sbw30mgc.jpg
400 mg paracetamol + 30 mg codeine

sbwdhcod.jpg
500 mg paracetamol + 10 mg dihydrocodeine

I woke up with a migraine yesterday morning, so I decided to call a
couple of pharmacies and see what they have. Pharmacy #1 only has
Panadeine, an obscene preparation containing 500 mg of
paracetamol/acetaminophen/APAP (they all refer to the same thing) plus
a decidedly meager 8 mg of codeine. Pharmacy #2 doesn’t sell any
restricted drugs, apparently codeine is “restricted drug” to them.
Pharmacy #3 sounds too good to be true – I called them and they said
they have two codeine preparations. The first one is Paralgin Forte and
when I asked about the exact concentrations, the answer nearly made me
drop the phone in surprise – 200 mg of paracetamol + 30 mg of codeine.
That sounds very nice indeed! =D Excuse me, I meant to say that it
sounds like that would do help with my migraine very well indeed. The
other one they have is an unknown tablet that contains 500 mg of liver
destroying paracetamol + 10 mg of dihydrocodeine. I told them I will be
down in an hours time. :)

sbwcp.jpg
I had to write what that myself…

sbwdhcp.jpg
Same here…

Well, I went there with my gf and Anna later and yes, it was too
good to be true. The Paralgin Forte contains 400 mg of paracetamol
instead of the 200 mg they told me over the phone. Nevertheless, 400 mg
is better than 500 mg, so I bought a couple of them. They go for 60
cents each, which about 30 cents Australian. Anyway, just so I won’t
have to convert all the time:

RM 1 = A$ 0.50
A$1 = RM 2
Basically, half the RM (Ringgit Malaysia) prices for the Australian equivalent.

10mgdhcs.jpg
Dihydrocodeine tablets with RM 0.50 and A$ 0.50.

I bought 10 of the Paralgin Forte tablets for a nice 300 mg of
codeine. They cost 60 cents each, which I think is pretty cheap for a
tablet that has 30 mg of codeine. It is interesting to note that the
bottle says Codeine Phosphate 1 1/2 H20 – 30 mg. What’s with the 1 1/2
H20? Does it mean that codeine is soluble in 1 1/2 amounts of water or
does it mean something else? Pharmaceutical aficionados, I would appreciate it if you could shed some light here.

30mgcsiz.jpg
Codeine tablets with RM 0.50 and A$ 0.50.

sbwdhcb.jpg
Dihydrocodeine – front

sbwdhcf.jpg
Dihydrocodeine – back

Anyway, the other one they have contains 500 mg of paracetamol and
the inferior dihydrocodeine tartrate, which I haven’t tried before.
There’s only 10 mg of dihydrocodeine to the whopping 500 mg of
paracetamol, so ah…I think I might need to get some coffee filters next
time I have a migraine and have some cold water handy. ;)

Well, the photographs of the photos are actually quite funny. I walked in, and this conversation ensued:

Me: Hello, I called just now regarding the migraine tablets?
Pharmacist: Oh yeah, I remember, let me just get the bottles.
She comes out with two large bottles, each containing 1000 tablets – nice…
I examined the bottles for a while and asked for 10 Paralgin Forte
tablets (60 cents each so that makes it RM 6) and 16 dihydrocodeine
tablets (RM 1 for 4 pills, so that makes it 16 pills to round the total
up to RM 10).

Me: This is going to sound like a strange request, but do you mind if I take a photo of the bottles before you put them away?
Pharmacist: That is indeed the strangest thing I’ve ever heard!
I’ve never had a customer make that request before. Why do you want
photos of the bottles?
Me: Well, I have a personal interest in these things.
This is the truth, but it’s the “wrong answer” when doing pharmacy
runs/doctor shopping. Sometimes, being economical with the truth is the
better policy as you can see below.

Pharmacist: *looks doubtful* Okay, I guess that wouldn’t do any harm, so go ahead.
I take photos of both the bottles.
Me: Hey thanks, I really appreciate you going out of your way to help me out.
Pharmacist: No problems…can I ask you a question? Are you taking them yourself?
Me: I am aware of the abuse potential of these things, I would only take them if I have a really bad migraine.
Pharmacist: That’s good to hear. You know, this is actually a
prescription item, so I’m not actually supposed to sell it to you
without one.
Me: I see. I appreciate that you would go out of your way to help me, I hope this doesn’t get you into any trouble.
Pharmacist: Nah, it’ll be alright, but it’ll be better if you
have a prescription before coming in next time. You can have these
today though.
Me: Thanks again, I appreciate your help. You have a nice day okay? Take care.
Pharmacist: Have a nice day.

I reckon it was that interest in taking photos of the bottle that
made that “SCRIPTER!!! SCRIPTER!!!” flashing light go off on my head. I
wasn’t scripting, I really did have a migraine, but yeah, add this bit
to the Tome of Doctor Shopping – don’t appear too interested in the
medications you’re trying to acquire. It’s normal to ask about side
effects etc but it’s not to start breaking out with the digicams and
asking permission to take photos of bottles inside a pharmacy, all the
while focusing on the 30 mg codeine part. Take care everyone.

para30f.jpg
Paralgin Forte – front.

Remember, pharmaceuticals are fun! :)

para30b.jpg
Paralgin Forte – back.

P/S – SWIM consumed 4 tablets for a total of 120 mg codeine and
1,600 mg paracetamol (yuck), with benzodiazepines and had a very
positive experience, although the most common side effect (not itching,
the other one) was very strong. That person says that he only truly
appreciated codeine this time, and actually nodded off (he does not
have opiate tolerance at all) for a very pleasant experience, except
for the side effects. He might be writing a trip report in the near
future. Please do not mix benzodiazepines and codeine, that person had
a very responsible trip sitter.

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