- Generic Name or Active Ingridient: Hydrocodone
Norco contains hydrocodone, a powerful painkiller. Hydrocodone is an opioid drug, made from derivatives of the opium poppy plant. Doctors prescribe Norco to treat moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone is the most widely prescribed drug in the United States; in 2010, American pharmacists filled more than 139 million prescriptions for Norco and other products containing hydrocodone.
Most people take Norco as directed but about 5 million Americans use painkillers for non-medical use every year, meaning they take it to get high or to treat a different condition than the one the doctor had intended to treat when she wrote the prescription. Nearly 10 percent of Americans use hydrocodone for non-medical reasons. Non-medical use of Norco increases the risk for developing side effects, complications and dependence on opioids.
The hydrocodone in Norco works like other opioids to relieve pain and cause other neurological and physical effects. Hydrocodone interacts with the nervous system to change the way the brain perceives pain signals. Hydrocodone also causes other neurological reactions, including sedation, relaxation and a pleasant feeling of euphoria. Very high doses and long-term use cause other, more permanent neurological and physiological changes that affect the way a person thinks, acts, and behaves in a way that renders him unable to work, take care of obligations or relate to others on a coherent, personal level.
When someone uses Norco regularly for more than a few weeks, his body becomes accustomed its presence. Eventually, his body grows dependent on a certain level of hydrocodone to feel normal - he becomes opioid-dependent. Anyone who uses Norco regularly for therapeutic or non-medical reasons can become dependent on opioids. When his hydrocodone levels fall quickly, the opioid-dependent body struggles with the drastic chance in body chemistry. Doctors refer to this as detoxification.
The patient experiences Norco detoxification through uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms begin a few hours after the last dose of Norco and continue for several days. Left uninterrupted, withdrawal symptoms disappear as the body completes the detoxification process and do not return unless the patient again becomes opioid-dependent. Norco detoxification leaves the patient’s body in an opioid-free state.
Norco detoxification addresses the physical aspects of opioid dependence but it does not change the behaviors that bring the patient back to drug abuse - a person is likely to benefit from rehabilitation that teaches him how to live without drugs. Rehabilitation frequently includes counseling and behavior modification that help the patient identify situations that could result in drug abuse and give him the tools to refuse drugs when offered.
Norco detoxification facilitates the patient’s entry into rehabilitation and helps him remain in treatment long enough to reverse some of the physical and neurological changes caused by chronic drug abuse. Treatment improves the patient’s ability to think clearly, hold a job and maintain personal relationships. Norco detoxification promotes abstinence and reduces the frequency and severity of drug use episodes when they do occur.
Types of Detox
Almost 2 million Americans are dependent on Norco or other opioids and need detoxification to achieve an opioid-free state but only about 10 percent of these people got help in a specialty facility, such as an inpatient hospital, a mental health center or an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation clinic. Everyone else engaged in self-help, worked with a private physician, got treatment through an emergency room or detoxified while incarcerated in jail or prison.
These are all viable choices. Norco dependence and detoxification are highly personal conditions; each person become opioid-dependent in a unique way and every patient will take a different path to achieving an opioid-free state. One person may have be opioid-dependent for a few weeks as the result of prescription Norco use and will require no help during detoxification, for example, while stubborn withdrawal symptoms prevent another from quitting Norco after years of use.
Doctors often recommend patients wean themselves from Norco. The patient takes a smaller dose each day, just enough to ward off withdrawal symptoms.
Stubborn withdrawal symptoms prevent some people from tapering Norco. These individuals may try quitting cold turkey by discontinuing Norco abruptly. This sudden cessation causes severe withdrawal symptoms.
Some people use natural remedies to strengthen their bodies or ease withdrawal symptoms during Norco detoxification. Acupuncture, meditation, yoga and massage help relax the patient and herbs like ginger or peppermint relieve nausea while cayenne or chamomile curb diarrhea.
Many people develop a home treatment plan including prescription and non-prescription drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms. Others download treatment plans, like The Thomas Recipe, from the Internet. The Thomas Recipe calls for a benzodiazepine, such as Xanax or Librium, to relax the patient along with Imodium for diarrhea, vitamin B for muscle aches and L-Tyrosine for energy.
