So codeine is a beautiful thing but it gives with one hand and takes with the other….
I only starting taking it on the second day and was taking 30mg up to six times a day. It was working well and I was aware of the potential for constipation but had had it before and it had never been a problem (I didn’t realise that I’d only been taking 8mg previously). On leaving the hospital the nurse advised me that it would be a good idea to get some lactulose to counteract the codeine and get me on an even keel.
After two days of codeine (Day 4) it was starting to be a bit of a struggle going to the toilet. I’m a pretty regular kind of guy so this was a big change so I started cracking on with the lactulose. My wife had previously taken lactulose following the birth of our children as she had to have one or two codeine tablets to get over the minor pain of child birth (nothing compared to a knee op supposedly). At first it hadn’t worked and so she asked the nurse if she could up the dose to get things moving to which the nurse replied that it wouldn’t be a problem and advised to take what she needed. On day 4 I decided to take a similar approach and took ‘what I needed’ with the hope it would get things moving. This equated to taking approximately 5 doses as opposed to the recommended 3. Everything was going ok until around 22.00ish when my stomach started to rumble, I thought this was a good thing. At first the movements were slow and steady but that was the calm before the storm. The lactulose then took over and it and once it started it didn’t really stop and I was up every couple of hours all through the night!
I’ve continued to take the codeine and the side effects are still the same but I’ve now eased off the lactulose and taken enough to keep things moving at about the right rate. I think the lesson I’ve learned is to stick to the recommended dose and I should have started as soon as I started taking the codeine rather than letting that it take control first.