Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin

Drug Class: Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin > Hydrocodone > Semi Synthetic Opioid > Opioids > Opioid Agonist > Analgesic.

Uses

Hydrocodone and guaifenesin are used to treat cough and congestion associated with the common cold, flu or allergies. Learn More About Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin Uses

Other, off label uses for this medicine

A doctor may prescribe a combination medicine containing hydrocodone and guaifenesin, known as a polydrug, to relieve chronic cough from smoking or long-term breathing problems such as chronic bronchitis or emphysema.

More Off-Label Uses for Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin

Administration/Dosage

This extremely popular polydrug is sold under a great number of brand names, such as A-Cof DH, Canges-XP, Codiclear DH, Condasin, Cotuss V, Execlear, Extendryl HC, Hycotuss Expectorant, Hydrocod-GF, Kwelcof, Monte-G HC, Narcof, Pancof XP, Pneumotussin 2.5, Relasin-HCX, Touro HC, Tussicle, Tusso-DF, Vi-Q-Tuss, Vitussin Expectorant, Xpect-HC and Z-Cof HCX.

Hydrocodone and guaifenesin polydrugs are available as tablets, extended-release tablets, capsules, liquid and syrup forms.

Hydrocodone and guaifenesin preparations are available in a variety of strengths containing 90 mg to 1200 of guaifenesin and 5 mg to 20 mg of hydrocodone in each tablet, capsule or 5 ml of liquid or syrup. The typical dose of for adults calls for one to two regular-release capsules, tablets or tablespoons every four to six hours or one to two extended-release tablets every 12 hours. Read your prescription carefully and ask the prescribing physician or druggist for clarification if you do not understand the instructions.

Use an approved medicine dosing spoon or cup to measure liquid or syrup hydrocodone and guaifenesin. Do not use a household tablespoon as dosing errors may occur, such as inadequate dosing or overdosing. Get an approved measuring device from your drug store or pharmacist.

Take this medication with or without food; take with food if this polydrug upsets your stomach. Take hydrocodone and guaifenesin with a full glass of water.

Cough and cold preparations such as hydrocodone and guaifenesin are not shown to be effective for children under the age of six, and not recommended unless under the direct supervision of a pediatrician. Misuse of cough and cold preparations may even result in death in very young children.

To gain the most benefit from this medicine, take it on a regular schedule. If you miss a dose, take the skipped dose as soon as possible, unless it is nearly time to take another dose. Do not take more than the prescribed dose in an effort to catch up. Talk to your doctor if you frequently miss doses.

Tell the prescribing physician if this medication does not control your symptoms or if it stops working for you. Do not take larger doses in an effort to relieve your cough and congestion.

Read More About Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin Administration and Dosage

Action

Hydrocodone is a narcotic cough suppressant that works directly on the part of the brain responsible for the cough reflex, rendering the brain unaware of the need to cough. Guaifenesin is an expectorant. It works by watering down phlegm and mucus to make secretions easier to cough out. Hydrocodone and guaifenesin do not cure or shorten the duration of the common cold, flu or allergies; this polydrug acts only to relieve symptoms. More About How Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin Works

Precautions

An allergic reaction is a serious medical crisis that can deteriorate quickly into a life-or-death emergency. Seek immediate professional assistance at the first sign of an allergic reaction. Common symptoms of a mild allergic reaction include hives, especially over the face and neck, nasal congestion, itching, rashes and watery, red eyes.

It takes only one or two minutes for a mild allergic reaction to turn into anaphylaxis, a severe, sometimes fatal form of an allergic reaction. Generally speaking, the faster a mild allergic reaction turns to an anaphylactic one, the greater the likelihood anaphylaxis will be severe. Anaphylaxis can cause death within 15 minutes of contact with the allergen. Approximately 82,000 cases of anaphylaxis occur each year in the United States. People with asthma are at greater risk for anaphylaxis than are persons without this chronic respiratory problem.