Many patients respond to medication-assisted treatment for Norco detoxification using opioid or non-opioid drugs administered through inpatient or outpatient facilities. Doctors working at inpatient facilities prescribe a variety of safe and effective non-opioid drugs to ease the many withdrawal symptoms associated with Norco detoxification and monitor patients closely.
Physicians working in outpatient clinics prescribe opioid replacement drugs, such as methadone or buprenorphine, to control withdrawal symptoms as the patient weans himself from Norco. Sometimes outpatient care providers recommend methadone or buprenorphine as parts of a drug maintenance program, where the individual remains on methadone or buprenorphine for months or years while participating in rehabilitation. The patient eventually weans himself from methadone or buprenorphine.
Someone might try outpatient detoxification, using methadone or buprenorphine to ease withdrawal symptoms while he weans himself from Norco. This patient will usually start out on a high dose during the early induction phase and gradually reduce the dosage of methadone or buprenorphine during the tapering phase.
German scientists first synthesized methadone in 1939, intending to use it as a pain reliever. Physicians worldwide still prescribe methadone as an analgesic today. In the early 1960ss, researchers realized weak doses of methadone stopped withdrawal symptoms in heroin addicts. In 1964, doctors developed methadone as a response to an epidemic of heroin use sweeping across New York City. In 1972, the FDA approved the use of methadone as part of a maintenance plan for opioid dependence.
Today, about 100,000 Americans use a methadone maintenance program. Patients come to an outpatient clinic each day to drink a beverage containing methadone. The effects of one dose last 24 to 36 hours. A methadone maintenance program delays Norco detoxification and does not produce an opioid-free state; the patient must someday wean himself from methadone or participate in methadone detoxification.
Other patients use methadone as a way to “step down” from opioid use, starting out on a high induction dose and lowered doses through the tapering phase. Using methadone in this way does result in an opioid-free state once the patient successfully weans himself from methadone.
A patient can use buprenorphine either as a drug maintenance program or to reduce withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process. The patient places a buprenorphine tablet under his tongue where it dissolves. There is no set tapering schedule but some people can complete detoxification in as little as one week, spending the first one to three days in the induction phase and tapering during days four through seven.
Suboxone and Subutex
Some people abuse buprenorphine intravenously by dissolving the tablet before injecting it into a vein. Drug makers discourage this abuse by adding naloxone. When taken as directed under the tongue, naloxone has very little effect. When injected intravenously, however, naloxone neutralizes the effects of buprenorphine. Intravenous buprenorphine administration not only prevents someone from getting high, it causes withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent people.
Many people benefit from the structure and support of inpatient Norco detoxification because it offers cutting-edge medications and the closest medical supervision possible of all forms of treatment. These inpatients receive multiple non-opioid medications for the variety of withdrawal symptoms associated with Norco detoxification along with around-the-clock care to prevent complications and improve treatment outcomes.
Inpatient Norco detoxification benefits anyone who has a documented history of not engaging in, responding to, or benefiting from less restrictive forms of treatment. Inpatient care is also appropriate for anyone who needs extra help refraining from drug abuse during the detoxification process.
Inpatient Norco detoxification is strongly recommended for those who is at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms or complications and for those with pre-existing conditions or co-existing substance abuse issues that could make outpatient care unsafe.
Inpatient Norco detoxification is necessary for anyone recovering from a drug overdose or who cannot otherwise receive treatment safely in an outpatient setting. Inpatient care is appropriate for any individual with psychiatric problems that prevents him from participating in outpatient treatment or that may cause him to be a danger to himself or to others, including anyone suffering from acute psychosis or depression with suicidal thoughts.
Rapid Opiate Detox
Rapid opiate detox is appropriate for anyone who wishes to achieve an opioid-free state without suffering the painful and demoralizing withdrawal symptoms that can interfere with treatment. Rapid detox offers complete detoxification without discomfort. Rapid detox patients receive anesthesia and sedatives prior to the usual detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs, so patients rest in a comfortable “twilight sleep.” Patients awaken a few hours later, renewed and refreshed.
Our detox center: Who we are and what we do
We are board-certified anesthesiologists and other medical professionals who treat our patients as humans, not as drug addicts. We have helped thousands of patients complete the detoxification process since opening the doors of our fully accredited hospital more than a decade ago.
