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What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone, available in the market under the brand name Zohydro ER is an opioid medication. It is beneficial in treating prolonged severe or moderate pain if other measures are insufficient. Typically it is sold in combination with acetaminophen or ibuprofen and is available in a long-acting formulation. 

Extended-release forms of Hydrocodone are Zohydro ER and Hysingla ER, useful in the around-the-clock treatment of severe pain and helpful as a cough suppressant in adults.

Hydrocodone is for oral intake. It passes through the digestive system before feeling its effects on your health. It starts showing its result within an hour. 

This drug functions by binding to the mu-opioid receptor. It works in your brain to block pain signals and decreases the ability to feel pain.

The combination of Hydrocodone with acetaminophen leads to the formation of Norco

Important Information

Hydrocodone comes with several warnings due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. It comes with various signs due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. Suppose you keep consuming this drug for longer and build up a tolerance to this drug. Here, it may take longer to feel relief from the pain.

Never share an opioid medicine like Hydrocodone with someone else, especially someone with a history of substance use disorder such as drug overuse or alcohol addiction. Misuse of Hydrocodone can cause addiction, overdose, or death. 

Interaction of some medicines with an opioid-like Hydrocodone may lead to serotonin syndrome, a severe health condition. Tell your medical health care professional if you already take drugs for depression, migraine headaches, mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, serious infections, or to prevent nausea and vomiting.

What to know before taking Hydrocodone?

Before taking Hydrocodone, ask your medical healthcare provider if you are allergic to it or if you have:

  • Asthma (severe);
  • Breathing problems; or
  • A blockage in the stomach or intestines

To ensure Hydrocodone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you ever had:

  • Sleep apnea;
  • Breathing problems;
  • Drugs or alcohol addiction;
  • Mental illness;
  • Urination problems;
  • A head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
  • Liver or kidney disease;
  • Gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid problems; or
  • Long QT syndrome (a heart rhythm disorder)

Do not use it during pregnancy because it may lead to the birth of a drug-independent baby. It may lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby. An opioid-dependent baby may need medical treatment for several weeks.

Do not breastfeed while taking this medicine. If the Hydrocodone passes into breast milk, it may cause breathing problems, drowsiness, or death in a nursing baby.

How to take Hydrocodone?

Take this medicine orally as per your doctor’s prescription. You may take Hydrocodone with or without food.

If you have nausea, then you should take it with food. Ask medical health care providers about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for an hour or two with minimum head movement). 

Swallow the whole extended-release pill rather than crushing, chewing, or opening it to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose.

Do not suddenly stop taking Hydrocodone after long-term use, or you may face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Take the doctor’s help to stop using this medicine safely. 

Store Hydrocodone away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Keep track of your medication.

Be aware of someone misusing your drug or taking it without a prescription. Dispose of the leftover opioid medication. Just one accidental or improper use of this medicine can cause death. 

Hydrocodone dosage

Your hydrocodone dosage will depend upon your age, medical condition, and response to the initial treatment.  Usual adult dosage for chronic pain: as first opioid analgesic and people who are not opioid-tolerant.

  • Initial dose (Zohydro ER)- 10 mg orally every 12 hours
  • Initial dose (Hysingla ER)- 20 mg orally every 24 hours.

Hydrocodone Overdose

In case of overdose, take medical help or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. A hydrocodone overdose can be deadly, especially in a child or someone taking it without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include pinpoint pupils, severe drowsiness, and slow or no breathing.

Your doctor may recommend you get naloxone with you all the time. Naloxone is a medicine that reverses an opioid overdose, and you can purchase it from any pharmacy or a local health department. 

What to avoid while using Hydrocodone?

  • Avoid consumption of alcohol because it could cause dangerous side effects or death. 
  • Avoid driving or performing any hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Drowsiness or dizziness can cause accidental falls or severe injuries.

Hydrocodone side effects

Hydrocodone can cause vomiting, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, constipation, or drowsiness. Some of these effects may decrease after using this medicine for a while. Tell your medical health care professional if any of them persist or worsen. 

Tell the doctor immediately if you have any of the following severe side effects:

  • Interrupted breathing during sleep;
  • Mental changes or mood swings such as confusion, agitation, hallucinations;
  • Difficulty urinating;
  • Seizure (or convulsion);
  • Fainting;
  • Slow or shallow breathing;
  • Difficulty waking up (severe drowsiness);
  • Stomach or abdominal pain; or
  • Signs of inefficient working of adrenal glands such as unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, weight loss

Any severe allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, take medical help if you notice any signs of a severe allergic reaction, including:

  • Severe dizziness;
  • Rash;
  • Trouble breathing; or
  • Itching or swelling in your face, throat, lips, or tongue.

