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Talking WM sense.

Byline: claire claire

TYPE 'Syndol shortage' into Twitter and you'll find some desperate people.

For reasons not totally clear, the over-the-counter painkiller is no longer being stocked while the manufacturers deal with a licensing problem.

Cue casual users taking to the social networking site to share the pain.

I'm about to make a not very cool admission here, there are times I've suspected I may have my own little addiction to the things.

Syndol's my safety blanket.

I never go away on holiday without an emergency supply of those tiny yellow pills. I've yet to find a painkiller as good.

Occasionally I get these migraines that start right in the eyebrow (you know what I mean, Syndol lovers) and they're the only thing that does the trick.

My friend, another fan, describes the effect as "like having your brain massaged with cream".

Having a packet permanently in my handbag/ bathroom/drawer at work makes me feel safe - for a migraine at night I'll take two, I like the way they make me feel drowsy, my body almost shutting down as I lay in bed letting their power wash over me.

Should I be worried? Probably. In 2009, MPs warned addiction to over-the-counter painkillers was becoming a serious health problem, with more than 30,000 people in Britain possibly depending on drugs containing codeine, adding middle-aged women were most at risk, putting themselves in danger of liver dysfunction, stomach disorders, gallstones, constipation and depression.

The tweets continue from bad-headed people genuinely concerned they wouldn't be able to have their fix, from the "I need Syndol and I need it now..." moans to the lucky gloats from those who bulk-bought: "Water. Syndol. Blanket. Regina Spektor. #migrainecures."

I joke about my almost dependency but I get that it's not funny really.

Warnings now adorn the front of packs and accompanying patient information leaflets, stating: 'Can cause addiction. For three-day use only' but is anyone listening? The fact so many are bereft without those blue super packets suggest some of us have become more reliant than is healthy.

I've been popping my head around the door of the chemist when passing, going "any news?" as I spot the empty space on the shelf where my beloved pills used to sit.

"We called last Saturday 'Syndol Saturday'," said the dispenser last time I enquired, referring to the amount of times they heard the 'S' word, probably after some heavy Friday nights.

I've only had one big, painkiller-worthy headache since they went out of stock at the beginning of the year, and I don't take them more than every few months, I'm not too concerned.

But while the shortage could last six months as makers Reckitt Benkiser await a new product license - reportedly over the wording on the packaging, helplines have been offered for those really experiencing withdrawals.

I can cope without them - I'm just not sure I want my handbag empty of them, just in case, for too long.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 7, 2012
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