Codeine Taper Plan

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Who are Codeinefree?

Codeinefree is a not for profit group set up in September 2005 to help people with codeine dependency.  It’s primary focus is threefold:

1) Provide non judgemental help, information and advice to people with a codeine dependency

2) Provide access to healthcare professionals who understand

3) Raise the profile and awareness of codeine dependency to the general public and medical profession


What is a taper plan?

A taper plan (or slow taper) is a way of coming off codeine which minimises the withdrawal side effects.  This method offers quite a high success rate if you have a low to medium daily intake of tablets.  If however, you have a high daily intake, you might want to consider substitute therapy that your GP can assist you with.


Working out your plan

All you need to do is to work out your average daily intake of tablets. Start by asking yourself “Is this the minimum I can take?” For example, if you take 15 tablets/day ask yourself if you could start on 10 or 12. Also give consideration on how quickly or slowly you want to taper down. You could drop one tablet a week, ½ tablet twice weekly or ½ tablet per week.  Decide on what you are comfortable with.

An example plan:

You take 8 tablets a day and want to reduce at the rate of 1 tablet/week:

Week 1 – 8 tablets per day

Week 2 – 7 tablets per day

Week 3 – 6 tablets per day

Week 4 – 5 tablets per day

Week 5 – 4 tablets per day

Week 6 – 3 tablets per day

Week 7 – 2 tablets per day

Week 8 – 1 tablets per day

Week 9 – Codeine Free!

Note, this is a generalisation and you need to give consideration to what you are taking when working out your plan e.g. if you are taking two products then you need to consider your total your daily intake.


Tips and Advice

  • Set yourself a realistic target
  • Consider swapping to cheaper generics as these will save you money
  • Don’t cheat-this will make your next reduction much harder
  • Remember, you are not alone!