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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?
- What drugs or supplements interact with 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.
What drugs or supplements interact with Vicodin?
Patients receiving other narcotics, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antianxiety agents, or other CNS depressants (including alcohol) concomitantly with NORCO may exhibit an additive CNS depression. When combined therapy is contemplated, the dose of one or both agents should be reduced.
Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions
Acetaminophen may produce false-positive test results for urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid.
Is Vicodin safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of hydrocodone and acetaminophen in pregnant women.
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).
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Related Disease Conditions
Liver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
Acute injuries, medical conditions, and chronic use conditions are causes of knee pain. Symptoms and signs that accompany knee pain include redness, swelling, difficulty walking, and locking of the knee. To diagnose knee pain, a physician will perform a physical exam and also may order X-rays, arthrocentesis, blood tests, or a CT scan or MRI. Treatment of knee pain depends upon the cause of the pain.
Low Back Pain (Lumbar Spine Pain)
There are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common cause for painful legs that typically eases with motion, and becomes worse and more noticeable at rest. This characteristic nighttime worsening can frequently lead to insomnia. Treatment of the symptoms of restless leg syndrome is generally with medication as well as treating any underlying condition causing restless leg syndrome.
Tylenol Liver Damage
Tylenol liver damage (acetaminophen) can occur from accidentally ingesting too much acetaminophen, or intentionally. Signs and symptoms of acetaminophen-induced liver damage may include: nauseau, vomiting, kidney failure, bleeding disorders, coma, and death. Acetaminophen is a drug contained in over 200 OTC and prescription medications from NyQuil to Vicodin. Avoiding unintentional overdoses include reading medication labels, write down the dosages of medications you are taking, do not drink excessive alcohol while taking acetaminophen. In severe cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.
Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)
Coccydynia is an inflammation of the bony area (tailbone or coccyx) located between the buttocks. Coccydynia is associated with pain and tenderness at the tip of the tailbone between the buttocks. Pain is often worsened by sitting. There are many causes of tailbone pain that can mimic coccydynia including: fracture, pilonidal cysts, infection, and sciatica. Treatment methods include medication and rest.
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. Though treatment for neck pain really depends upon the cause, treatment typically may involve heat/ice application, traction, physical therapy, cortisone injection, topical anesthetic creams, and muscle relaxants.
A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as: compressed, open, stress, greenstick, spiral, vertebral compression, compound, and comminuted. Symptoms of a broken bone include pain at the site of injury, swelling, and bruising around the area of injury. Treatment of a fracture depends on the type and location of the injury.
Pain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain. Some causes of neuropathic pain include: complex regional pain syndrome, interstitial cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. There are a variety of methods to treat chronic pain, which are dependant on the type of pain experienced.
Chronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
Rotator Cuff Tear and Injury
Rotator cuff injury is damage to any of the four tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Shoulder pain and tenderness are common symptoms. Rotator cuff disease treatment depends on the severity of the shoulder injury.
Whiplash is a common injury to a person's neck following a car accident (in most cases). Symptoms include headache, neck pain, neck and shoulder stiffness, shoulder pain, fatigue, dizziness, jaw pain, arm pain, weakness of the arm(s), visual disturbances, and tinnitus. Diagnosis is generally with a physical exam, X-rays, or possibly an MRI. Treatment generally includes physical therapy and time.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Back Pain FAQs
- 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)
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- Oxycodone vs. Tramadol for Pain
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- Oxycodone for Pain (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, Roxybond)
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Drug Interactions
- Cyclobenzaprine vs. Norco (hydrocodone acetaminophen)
- Hydrocodone vs. Hydromorphone (Differences between Side Effects)
- Acetaminophen vs. Ibuprofen for Pain (Differences in Side Effects and Dosage)
- Percocet vs. Lortab
- codeine (for Pain)
- Oxycodone vs. Hydrocodone
- Lyrica (pregabalin) vs. Norco (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- Side Effects of Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
- Pain Medications (Narcotics)
- Tussigon (hydrocodone)
- Zohydro ER (hydrocodone)
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.
FDA Prescribing Information
Content for drug interaction section courtesy of U.S. Food and Drug Administration