Veganin tablets
Drug reviews

Veganin tablets: use, side effects & availability

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Veganin tablets are a pharmacy only (P) combination product containing three ingredients: paracetamol, codeine, and caffeine. As the name suggests, Veganin tablets are vegan and do not contain animal ingredients.

Veganin tablets: active ingredients

  • Paracetamol 500mg per tablet
  • Codeine phosphate 8mg per tablet
  • Caffeine 30mg per tablet

Apart from the addition of caffeine, Veganin’s composition of active ingredients is of standard Co-codamol, another pharmacy only medicine.

Veganin tablets: what are the indications for use?

Similarly to Co-codamol tablets, Viganin is licensed for the treatment of acute pain, which is not relieved by other analgesics like paracetamol and ibuprofen alone such as: 

  • headaches,
  • migraines,
  • period pains,
  • toothaches

Paracetamol and codeine are included in the Veganin’s formulation to relieve symptoms of the pain. A more detailed description of the mechanism of action of codeine can be found in the post: Can you buy Co-codamol Over The Counter

Caffeine can reduce fatigue, but more importantly, the addition of caffeine to paracetamol containing products can provide for better pain relief (Derry et al, 2014).

Veganin: common side effects

Side effects associated with taking paracetamol are not common. Rarely some patients may experience skin rashes.

Codeine, on the other hand, has a number of common side effects, including: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation 
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth 

Veganin: where to buy?

Veganin tablets are licensed as pharmacy only medication (P). P product can only be sold from a registered pharmacy including an online pharmacy. Many high street pharmacies sell Veganin including Tesco Pharmacy. Some pharmacies will be able to order Veganin tablets on an individual basis for the same or next day delivery. Speak to a member of a pharmacy team to check if this is possible.

 Veganin tablets: restrictions on the sale

In the UK, codeine-containing products have restrictions related to the sale of the products. The main restrictions are:

  • Licensed use:  over the counter codeine products should usually be considered as a second-line treatment when paracetamol and/or ibuprofen fail to control the pain
  • Only one box of co-codamol (including Veganin) can be sold to a patient at a given time
  • Codeine containing products should only be used for 3 days only and this must be a predominant message on the box of the product. This is due to possible addiction that codeine-containing products may cause.

How to find out if a medication is vegan?

Many tablets and most capsules are not vegan. This is because many drugs contain ingredients/excipients which are not vegan. Some common examples of non-vegan excipients include lactose and gelatin. Lactose, a bypass product of milk production, is commonly used in the production of many drugs as filler in tablet formulation. Gelatin is made from collagen taken from animal body parts is used in a capsule formulation.

However, there are more excipients than lactose and gelatine. The Vegan Society produced two very useful articles on vegan medicines: Is my medication vegan? and listed animal free medications.

To find out a list of excipients for any medication, patients can use the information on www.medicines.org.uk. Summary product characteristics (SPC) contains useful information generally used by healthcare professionals. Each SPC is formatted in the same way, providing information on all drugs licensed in the UK. Alternatively, a product information leaflet usually lists all excipients of a particular medication.

References:

Derry CJ, Derry S, Moore R (2014). Caffeine as an analgesic adjuvant for acute pain in adults. Available at: https://www.cochrane.org/CD009281/SYMPT_caffeine-analgesic-adjuvant-acute-pain-adults Accessed on 24/05/2019

I am a community pharmacist working in UK. I blog about drugs, health and pharmacy.

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