Codeine or tramadol for strong headaches - about the prescription painkillers

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 98
   Posted 10/19/2007 10:33 AM (GMT -6)   

I'd like to ask you about the analgesic drugs (pain-killers), you take when having a strong headache. I used to use some paracetamol (acetaminophen), metamizole or naproxen, but the aches I get (probably due to the Remicade treatment) are too strong. Even tramadol seems to be pretty weak drug for them.

So, what do you take for strong headaches? I've read on some other forum, that codeine is pretty good for them. And it has less interactions than tramadol.

However, it's available (in its pure form) only for prescription. I'd willingly find out if it's helpful. It can make the bowel activity slower, in addition, but some leaflet I've read warns to keep careful when using it in the UC... confused

Cheers :-)
My drugs (I've UC for a few years, if anybody was curious; autodiagnosed SA and depressive problems): mesalazine, azathioprine, infliximab, iron meds, vitamins (sometimes) & probiotics; the methylprednisolone therapy of several months if needed (then, protectively, potassium meds and omeprazole as well).
I worry about my liver and kidneys for the reasons above, I hope that unnecessarily.
I worry if anxiety problems (SA) could impact on the UC as well.
I have nothing more to say at the moment (I've already said very much for me...).

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 10/19/2007 11:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes, you need to be careful with any narcotic pain relievers since it can slow down the colon too much. I personally can't take codeine because it causes me migraines but before I had that sensitivity, I was able to take it with no trouble at all to my UC. Headaches are the worse! It seems that anyone just can't function with a headache. Just be careful of any of the anti-inflammatory pain meds because it can cause you to flare.

Left sided Uc -'92 - Colazal, Canasa, 6mp, Prilosec, Biotin, Forvia
Allergies - Singulair, Allegra, Astelin(got the script - just haven't tried it yet!)
Secondary Reynauds Syndrome - '04 - Norvasc
Fibromyalgia - '06 
@--->--Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC--<---@


Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 10/19/2007 1:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Are you sure your headaches are just headaches? Are they possibly migraines? Might be best to be evaluated by a doctor. That way you can look at meds that would work with your headaches and your UC.

My doc prescribed Midrin for my migraines. But I haven't needed it much since they fired the miserable project manager I had at work. I guess work was literally making me ill!
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
Asacol 12 per day,  Azathioprine 75mg, Rowasa and Canasa as needed
Aciphex, Effexor XR, BCP, Rhinocort nasal spray
Forvia and a Probiotic
Osteopenia (hip and spine) from prednisone use.  Started Azathioprine because I was steroid dependent.
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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 486
   Posted 10/19/2007 2:01 PM (GMT -6)   
As I posted here a week or so ago, I take actually Tylenol with Codeine to deal with UC flares. The constipating side effect of the drug is an absolute miracle for me and can stop a flare in about 2 weeks. I mention this because if you wind up sticking with Tylenol/Codeine, you may find that it helps more than just your headaches.

I know that others caution about codeine slowing the colon too much but I've discussed this with my doctor and apparently there's no worries for me. Perhaps that's not the case for everyone. I don't know.

Maybe you need to consult a neurologist for a better pain med for the headaches? But if you did that, I would try to get the neurologist to consult with your GI so that they aren't both treating you separately and in conflicting ways.

Good luck with this and let us know what works. I think we all go through a ton of trial and error with medications. And it's a pain in the ...
UC for the last ten years
Current Meds: 6MP
Past Meds: You name it; I've tried it.

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