It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Call your medical health care professional for medical advice regarding side effects. Report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What drugs can interact with Hydrocodone?

You may face breathing problems or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you start or stop taking particular medications.

Tell your medical healthcare provider if you also use an antifungal drug, antibiotic, seizure (or convulsions) medication, heart or blood pressure medicine, or any HIV or hepatitis C treatment. 

Hydrocodone Vs. Codeine

Hydrocodone and Codeine are both opioids, so they are likely to work similarly. They are among the most widely prescribed and effective pain medications that function by altering an individual’s perception of pain. But they are prescribed for different types of pain.

Codeine is usually prescribed for mild to moderately severe pain.

Hydrocodone is a comparatively more potent opioid for moderate to moderately severe pain. Your doctor or pharmacist may ask you to take any of these drugs alone or in combination with specific other medications.

Hydrocodone and Codeine are prescription drugs, so let your medical healthcare professional decide which one is best for you. Their decision may depend upon your symptoms and the type of your pain.

Tramadol Vs. Hydrocodone

Tramadol and Hydrocodone are both potent opioid medications that help treat pain. But Tramadol is a synthetic opioid, while Hydrocodone is only partially synthetic. They are available only by prescription due to their addictive components.

Tramadol acts alone on the blood receptors and kills pain, while Hydrocodone comes in combination with acetaminophen for pain relief.

The acetaminophen works to raise the pain threshold, and then only Hydrocodone can flood the opioid receptors and reduce the pain sensation.

A higher dose of Tramadol (or Ultram) is required to treat the same amount of pain as the low dose of any other drug containing Hydrocodone.

Due to its high potential, Hydrocodone is more addictive than Tramadol and is more likely to cause physical and psychological dependence.

Hydrocodone and alcohol

A combination of Hydrocodone and alcohol can result in liver malfunctioning or severe injury in the liver. Several combination drugs that contain Hydrocodone are federally controlled due to the risk of abuse and addiction.

Drinking alcohol with Hydrocodone or any other drug containing acetaminophen with Hydrocodone can result in acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity, also called toxic liver disease.

Chronic alcohol use can lessen the threshold for liver toxicity, even at prescribed doses. So, it would be best for individuals to discuss any personal or family history concerning alcoholism or substance use disorder with the medical healthcare professional before taking any medication containing Hydrocodone.

FAQs

Q1. Can you snort Hydrocodone?

Yes! You can snort Hydrocodone, but it can cause a faster and potentially more dangerous high in several situations. Effects of snorting hydrocodone can come on strong, but in most cases, they will last for a short period and start wearing off sooner than the regular oral intake.

The extended-release formulations of the drugs containing Hydrocodone are frequently abused by snorting. The most troublesome and potentially dangerous effects of snorting hydrocodone can include nausea and uncontrollable vomiting, inconsistent breathing patterns, lack of coordination, coma, or worsening mental health symptoms (such as confusion, agitation, and hallucinations).

Q2. Can you take Benadryl with Hydrocodone?

No, doctors suggest not to take Benadryl with Hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is a partially synthetic opioid that helps treat pain in combination with other drugs, such as acetaminophen.

While Benadryl (or diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine that helps treat allergies, insomnia, common cold, nausea, and tremors in parkinsonism.

Using Benadryl with Hydrocodone may increase the side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and trouble concentrating. Some people, especially older adults, may also experience impaired thinking, reactions, judgments, and motor coordination.

Q3. How long does Hydrocodone stay in the system?

Hydrocodone is more likely to stay in the system for a shorter duration than other drugs it is combined with. It stays in the saliva only for the first 12 to 36 hours after the last use. Urine tests can trace Hydrocodone for 2 to 4 days, while hair tests are more effective and can detect Hydrocodone for 90 days.

Q4. Can you take Hydrocodone and ibuprofen together?

Yes! Hydrocodone and ibuprofen are used to relieve acute pain when other pain medications fail to work efficiently, or it is challenging for you to tolerate them.

But the pain should be severe enough to require opioid treatment. Also, Hydrocodone and ibuprofen should only be used for a shorter duration, usually for less than ten days.