Symptoms of a severe reaction include:

  • Abdominal Pain or Stomach Cramps.
  • Chest Discomfort or Tightness.
  • Difficulty Swallowing.
  • Dizziness or Light-Headedness.
  • Fear or Feeling of Apprehension or Anxiety.
  • Flushing or Redness of the Face.
  • Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea.
  • Palpitations.
  • Swelling of the Face, Eyes or Tongue.
  • Trouble Breathing or Wheezing.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Weakness.

Share your medical history with your doctor. Some illnesses change the way hydrocodone and guaifenesin work in your system. This medication may worsen your condition or interfere with treatment.

Tell your physician about any significant illnesses or conditions, including:

  • A Head Injury.
  • A Thyroid Disorder.
  • Addison's Disease.
  • An Enlarged Prostate.
  • Asthma.
  • Gallbladder Disease.
  • Kidney Disease.
  • Liver Disease.
  • Seizures or Epilepsy.
  • Urination Problems.

Hydrocodone and guaifenesin may make you drowsy or dizzy. Take care when operating heavy machinery or driving a car. Alcohol and some medications enhance this effect. Stand up slowly when rising from a chair or getting out of bed in the morning.

Hydrocodone and guaifenesin products are habit-forming. Reduce your risk for developing a drug habit by using all medications as directed. Stop using hydrocodone and guaifenesin polydrugs when directed by a doctor. Never take pain killers that are not prescribed to you by a doctor.

Read More About Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin Precautions

Warnings

Do not take hydrocodone and guaifenesin polydrugs for a productive cough. Hydrocodone reduces the brain's urge to cough; it is important to keep your lungs free from mucus. Contact your doctor if your cough produces yellow or green mucus.

The Food and Drug Administration classifies hydrocodone and guaifenesin as a pregnancy Category C, which means researchers have not yet established the harm taking this drug during pregnancy may impose on an unborn baby. Tell the prescribing doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this medicine. Contact your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while taking hydrocodone and guaifenesin. Hydrocodone passes into breast milk and onto a nursing baby. Do not breastfeed an infant while taking this polydrug.

Hydrocodone may cause physical dependence, even when used for a short while. Do not stop taking this medicine abruptly unless directed to do so by a physician. Sudden cessation may cause unpleasant, flu-like withdrawal symptoms. If you experience withdrawal when you stop taking hydrocodone and guaifenesin, wean yourself from this medication by taking increasingly smaller doses further apart.

More Warnings About Using Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin

Drug Interactions

Hydrocodone and guaifenesin may make you sleep or drowsy. Other medications may enhance this effect, including sleep aides, muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-seizure medications and narcotic pain relievers.

Tell the prescribing physician or pharmacist filling your prescription about all the drugs you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter, vitamins and herbal remedies. Hydrocodone and guaifenesin may interact with these other chemicals in unsafe or unfavorable ways. It is especially important that your healthcare provider and druggist know if you are taking antidepressants, including the name brands Elavil, Vanatrip, Limbitrol, Sinequan, Pamelor and others. Let your healthcare provider now if you use brand name products such as Donnatal, Cogentin, Dramamine, Robinul, Cantil, Pamine or Transderm-Scop. Tell your doctor if you are taking bladder or urinary medications such as brand name products Enablex, Urispas, Ditropan, Oxytrol, Detrol or Vesicare. Notify the prescribing physician if you use a bronchodilator such as brand names Atrovent or Spiriva, or the brand name irritable bowel medications Bentyl, Anaspaz, Cystospaz, Levsin, or Pro-Banthine.

More Drug Interactions

Side effects

Patients have reported side effects while using hydrocodone and guaifenesin polydrugs. Contact the prescriber if your common side effects are intolerable or if they don't go away on their own.

Common side effects include:

  • Blurred Vision.
  • Constipation.
  • Dizziness, Drowsiness.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Nausea or Vomiting.
  • Sweating.
  • Upset Stomach.

