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What is Norco?

Norco is an opioid prescription medication under the category of controlled substance made up of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. The mixture of these medicines comes in both oral tablet and oral solution form. The oral tablet is available with the brand name Norco. It consists of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

Hydrocodone works by linking to the mu-opioid receptor. The working of acetaminophen is still not transparent, but it may involve blocking or causing hurdles in the creation of prostaglandins. Doctors may recommend it following an injury or a major surgery or treat other types of severe pain like cancer or arthritis. Hydrocodone comes with various warnings due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. 

Important Information

Components of Norco (acetaminophen and hydrocodone) can cause a severe allergic reaction, and its symptoms may include hives, rash, itching, trouble breathing, swelling of your throat or tongue. Hydrocodone can slow down or stop your breathing. Never take medications like Norco in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Opioid pain medicine like Norco may be habit-forming, even after taking it regularly. 

What to know before taking Norco?

Misuse of narcotic medication like Norco can cause overdose, addiction, or death, especially in a child or someone taking it without a prescription. Do not take Norco if you were taking an MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks. It may lead to a dangerous drug interaction. MAO inhibitors include linezolid, isocarboxazid, rasagiline, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and selegiline. 

Interaction of some medicines with Norco can cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Ensure that your medical healthcare provider knows if you are taking any medication for:

  • Depression
  • Mental illness
  • Migraine headaches
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Serious infections
  • Prevention of nausea and vomiting

You should avoid using Norco if you are allergic to hydrocodone or acetaminophen (Tylenol) or recently using tranquilizers, alcohol, sedatives, or other narcotic medications. 

How to take Norco?

Take Norco precisely as per the doctor’s prescription. Follow all the instructions on the medication guides, prescription labels, or instruction sheets. Never use Norco in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than prescribed. Overdose of this medicine can cause liver damage or death. Tell your doctor if the treatment is not working efficiently in relieving your pain. 

If you need any medical test or surgery:

  1. Tell the doctor that you are using this drug. Your doctor may recommend stopping using this medicine for a short time.
  2. Do not suddenly stop taking Norco after long-term use; otherwise, you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
  3. Take your doctor’s advice on how to stop using Norco safely.

You must check the form and strength of the medication before you take it. Norco is available in oral tablet form in the following strengths:

Norco dosage

Your Norco dosage will depend upon your age, your response to the initial phase of treatment with Norco, your medical condition, other medical conditions you have, and other medications you take.

Usual adult dosage (18 years and older and weighing at least 46 kg or 101 pounds) for moderate to severe pain:

  • 2.5 mg or 5 mg hydrocodone/ 300 mg or 325 mg acetaminophen- usual initial dose is a tablet or two within every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The maximum amount is eight tablets per day.
  • 10 mg or 7.5 mg hydrocodone/ 325 mg or 300 mg acetaminophen- the usual initial dose is one tablet within 4 to 6 hours as needed. The maximum amount for a day is six tablets.   

Your doctor may recommend you to get naloxone and keep it with you all the time. Anyone can purchase naloxone from a local health department or a pharmacy. 

Overdose

In case of overdose, take urgent 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, slow or no breathing. 

What to avoid while using Norco?

Avoid consumption of alcohol because it may raise your liver damage risk while taking acetaminophen. 

Norco may cause impairment in your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving a vehicle or operating anything until you know the effect of Norco on your body. Dizziness or drowsiness (severe) can cause accidental falls or severe injuries. 

Norco side effects

Norco may make you feel dizzy, sleepy, or lightheaded. Avoid driving a vehicle or using heavy machinery until you know how your body will react to this medication. Norco’s common side effects may include nausea, constipation, vomiting, feeling dizzy, sleepiness, or drowsiness. 

Immediately contact your doctor if you have severe side effects. Call 911 if you feel your alarming symptoms are life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency. Severe side effects may include:

  • Lightheadedness;
  • Shallow breathing, sighing, noisy breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
  • Seizures;
  • Unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • Easy bleeding or bruising;
  • Confusion;
  • Sexual problems, loss of interest in sex, impotence;
  • Missed menstrual periods, infertility;
  • Low cortisol levels- vomiting, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, worsening weakness or tiredness;
  • Liver problems- upper stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite, itching, clay-colored stools, dark urine, jaundice; or
  • High serotonin level- agitation, fever, hallucinations, fast heart rate, sweating, shivering, twitching, muscle stiffness, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of coordination. 

It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. For further information regarding side effects, contact your medical healthcare provider. You may report it to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What drugs can interact with Norco?

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking another allergy, pain, cold, or sleep medication. Taking several products together may increase acetaminophen’s level in your body, leading to a fatal overdose. Check the medicine label to see if it contains acetaminophen or APAP. 

You may have withdrawal symptoms or breathing problems if you start or stop using specific medicines. Norco can interact with various drugs and cause deadly or dangerous side effects. 

Ensure to tell your doctor if you also use cold or allergy medicines, a sedative like Valium, or other narcotics. It is not a complete list of drugs that may interact with Norco, including prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, herbal products, or vitamins.