First, we prescreen patients for pre-existing conditions that can undermine success then we create an individualized treatment plan according to the patient’s personal needs. Our rapid detox patients enjoy complete detoxification in just a few hours. After we stabilize their condition, patients may continue treatment in our aftercare facility.
Every form of Norco detoxification has its advantages and disadvantages. Without the costs of medications or professional guidance, self-detoxification is the least expensive form of treatment but without anti-withdrawal drugs or medical care, self-detoxification is associated with the highest risk for severe withdrawal symptoms leading to complications.
Outpatient care is better than self-detoxification because it includes medications and professional guidance, reducing the risk for complications. However, outpatient care is often lengthier than self-detoxification or inpatient Norco detoxification, sometimes lasting for weeks or months. Some patients remain on methadone maintenance programs for years, sometimes for the rest of their lives. The average length of stay for detoxification is 4 days, compared with 197 days for medication-assisted therapy.
Inpatient care provides complete detoxification, optimal control over withdrawal symptoms and the closest monitoring for complications possible. Inpatient detoxification offers the highest completion rates of any forms of detoxification with about 66 percent of patients completing inpatient detoxification, compared to only 49 percent of outpatients who use methadone or other opioids to wean themselves from Norco.
Rapid detox offers the most humane and efficient approach to Norco detoxification. Rapid detox causes the fewest and least severe withdrawal symptoms of any other form of detoxification. Rapid detox brings the body to an opioid-free state, and does not use replacement drugs. Rapid detox is the fastest, most efficient type of Norco detoxification available today, providing complete detoxification in as little as one to two hours.
Detox Possible Complications
While Norco detoxification is not normally a life-threatening procedure, severe and prolonged withdrawal symptoms can result in dangerous complications. Underlying conditions, co-existing substance abuse problems, pregnancy, and chronic or severe Norco abuse increases the risk for serious complications, especially without prescreening, anti-withdrawal medications and close patient supervision.
Relapse is the primary complication associated with Norco detoxification. A patient may relapse to stop the painful withdrawal symptoms during Norco detoxification, or return to drug abuse after completing detoxification because he does not yet know have the skills to identify situations that can lead to drug abuse or know how to refuse drugs when offered.
Relapse increases the risk for fatal overdose. Detoxification reduces the person’s tolerance to Norco, making him more sensitive to the effects of opioids. This increased sensitivity makes it possible for someone to overdose on a smaller dose of Norco than he used to take before experiencing even minor withdrawal symptoms. Overdose from Norco and other opioid analgesics like this drug claimed the lives of 14,800 Americans in 2008, killing more people than overdose from cocaine and heroin combined.
Self Detox Possible Complications
Patients may be unable to wean themselves from Norco by taking successively smaller doses - lingering or persistent withdrawal symptoms prevent many people from tapering Norco.
Without anti-withdrawal drugs, patients who try to quit cold turkey can suffer prolonged and severe withdrawal symptoms resulting in dangerous complications. For example, excessive vomiting or diarrhea can cause dehydration and imbalances in sodium, potassium and other electrolytes. Norco detoxification can increase blood pressure, pulse and sweating that can worsen underlying heart conditions. Detoxification also causes anxiety that can aggravate pre-existing anxiety disorders or cause pain to return in patients who take Norco to control discomfort associated with a chronic condition, such as cancer or arthritis.
Outpatient Care Possible Complications
Patients may have a hard time quitting methadone or buprenorphine, remaining on these opioid replacement drugs for months, years or even a lifetime.
Deaths among methadone users are up in recent years. Even though methadone accounts for only 2 percent of the prescription painkiller market, it is associated with one-third of opioid pain reliever deaths. The rate of fatal overdose is increasing; in 2009, there were 5.5 times as many deaths associated with methadone as there were in 1999.
Most of those deaths were associated with methadone abuse. Buprenorphine abuse is also a major complication of outpatient care.
Inpatient Detox Possible Complications
Although inpatient care offers maximum protection from withdrawal symptoms, an inpatient may still suffer complications. Many patients participate in inpatient care because they anticipate complications associated with withdrawal from multiple substances, especially alcohol, benzodiazepines, sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs.
Rapid Detox Possible Complications
Rarely, a patient may suffer an allergic reaction or complication associated with the drugs used in rapid detox procedures. For example, a patient may experience bruising, swelling or infection at the anesthesia injection site. High doses of sedatives can cause problems with breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.
