When Syndol isn’t Syndol anymore….

If you’ve ever used Syndol as a painkiller for headaches you’ll know it is *fucking ace* and that there is nothing else like it on the market.

Hence, the uproar when it disappeared two years ago….the woohoo when it briefly came back last year….and the uproar again when it disappeared.

Apparently, it is back on the market. But it isn’t the Syndol that I use to buy.

The anti-histamine in it, Doxylamine, has been removed, and the codeine has been reduced to 8mg, and caffeine added.

It is now paracetamol, codeine and caffeine.

It is still marketed as for “tension headaches”.

As someone who has suffered chronic headaches and migraine since a child, I have tried every over the counter painkiller. Like others, I beleive that there is no other painkiller like it. The closest other thing that works for me is Paramol. The dihyradcodeine in it is much gentler on my system than straight co-codomol, and I use to take one Paramol and one Syndol.

But, Syndol is different, and works, because of the wee dose of Doxylamine in it. Remove that, and all you have is a bog standard painkiller that is like everything else on the market. It is not worth the price tag. You might as well buy a supermarket brand paracetamol + caffeine, and add a generic co-codomol, and that costs pennies.

So, don’t get too excited to see Syndol back in the chemists.

It is hard to believe that something as simple as a generic anti-histamine could cause such problems or concerns in an over the counter medicine.

One thing, in addition, which concerns me, however, is that it is still marketing itself for “tension headaches”. I’m not buying that. Has the company actually completed any clinical tests to determine that it is EFFECTIVE for “tension headaches”? Or is it just assuming so because the previous incarnation was?

So, if you liked Syndol because of the Doxylamine, here is my advice: Import a bottle of generic Doxylamine and cut up the tablets into a smaller does. The Kirkland ones are good, although you need something like milk to take it with as they are chalky and get stuck in your throat. They come in 25mg doses, which is too much for daytime use, so you’ll need to cut them up.

But, here is a warning from someone who has done this: Doxylamine is a more powerful sedative than Valium in clinical tests. So, don’t take the full dose and get in your car. Until you know how you will react to them be very careful. However, sometimes in the evening if I have a bad headache I just take one 25mg tablet without any painkillers and that one tablet on its own can shift the headache.

Plus, you get a very nice nights sleep out of it.

But, basically, Syndol is not Syndol without the anti-histamine. Don’t waste your money.


Rapid mood swing: PNAS issues Expression of Concern for controversial Facebook study

For anyone tangling with ethics boards, a cautionary tale which highlights the importance of informed consent.

Retraction Watch

pnas 1113The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is subjecting a much-criticized study involving Facebook that it published just two weeks ago to an Expression of Concern.

From the abstract of the original study:

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Congratulations Austria…but shame on you BBC News

Austria’s Eurovision song was a well deserved winner but simply because it was the best song and performance on the night. That voice! Nothing more needs said.


Except, of course, if your are BBC News. Why do they feel the need to say “Austria’s bearded drag queen” won? Is that really necessary? Is was the winner looks like really of ANY importance? By doing that, the BBC are trying to point out that she is “different” in some way….do we really care? Are they trying to undermine her win by suggesting she won because she is a novelty act rather than that she had a great voice, a great song, and performed well on the night?


Mind you, did you hear the words in her song? BBC might be well advised not to piss her off, what with all those words about revenge….

The answer to the universe is 42 billion

Well, I was left with a physics conunundrum yesterday while watching an old Horizon on the universe.

The age of the universe is 13.7 billion years old.

But that is the observable universe. Didn’t stop them dropping the “observable” part half way through….

However, the diameter of the universe is at least 42 billion light years across….

My heed was spinning……I thought this was the most important thing mentioned, but how these two things, which to my inexperienced eye, seem to conflict, was never explained.

I had to google it.

Apparently, the space between galaxies, according to Einstein, can increase faster than light.

But, also, were does the 42 figure come from, if the observable universe is only 13.7? I guess there is some super duper maths calculation which PREDICTS it. So, it is theoretically 42 billion light years across. And, because of the speed of light thingy we can’t ever actually measure it to verify it.

And, I see a nice link with the Answer to the Universe…..

I was also left wondering about the sphere they showed of the universe….I know I’m being really silly, but what’s in the centre? Creme egg?