This information is provided by DAN 24/7 the All Wales Drug And Alcohol Helpline. Freephone 0808 808 2234      Click to Print This Page

Dihydrocodeine information from DAN 24/7

Common Names

DF's, DF118's, DHC, Diffs.

Scientific Names


Generic Name


Effects Of Dihydrocodeine

Desired Effects:

Euphoria, reduced anxiety, relaxation, pain relief.


Drowsiness, confusion, disorientation, nausea & sickness, itching and flushing of the skin, constipation.



Tolerance, accidents, overdose. As with codeine, intravenous administration should be avoided, as it could result in damage to veins and circulation, fluid on the lungs which can be very dangerous, and a serious allergic reaction that can result in death.


Physical and psychological Dependence with repeated use. Many dihydrocodeine preparations contain analgesics such as paracetamol, which in high doses can be toxic to the liver.

What it looks like

Dihydrocodeine is available usually as Tablets, and also as prolonged-release tablets, oral liquid, and sometimes in injectable ampoules for intra-muscular administration.

How does it work?

Semi-synthetic opioid analgesic. Central nervous system Depressant, Analgesic, cough suppressant.

Legal status

Tablets are Class B under the Misuse of Drugs Act, while injectable Ampoules are Class A. Prescription only medicine (small amounts of dihydrocodeine are in some medicines which can be bought without prescription from pharmacies).

How Is It Taken?

Tablets are swallowed orally. Dihydrocodeine does not dissolve in water and is therefore difficult to inject - users who have attempted crushing tablets to inject report a painful experience. Injectable ampoules are for intra-muscular injection only.


If injected, prepared ampoules, needle, syringe.

Medical uses

To treat moderate to severe pain as well as coughing and shortness of breath. Dihydrocodeine can be found in other medicines such as Co-dydramol and Paramol both of which also contain paracetamol.

Where does it come from?

This is a pharmaceutical drug which is sometimes diverted from manufacturers, pharmacies or GPs prescriptions.

Helping services

DF users can access support from 'street agencies' or projects, sometimes called community drug services or community drug teams, which offer a range of services including information and advice, counselling, detoxification and prescribing for opiate users, needle exchanges and sometimes support groups and other services such as acupuncture. Some may have extended opening hours and may be open at weekends. GPs and hospitals can make referrals to specialist drug services like Drug Dependency Units (DDUs). These are usually located in or adjacent to a hospital and specialise in helping problem drug users, especially people who are physically dependent. They provide counselling, detoxification, substitute prescribing and other treatments. Residential services offer treatment programmes for heavily dependent drug users who are trying to give up. Residents must usually be drug free on admission which means they usually have to undergo detoxification before entry. Programmes usually last 3-6 months, but some 12 steps programmes last longer. The types of programmes vary. Self help groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) co-ordinate local support groups for problem drug users around the country. Families Anonymous run similar groups for the families of drug users.

Parents & other relatives

Drug agencies also provide lots of advice and support to parents of people using these drugs. Many street agencies can provide relative support groups or counselling for family members, partners etc.

If you would like to talk about Dihydrocodeine problems then please call the DAN 24/7 Helpline on:

0808 808 2234

This information is provided by DAN 24/7 the All Wales Drug And Alcohol Helpline. Freephone 0808 808 2234      Click to Print This Page