Despite decades of scientific research and the clinic experience of real-life doctors and patients, myths prevent many people from getting the professional help they need to complete the Norco detoxification process. Exposing the truth about Norco detoxification makes the process easier and safer.
Self Detox Myths
Myth: Anyone can perform self-detoxification at home.
Fact: Withdrawal symptoms, underlying conditions and co-existing substance abuse problems prevent many people from discontinuing Norco without professional help.
Myth: Prescription and non-prescription drugs make home remedies like The Thomas Recipe safe and effective.
Fact: Combining prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause dangerous drug interactions. Only a trained physician has the medical background and legal power to prescribe safe, effective medications for Norco detoxification.
Outpatient Detox Myths
Myth: It would be more cost-effective to toss drug abusers in jail than to provide treatment. It is cheaper to imprison drug abusers than to provide methadone.
Fact: A year of methadone costs only $4,700 per patient whereas that same year of imprisonment would cost about $24,000 per prisoner.
Myth: Methadone rots your bones.
Fact: Inadequate methadone doses may cause bone ache, a symptom of methadone withdrawal.
Inpatient Detox Myths
Myth: Norco detoxification is a waste of time because of very high relapse rates associated with drug abuse.
Fact: Norco dependence is a chronic condition and, like other chronic conditions, is marked by periods of relapse and remission. Relapse rates for drug addiction are similar to those of other chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma.
Myth: Treatment wastes money.
Fact: A community saves between $4 and $7 in reduced drug-related crime rates, criminal justice costs and theft for every dollar spent on treatment. Add in healthcare savings and this yield leaps to $12 gained for every dollar spent.
Rapid Detox Myths
Myth: Pain and humiliation are important to treatment for opioid dependence in that they serve as punishment for bad behavior.
Fact: Suffering is never an appropriate part of any treatment plan for a medical condition. In fact, uncomfortable and demoralizing withdrawal symptoms prevent many patients from completing the detoxification process or engage in meaningful rehabilitation. Rapid detox is the most humane approach to medical detoxification in that patients doze comfortably for a few hours rather than struggle for days.
Myth: Complete detoxification takes days or weeks.
Fact: It takes a reputable expert one to two hours to perform rapid detox.
Detox and Pregnancy
Opioid-dependent women are at high risk for certain medical disorders, including anemia, blood infections, hepatitis, infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. These disorders can cause complications during pregnancy, including hemorrhage and uncontrolled bleeding, inflammation or separation of the tissues shared between the mother and baby, slow fetal growth, spontaneous abortion, premature labor and delivery, and fetal death.
Methadone reduces these complications in pregnant women. Currently, methadone maintenance is the only approved approach to treating opioid dependence in pregnant women. A baby born to a woman taking methadone during pregnancy will remain under close observation in the hospital for 72 hours after delivery so that staff can monitor the baby for complications or neonatal withdrawal symptoms.
Self Detox and Pregnancy
Self-detoxification may be dangerous for pregnant women. A pregnant woman should consult with her doctor before attempting self-detoxification.
Outpatient and Pregnancy
A pregnant woman can start methadone as an outpatient. The clinic will start her on 10 to 20 mg of methadone and increase dosages until they find a dose that prevents withdrawal symptoms, with a maximum daily dose of 60 mg of methadone. Women may require stronger doses towards the end of pregnancy to control withdrawal symptoms.
Inpatient and Pregnancy
A pregnant woman may start methadone maintenance as an inpatient in a hospital where doctors can evaluate her condition and monitor her baby’s response to treatment through fetal monitoring. This stay usually lasts about three days before the woman continues methadone maintenance as an outpatient.
Opiate detox symptoms
Norco withdrawal symptoms usually appear in two waves. Initially the patient may feel anxious or agitated and he might have trouble sleeping. His muscles will ache, he might have watery eyes and a runny nose, and he may sweat or yawn profusely. Later, the patient may develop a stomachache, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea. His pupils may dilate and his goose bumps may appear on his skin.
What is the best method to detox from this drug?
The best method of Norco detoxification depends largely on the patient’s personal needs. She should choose the least restrictive form of treatment that is still likely to provide safe and effective care. The patient must assess her own ability to refrain from drug use; her choice in treatment should reflect this capability and the patient’s need for structure and support.