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400x170mm (LSN-CON-12) (L) V1

Package Leaflet: Information for the patient

DHC® Continus® 60 mg, 90 mg and 120 mg
prolonged-release tablets
Dihydrocodeine tartrate

Read all of this leaflet carefully before
you start taking this medicine because it
contains important information for you.
• Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it
• If you have any further questions, ask
your doctor or pharmacist.
• This medicine has been prescribed for
you only. Do not pass it on to others. It
may harm them, even if their signs of
illness are the same as yours.
• If you get any side effects, talk to your
doctor or phamacist. This includes any
possible side effects not listed in this
leaflet. See section 4.
What is in this leaflet:
1. What DHC Continus tablets are and what
they are used for
2. What you need to know before you take
DHC Continus tablets
3. How to take DHC Continus tablets
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store DHC Continus tablets
6. Contents of the pack and other

1. What DHC Continus tablets are and
what they are used for
These tablets have been prescribed for you
to relieve severe pain over a period of 12
hours. They contain the active ingredient
dihydrocodeine which belongs to a group
of medicines called strong analgesics or
The tablets may be taken by adults and
children aged 12 years and above.
2. What you need to know before you
take DHC Continus tablets
Do not take DHC Continus tablets if you:
• are allergic to dihydrocodeine or any of
the other ingredients of the tablets (listed
in section 6);
• have severe breathing problems such as
severe chronic obstructive lung disease,
severe bronchial asthma or severe
respiratory depression. Your doctor
will have told you if you have these
conditions. Symptoms may include

breathlessness, coughing or breathing
more slowly or weakly than expected;
• are having an asthma attack;
• have a severe heart problem after longterm lung disease (severe cor pulmonale);
• have a condition where the small bowel
(part of your gut) does not work properly
(paralytic ileus);
• are addicted to alcohol;
• have an intolerance to some sugars;
• are under 12 years of age.
Warnings and precautions
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before
taking these tablets if you:
• are elderly;
• have a severe headache or feel sick due
to a head injury or increased pressure
in your skull (for instance due to brain
disease). This is because the tablets may
make these symptoms worse or hide the
extent of a head injury;
• have breathing problems such as chronic
obstructive lung disease, bronchial
asthma or respiratory depression. Your
doctor will have told you if you have
these conditions. Symptoms may include
breathlessness, coughing or breathing
more slowly or weakly than expected;
• have an under-active thyroid gland
• have severe kidney problems;
• have liver problems;
• have constipation or obstructive bowel
• have inflammation of the pancreas (which
causes severe pain in the abdomen and
• have problems with your gall bladder or
bile duct;

• have an enlarged prostate gland, which
causes difficulty in passing urine (in
• have a heart problem after long-term lung
disease (cor pulmonale);
• are or have ever been addicted to
alcohol or drugs or have a known opioid
• need to take increasingly higher doses of
the tablets to gain the same level of pain
relief (tolerance).
Other medicines and DHC Continus
Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you
are taking, have recently taken or might take
any other medicines, including medicines
obtained without a prescription. If you take
these tablets with some other medicines, the
effect of these tablets or the other medicine
may be changed.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are
• medicines to help you sleep (for example
tranquillisers, hypnotics or sedatives);
• medicines to treat psychiatric or mental
disorders (such as phenothiazines);
• medicines to treat depresssion;
• medicines to treat anxiety;
• a type of medicine known as a
monoamine oxidase inhibitor (examples
include tranylcypromine, phenelzine,
isocarboxazid, moclobemide and
linezolid), or you have taken this type of
medicine in the last two weeks.
DHC Continus tablets and alcohol
Drinking alcohol during your treatment
with these tablets may make you sleepy. If
you are affected you should avoid drinking

Pregnancy and breastfeeding
If you are pregnant, think you may be
pregnant, or are planning to have a baby,
ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice
before taking these tablets.
If you are breastfeeding, do not take these
tablets until you have spoken to your doctor.
Driving and using machines
These tablets may cause a number of side
effects such as drowsiness, which could
affect your ability to drive or use machinery
(see section 4 for a full list of side effects).
These are usually most noticeable when
you first start taking the tablets or when
changing to a higher dose. If you are
affected you should not drive or use
This medicine can affect your ability to
drive as it may make you sleepy or dizzy.
• Do not drive while taking this medicine
until you know how it affects you.
• It is an offence to drive while you
have this medicine in your body over a
specified limit unless you have a defence
(called the ‘statutory defence’).
• This defence applies when:
• The medicine has been prescribed to
treat a medical or dental problem; and
• You have taken it according to the
instructions given by the prescriber
and in the information provided with the
• Please note that it is still an offence to
drive if you are unfit because of the
medicine (i.e. your ability to drive is
being affected).

Details regarding a new driving offence
concerning driving after drugs have been
taken in the UK may be found here:
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are
not sure whether it is safe for you to drive
while taking this medicine.
DHC Continus tablets contain lactose
These tablets contain lactose which is a
form of sugar. If you have been told by your
doctor that you have an intolerance to some
sugars, contact your doctor before taking
these tablets.
3. How to take DHC Continus tablets
Always take these tablets exactly as your
doctor has told you. The label on your
medicine will tell you how many tablets to
take and how often. Do not take for longer
than directed by your doctor. Check with
your doctor or pharmacist if you are not
Swallow your tablets whole with a glass of
water. Do not break, chew or crush them.
DHC Continus tablets are designed
to work properly over 12 hours when
swallowed whole. If a tablet is broken,
crushed or chewed, the entire 12-hour
dose may be absorbed rapidly into your
body. This can be dangerous, causing
serious problems such as an overdose,
which may be fatal.
You should take your tablets every 12 hours.
For instance, if you take a tablet at 8 o’clock
in the morning, you should take your next
tablet at 8 o’clock in the evening.


