one or two others that I can’t think of right now.

Solpadeine contains both codeine and caffeine (from here ) so it’s difficult to say which the “eine” refers to.


Sorry, Aussie Daniel, this is spurious information. First, “ol” doesn’t necessarily mean codeine: e.g. Paracetamol is just acetaminophen. So is Panadol.

Secondly - Nurofen Plus has the following constituents:

No caffeine there. Some of the “plus” painkillers might contain caffeine, but that certainly isn’t a rule.

Can’t you buy codine over the counter in the US? I believe you have to ask the pharmacist. You don’t need a prescription. Or maybe it is a similar type drug.

AFAIK you need a prescription for any codeine product in the U.S. Also you need to be able to tolerate funny looks from some pharmacists. Because if you use codeine, you must be a drug addict, of course. :rolleyes:

Which in fact could be true, Herman Goering was addicted to a mild paracodeine tablet. I read that somewhere but can’t remember in what.

So was the 60s folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie. She wrote quite a good song about her addiction, too (lyrics here).

I think the reason a lot of stronger drugs are available over the counter in Britain not just England, is because the NHS doesn’t like paying out all the time.

But to be honest you can be addicted to anything. I don’t see the point of not selling Codeine - I mean how do you guys live without the Precious. [joke]

jjimm said

Cold treatments? That’s a very wide range. I’ve never been to the US, but in Canada I can’t say I noticed much of a difference in the throat soothers, etc that were on offer. What I can say is that the childrens dosages in Britain are much, much stronger. My aunt, who is a nurse, was quite surprised when she returned to Britain and found she didn’t have to ‘overdose’ her kids in order to make them feel better :wink:

Federal law, and some states’ laws, permit pharmacists to dispense Schedule V narcotics like codeine without a prescription (at least this was true 10 years ago–I haven’t read the regs in quite some time). However, most pharmacists will not do so, even when allowed. If they get the reputation as easy dispensers, they get drug addicts hanging around the shop (there may be other reasons as well).

I just find a bit strange as whenever we hear of another US celebrity “addicted to painkillers” (something I have never heard happening in the UK), we are always told that over-the-counter stuff in the US is stronger and more habit-forming.

Is this incorrect? Are the celebrities (examples, IIRC, include Michael Jackson and Matthew Perry) getting prescription painkillers from another source instead of using over-the-counter stuff, liek we are lead to believe?

I don’t know if this is true in the States, but since Canada tends to follow the FDA in its decicions regarding pharmaceuticals, I would assume that the following is likely to be true.

Tylenol (acetaminophen) plus Codeine, often known as Tylenol 1, is available over the counter. It contains 300mg acetaminophen, 15mg of caffeine and 8 mg of codeine. I have a bottle of it in front of me as I type this - I bought it after my SO’s bike accident.

Tylenol 2, 3 and I think there exists a Tylenol 4, all need a prescription in order to obtain them. Heh, I also have a bottle ot T3 here, because of my SO’s surgery following the bike accident :slight_smile:

You should be able to obtain Tylenol 1 or a generic version at the pharmacists. I don’t know if there are legal issues with bringing it to the UK, but I would think not, since it appears that equivalent products are available there. Your pharmacist should know, or can direct you to someone who does.

The average American hears reports like that and thinks prescription medications, I’m almost entirely certain. Complaining to a doctor that the pain isn’t going away, asking for more refills, shopping doctors around to cover how many prescriptions you have, maybe getting pills from other people, etc. I simply can’t think of an OTC pain-killing medication that is that habit-forming and would be taken in that sort of fashion - we’ve got aspirin, acetominophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium… I’m probably forgetting something.

Ketoprofen (Orudis is the brand) may still be around. (Didn’t seem to offer much advantage over the others.) But I think that’s it for OTC NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) here in the U.S. AFAIK everything else is just a combination, and normally with something pretty tame, like cafeine, psuedoephedrine, antihistamines, etc.

Are you sure that Tylenol with even a low dose of codeine is available OTC here? I was under the impression that any level of codeine meant that a drug would be a controlled substance.

For cold treatment I don’t think Beechams powders can be beaten especially when taken with a medium…OK then, large glass of brandy :wink:

You are my Grandma and I claim my five pounds.