Norco

Uses

Norco contains a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is in a group of medicines known as narcotic pain relievers. Acetaminophen is a less potent analgesic that works to improve the effects of hydrocodone. Doctors recommend Norco to relieve moderate to severe pain. Norco is sometimes prescribed for short term pain due to an injury, dental work or surgery.

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Other, off label uses for this medicine

Physicians may recommend Norco for persistent or recurrent pain, like that associated with cancer, migraines or other chronic conditions. More Off-Label Uses for Norco

Administration/Dosage

Norco comes in two dosages: 7.5/325 and 10/325. This means each tablet contains 325 mg of acetaminophen and either 7.5 mg or 10 mg of hydrocodone.

Doctors prescribe Norco to be taken as needed for pain, so missed doses should not present a problem for treatment. If you forget to take a dose and are in pain, take a dose as soon as you can. Do not double up on doses in an effort to catch up.

If you have been taking Norco for a long period of time or have been taking high doses of this opioid, you may suffer withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication. Try weaning yourself off by increasing the amount of time between doses. Read More About Norco Administration and Dosage

Action

Hydrocodone binds to the receptor cells in the brain and nervous system, changing the way your brain perceives pain. Acetaminophen is a mild pain reliever and fever reducer. Acetaminophen works by blocking the production of prostaglandins, a substance that causes pain. More About How Norco Works

Precautions

Tell your doctor if you are allergic to Norco or any other medication. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice signs of an allergic reaction, including hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat. These are signs of a serious, life-threatening medical condition.

Your medical history may prevent you from taking Norco. Tell your doctor about your medical history, including:

  • Respiratory Conditions like Asthma, COPD or Sleep Apnea
  • Liver or Kidney Disease.
  • Underactive Thyroid.
  • A Stomach or Intestinal Disorder.
  • Curvature of the Spine.
  • Brain Tumor.
  • Seizures.
  • Head Injuries.
  • Low Blood Pressure.
  • Adrenal Gland Disorders, such as Addison's.
  • Mental Illness.
  • Drug or Alcohol Addiction.

Norco can impair your reasoning and ability to think clearly. Avoid actions that require you to be alert and awake, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. Do not engage in potentially risky behavior that requires you make quick decisions.

Do not consume alcohol while taking Norco. Drinking alcohol may worsen side effects associated with the acetaminophen in Norco, like increasing your risk for liver damage. Tell your doctor if you have ever had cirrhosis, sometimes called alcoholic liver disease. Notify your physician if you typically drink three or more alcoholic beverages each day. This drug can be habit-forming, especially if you take high doses or are on Norco for long periods of time. Tell your physician if Norco stops relieving your pain effectively. Do not take extra doses or take doses more frequently to relieve your pain, as taking high doses increases your tolerance and risk for dependency.

Norco can cause constipation. Drink six to eight full glasses of water each day to improve bowel movements. Talk with your doctor or nutritionist about how to increase your intake of dietary fiber, known to reduce constipation. Do not take laxatives without first consulting with your doctor.

Acetaminophen may cause false results for sugar in your urine. Tell your doctor or medical laboratory technician that you are taking Norco before submitting a urine specimen for analysis.

Notify your surgeon about your Norco. You may have to stop taking this medication before surgery.

Read More About Norco Precautions

Warnings

Stopping Norco use suddenly may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Whenever possible, wean yourself from Norco by taking smaller doses further apart. If you cannot comfortably stop using Norco, consult with your doctor or qualified in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center.

Be aware of how much acetaminophen you are taking each day with Norco and other medications. Do not exceed 4000 mg of acetaminophen in a 24 hour period. Read drug label warnings and be alert to products containing acetaminophen, sometimes listed as APAP. Norco may contain up to 325 mg of acetaminophen;

Hydrocodone and acetaminophen may pass into breast milk; do not breastfeed your baby while taking Norco. This drug may cause damage to your unborn child. Do not take Norco if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking this pain reliever. Taking this medication while pregnant may cause your infant to suffer breathing problems along with symptoms of dependency and withdrawal. Contact your doctor if your baby has symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms of neonatal withdrawal include:

  • Abnormal Sleep Pattern.
  • Diarrhea.
  • High-pitched Cry.
  • Irritability.
  • Shakiness or Tremors.
  • Weight Loss.
  • Vomiting.
  • Failure to Gain Weight.

