- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- 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.
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).
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.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Back Pain Quiz: Test Your Back Pain IQ
There are numerous causes of chronic lower back pain and only one ailment gets more complaints. What is it? Quiz your knowledge...
Addicted to Pills: The Health Risks of Drug Abuse
What is drug abuse? Learn about prescription drug abuse and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, including depressants, pain relievers,...
Related Disease Conditions
Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)
Coccydynia is an inflammation of the bony area (tailbone or coccyx) located between the buttocks. Coccydynia is associated with...
Liver Disease Symptoms, Signs, Treatment, and Life Expectancy
Liver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high...
Lower Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae,...
Neck Pain (Cervical Pain)
Neck pain (cervical pain) may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. Tenderness is another symptom of neck pain....
Acute injuries, medical conditions, and chronic use conditions are causes of knee pain. Symptoms and signs that accompany knee...
Restless Leg Syndrome (Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Medications, Home Remedies)
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common cause for painful legs that typically eases with motion, and becomes worse and more...
Tylenol Liver Damage
Tylenol liver damage (acetaminophen) can occur from accidentally ingesting too much acetaminophen, or intentionally. Signs and...
Chronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to...
Pain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive...
Whiplash is a common injury to a person's neck following a car accident (in most cases). Symptoms include: headache, neck...
Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures)
A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as: compressed, open, stress, greenstick,...
Rotator Cuff Disease
Rotator cuff disease is damage to any of the four tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Shoulder pain and tenderness are...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Back Pain FAQs
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Drug Interactions: Know Ingredients, Consult Your Physician
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Pain (Acute and Chronic)
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- Acetaminophen vs. Ibuprofen for Pain (Differences in Side Effects and Dosage)
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- Pain Medications (Narcotics)
- codeine (for Pain)
- Oxycodone vs. Tramadol for Pain
- Drug Interactions
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Hydrocodone vs. Hydromorphone (Differences between Side Effects)
- Oxycodone vs. Hydrocodone
- Oxycodone for Pain (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, Roxybond)
- Percocet vs. Lortab for Pain
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- Lyrica (pregabalin) vs. Norco (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)
Prevention & Wellness
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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.
FDA Prescribing Information