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- What is Vicodin, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for hydrocodone/acetaminophen?
- Is Vicodin available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for Vicodin?
- What are the side effects of Vicodin?
- What is the dosage for Vicodin?
- Is Vicodin safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about Vicodin?
What is Vicodin, 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)
What are the side effects of Vicodin?
Common side effects of hydrocodone/acetaminophen are:
Other important side effects include:
- 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.
What is the dosage for Vicodin?
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 Vicodin 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 Vicodin?
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).
Quick GuideChronic Pain Syndrome: Treatment and Management for CPS
Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Anexsia, Lortab, Lorcet, Lorcet Plus, Norco, Zydone) is a narcotic pain reliever and cough suppressant. Hydrocodone/acetaminophen is prescribed for moderate to moderately severe pain. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings, and precautions should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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Prevention & Wellness
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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