400x170mm (LSN-CON-12) (L) V1

Adults and children over 12 years of age
The usual starting dose is 60 mg to 120 mg
every 12 hours. If you are elderly your doctor
may suggest a lower starting dose. Your
doctor will prescribe the dose required to treat
your pain. If you find that you are still in pain
whilst taking these tablets, discuss this with
your doctor.
Use in children
Children under 12 years of age should not
take the tablets.
If you take more DHC Continus tablets
than you should or if someone accidentally
swallows your tablets
Call your doctor or hospital straight away.
People who have taken an overdose may
feel very sleepy, sick or dizzy. They may
also have breathing difficulties leading to
unconsciousness or even death and may
need emergency treatment in hospital. When
seeking medical attention make sure that you
take this leaflet and any remaining tablets with
you to show the doctor.
If you forget to take DHC Continus tablets
If you remember within 4 hours of the time
your tablet was due, take your tablet straight
away. Take your next tablet at your normal
time. If you are more than 4 hours late, please
call your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a
forgotten tablet.
If you stop taking DHC Continus tablets
You should not suddenly stop taking these
tablets unless your doctor tells you to. If
you want to stop taking your tablets, discuss
this with your doctor first. They will tell
you how to do this, usually by reducing the

dose gradually so you do not experience
unpleasant effects. Withdrawal symptoms
such as agitation, anxiety, shaking or sweating
may occur if you suddenly stop taking these
If you have any further questions on the use of
this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
4. Possible side effects
Like all medicines, these tablets can cause
side effects, although not everybody gets
All medicines can cause allergic reactions,
although serious allergic reactions are
uncommon. Tell your doctor immediately
if you get any sudden wheeziness, difficulties
in breathing, swelling of the eyelids, face,
lips or throat, rash or itching especially those
covering your whole body.
The most serious side effect is a condition
where you breathe more slowly or weakly
than expected (respiratory depression). Tell
your doctor immediately if this happens to
As with all strong painkillers, there is a risk
you may become addicted or reliant on these
Taking a painkiller for headaches too often or
for too long can make your headaches worse.
Common side effects (May affect more than
1 in 100 people)
• Constipation (your doctor can prescribe a
laxative to overcome this problem).
• Feeling or being sick (this should normally
wear off after a few days, however your
doctor can prescribe an anti-sickness
medicine if it continues to be a problem).

• Drowsiness (this is most likely when you
start taking your tablets or when your dose
is increased, but it should wear off after a
few days).
• Dry mouth, abdominal pain or discomfort.
Uncommon side effects (May affect fewer
than 1 in 100 people)
• Diarrhoea, a condition where the bowel
does not work properly (paralytic ileus).
• Mood changes, unpleasant or
uncomfortable mood.
• Headache, confusion, a feeling of unusual
weakness, tiredness, generally feeling
• Hallucinations.
• Blurred vision.
• A feeling of dizziness or ‘spinning’,
seizures, fits or convulsions.
• Tingling or numbness.
• Low blood pressure.
• Decreased sexual drive.
• Difficulty in passing urine.
• Flushing of the skin.
• Rash or itchy skin.
• Shortness of breath.
• Sweating.
• A need to take increasingly higher doses
to obtain the same level of pain relief
• A worsening in liver function tests (seen in
a blood test).
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your
doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes
any possible side effects not listed in this
leaflet. You can also report side effects
directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at: By reporting
side effects, you can help provide more
information on the safety of this medicine.

5. How to store DHC Continus tablets
Keep these tablets out of the sight and reach
of children.
Do not use the tablets after the expiry date,
which is stated on the carton and blister after
‘EXP’. The expiry date refers to the last day
of that month e.g. EXP 08 2020 means that
you should not take the tablets after the last
day of August 2020.
Do not store your tablets above 25ºC.
Do not throw away any medicines via
wastewater or household waste. Ask your
pharmacist how to throw away medicines
you no longer use. These measures will help
protect the environment.
6. Contents of the pack and other
What DHC Continus tablets contain
The active ingredient is dihydrocodeine
tartrate. Each tablet contains 60 mg, 90 mg or
120 mg of dihydrocodeine tartrate.
The other ingredients are:
• Lactose
• Hydroxyethylcellulose
• Cetostearyl alcohol
• Magnesium stearate
• Talc
What DHC Continus tablets look like and
the contents of the pack
The tablets are white, capsule shaped and
marked DHC followed by the strength
(e.g. 60, 90 etc.).
In each bottle there are 56 tablets.

Marketing Authorisation Holder and
The tablets are made by
Bard Pharmaceuticals Limited for the
marketing authorisation holder
Napp Pharmaceuticals Limited, both at
Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road,
Cambridge CB4 0GW, UK.

This leaflet is also available in large print, Braille or as an audio CD.
To request a copy, please call the RNIB Medicine Information line
(free of charge) on:

0800 198 5000
You will need to give details of the product name
and reference number.
These are as follows:
Product name: DHC Continus prolonged-release tablets
Reference number: 16950/0019
This leaflet was last revised in January 2016
® DHC, Continus, DHC Continus, NAPP and the NAPP logo are registered trade marks.
© 2009 - 2015 Napp Pharmaceuticals Limited.

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Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.