While most side effects are not serious, some can be serious or even life-threatening. Discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately if you experience any serious side effects, such as:

  • Confusion or Fear.
  • Feeling Like You Might Pass Out.
  • Seizure.
  • Slow Pulse.
  • Unusual Thoughts or Behavior.
  • Urinary Problems.
  • Weak or Shallow Breathing.

Learn More About Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin Side Effects

Overdose

According to the CDC, there were almost 48,000 prescription painkiller overdose deaths in the United States in 2008. In that year, more people died from prescription drug overdose than from heroin and cocaine overdoses combined. Almost half of all prescription painkiller overdose deaths involved the use of at least one other drug, such as heroin or cocaine. Alcohol is involved in many overdose deaths.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken too much hydrocodone, contact poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go to the emergency room.

Overdose symptoms include:

  • Cold and Clammy Skin.
  • Confusion.
  • Dry Mouth.
  • Extreme Drowsiness.
  • Fainting.
  • Muscle Weakness.
  • Nausea.
  • Pinpoint Pupils.
  • Seizure.
  • Slow Heart Rate.
  • Sweating.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weak or Shallow Breathing or Breathing that Stops.
  • Weak Pulse.

Learn More About Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin Overdose

Abuse

Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, more than 12 million Americans admit to using narcotics for non-medical purposes in 2010. Two million of these people used the drugs non-medically for the first time that year. This means they used opioids such as hydrocodone without a prescription or to get high. Almost all prescription drug overdose deaths were originally legally obtained with a prescription. About 55 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs such as hydrocodone got the drugs for free from a friend or relative, as compared to just over 4 percent of people who purchased opioids from a drug dealer. More than three out of four people who misuse prescription drugs abuse a medicine prescribed to someone else. The majority of these prescriptions were written by a minority of prescribers; roughly 80 percent of prescription pain killers are written by 20 percent of authorized prescribers.

Read More About Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin Abuse

Withdrawal

Healthcare specialists recognize withdrawal as a normal, predictable physiological effect of taking opioids. When you stop using hydrocodone and guaifenesin products, you may feel symptoms of withdrawal as your body chemistry stabilizes. Withdrawal symptoms vary between people; some experience mild withdrawal and are able to overcome drug dependence without professional help while acute withdrawal symptoms may prevent another from quitting hydrocodone. Talk with your doctor if you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using hydrocodone and guaifenesin. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Dilated Pupils.
  • Fast Heartbeat.
  • Goose Bumps.
  • Irritability.
  • Loss of Appetite.
  • Muscle or Bone Pain
  • Restlessness.
  • Runny Nose.
  • Shakiness.
  • Sweating.

Detox

Dependence on opioids is a complex medical condition requiring an equally sophisticated treatment plan to overcome. Successful drug abuse rehabilitation programs start with detoxification and cleansing the body from the effects of drug use. Doctors administer drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the level of opioids in the system. After you are physically stabilized, you can increase your chances of success by participating in counseling or other social services to address any family, social or legal issues that may have been the result of, or affected by, drug abuse.

Rapid detox accelerates the withdrawal phase and reduces recovery time to two to four days. During rapid detox, specially-trained physicians administer anesthesia and sedatives along with the standard cleansing and detoxifying drugs so that you sleep through the unpleasant withdrawal stage. When you awaken free from drugs, you will have no memory of withdrawal symptoms. Learn More About Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin Detoxification Programs

Storage

Keep hydrocodone and guaifenesin polydrugs at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Put of reach of children and pets. Do not allow adults to use this medication on purpose or by accident. Never share hydrocodone and guaifenesin products with others, even if their symptoms are similar to your own. Monitor the quantity of your medication and account for all doses. Hydrocodone is a favorite among drug abusers because of the way it gets them high.

Read More About Storing Hydrocodone, Guaifenesin