More Warnings About Using Norco

Drug Interactions

Norco will add to the effects of any medicine that makes you drowsy or less alert, known as a CNS depressant. CNS depressants include antihistamines, cold and allergy medicines, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine. Talk with your doctor if you take other prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for seizures or barbiturates or muscle relaxants. Using Norco with anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics, is not recommended.

More Drug Interactions

Side effects

You may experience side effects ranging from moderate to severe while taking Norco. Seek immediate medical assistance if you experience serious side effects such as:

  • Shallow Breathing or Slow Heartbeat.
  • Light-Headedness, Fainting.
  • Seizures, Convulsions.
  • Confusion, Fear, Unusual Thoughts or Behavior.
  • Problems with Urination, Dark Urine.
  • Itching.
  • Jaundice or Yellowing of the Skin or Eyes.
  • Digestive Problems, such as Nausea, Upper Abdominal Pain, Clay-colored Stools.

You may experience less serious, more common side effects. Contact your doctor if these symptoms become acutely uncomfortable or if they don't disappear on their own:

  • Anxiety, Dizziness, Drowsiness.
  • Mild Digestive Discomfort, like Nausea, Vomiting, Upset Stomach, Constipation.
  • Headache, Blurred Vision.
  • Mood Changes.
  • Ringing in your Ears.
  • Dry Mouth.

Learn More About Norco Side Effects

Overdose

If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken an overdose of Norco, seek emergency assistance immediately. Telephone poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 or go directly to the nearest emergency room. While at the hospital, doctors and nurses perform emergency, life-saving treatments including activated charcoal, artificial respiration, fluids, laxatives, medicine to lower Norco levels in the blood, medicine to reverse the effect of the Norco. The first signs of an acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting or stomach pain. You may also experience sweating, confusion or weakness. Later, the symptoms may include pain in your upper stomach, dark urine and yellow skin or eyes.

Overdose symptoms may also include extreme drowsiness, pinpoint or tiny pupils, cold and clammy skin, extreme muscle weakness, fainting, weak pulse, slow pulse, unresponsiveness or coma, blue lips, shallow breathing, or no breathing at all. Learn More About Norco Overdose

Abuse

Norco is a Schedule II drug, which means it carries a significant risk for abuse and physical as well as psychological dependence. Pharmaceutical companies legally manufacture Norco for legal use as a pain reliever but recreational users get Norco through forged prescriptions, bogus prescription call-ins to pharmacies, "doctor shopping" and by stealing from pharmacies, family and friends. Norco should only be taken by the person for whom it was prescribed. Read More About Norco Abuse

Withdrawal

You might have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms after you stop taking Norco, especially if you have been using high doses or taking the opioid for a long period of time. Symptoms vary in intensity and duration. Withdrawal is a normal, predictable, physical sign of dependency. Withdrawal is not necessarily a sign of willful abuse. These withdrawal symptoms may prevent you from quitting Norco without medical assistance. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Stomach Cramps.
  • Anxiety.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea.
  • Runny Nose.
  • Sweating.
  • Tremors.
  • Trouble Sleeping.

Detox

Dependency and addiction to Norco is often difficult to overcome on your own, especially if you have been taking large doses or using these opioids for a long time. Fortunately, there are in-patient and out-patient treatment facilities where trained professionals can minimize withdrawal symptoms, detoxify your body and give you the tools you need to live drug-free. Detoxification, rehabilitation and counseling are effective therapies to treat addiction to Norco and other opiates.

Learn More About Norco Detoxification Programs

Storage

Keep Norco away from excessive heat and moisture. Do not keep this drug in your bathroom or car. Keep Norco where others cannot get to it, either accidently or on purpose. Keep Norco away from children and pets. Do not share Norco with others, especially with people who have a history of substance abuse. Count the number of Norco tablets regularly, taking note of any missing pills.

Read More About Storing Norco

Miscellaneous information

Norco is stronger than other combinations of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Norco contains less acetaminophen per tablet, which means that each tablet contains more hydrocodone. Less acetaminophen per tablet also means a patient may take the medication more often, as Norco poses less of an acetaminophen-induced risk for liver disease.