hydrocodone/acetaminophen, Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Anexsia, Lortab, Lorcet, Lorcet Plus, No

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    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow

What is hydrocodone/acetaminophen, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Hydrocodone is a narcotic pain-reliever and a cough suppressant, similar to codeine. Hydrocodone blocks the receptors on nerve cells in the brain that give rise to the sensation of pain. Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). Acetaminophen works by elevating the threshold to pain, that is, in order for pain to be felt, greater stimulation of the nerves responsible for the sensation of pain is necessary. It reduces fever through its action on the temperature-regulating center of the brain. Frequently, hydrocodone and acetaminophen are combined to achieve pain relief, as in Vicodin and Lortab. The FDA approved Vicodin in January 1983.

What brand names are available for hydrocodone/acetaminophen?

Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Lortab, Lorcet, Lorcet Plus, Norco, Zydone, Hycet, Maxidone, Stagesic, Verdrocet, Xodol, Zamicet, Zolvit and Anexsia (discontinued brand)

Is hydrocodone/acetaminophen available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for hydrocodone/acetaminophen?

Yes

What are the side effects of hydrocodone/acetaminophen?

Common side effects of hydrocodone/acetaminophen are:

Other important side effects include:

  • drowsiness,
  • constipation, and
  • spasm of the ureter, which can lead to difficulty in urinating.

Hydrocodone can impair thinking and the physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery. Hydrocodone can depress breathing, and should be used with caution in elderly, debilitated patients and in patients with serious lung disease.

Hydrocodone may be habit forming. Mental and physical dependence can occur but are unlikely when used for short-term pain relief.

Acetaminophen can cause severe liver failure if excessive amounts are used and when combined with chronic alcohol use or other drugs that also impair liver function.

Quick GuideChronic Pain: Causes and Solutions

Chronic Pain: Causes and Solutions

What is the dosage for hydrocodone/acetaminophen?

The usual dose for adults is 1 to 2 tablets or capsules (hydrocodone 2.5 to 10 mg; acetaminophen 300 to 750 mg) every 4 to 6 hours or 15 mL of liquid every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

Is hydrocodone/acetaminophen safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies of hydrocodone and acetaminophen in pregnant women.

Hydrocodone/acetaminophen is excreted in breast milk, and, therefore should be used cautiously by nursing mothers.

What else should I know about hydrocodone/acetaminophen?

What preparations of hydrocodone/acetaminophen are available?

Tablets, capsules and liquid. Among the many brands the dose of acetaminophen ranges between 300 and 750 mg, and the dose of hydrocodone ranges between 2.5 and 10 mg.

Vicodin was recently reformulated, and the acetaminophen component was reduced to 300 mg in all preparations, however, generic formulations may still contain 500 and 750 mg of acetaminophen.

How should I keep hydrocodone/acetaminophen stored?

Hydrocodone/acetaminophen should be stored at room temperature, between 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

Quick GuideChronic Pain: Causes and Solutions

Chronic Pain: Causes and Solutions

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Reviewed on 12/5/2014
References
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information

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