Vicodin

Uses

Vicodin contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain and alleviates cough. Acetaminophen works on mild pain, reduces fever and has fewer risks than other pain relievers. Learn More About Vicodin Uses

Administration/Dosage

Vicodin comes in liquid or tablets. Each Vicodin tablet contains 5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 500 mg of acetaminophen. Your physician will determine dosage based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Take one to two Vicodin tablets, or 5 to 10 ml of Vicodin elixir, every four to six hours for pain.

Take Vicodin with or without food. If Vicodin upsets your stomach, try taking it with food.

To prevent narcotic overdose, do not take more than 60 mg of hydrocodone in a 24 hour period. Do not exceed 4000 mg of acetaminophen in a day. Large doses of acetaminophen causes unwanted and potentially serious effects, including liver damage.

Vicodin is normally prescribed to be taken as needed for pain; do not worry if you miss a dose. Simply take another dose when you have pain, provided enough time has passed since your last dose. If you are taking Vicodin on a regular schedule and miss a dose, take another dose as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time to take a regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and resume your normal schedule. If you miss several consecutive doses, or if you have trouble maintaining the prescribed schedule, talk with your doctor. Read More About Vicodin Administration and Dosage

Action

Vicodin contains two drugs that act in different ways to reduce pain. When cells are injured through illness or trauma, they release a chemical messenger known as prostaglandin. Prostaglandin attaches to pain receptors in nerve endings; the nerves transmit information about the cell injury to the brain, including severity and location of the pain. Hydrocodone binds to pain receptors to change the way your brain perceives pain. Acetaminophen slows the production of prostaglandin. More About How Vicodin Works

Precautions

Tell your doctor if you are allergic to Vicodin or any other medication. An allergic reaction is a serious, potentially life-threatening medical emergency. Seek immediate help if you experience an allergic reaction shortly after taking Vicodin. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing or swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.

You may not be able to take Vicodin if you have a history of certain medical conditions. Tell your doctor about any serious or chronic illnesses including brain disorders such as head injury, tumor or seizures. It is important that your doctor know about any breathing problems, like asthma, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD. Notify your physician about your history of kidney disease, liver disease, mental or mood disorders such as confusion or depression. Your doctor may choose another form of treatment if you have a personal or family history of regular use or abuse of drugs or alcohol. Tell your doctor about any current or significant stomach or intestinal problems, such as blockage, constipation or diarrhea.

Vicodin can make you drowsy. Do not operate heavy machinery or drive a car until you know how Vicodin affects you. Avoid engaging in risky behavior that requires you to be alert and awake. Alcohol and some medications can enhance this effect.

Do not consume alcohol while taking Vicodin. Drinking alcohol may worsen liver damage associated with acetaminophen. Tell your doctor if you normally consume three or more alcoholic beverages in a day. Check for alcohol on the labels on food, beverages and over-the-counter remedies.

Vicodin can cause false lab results, especially urine glucose tests. Tell your doctor or medical laboratory technician if you have been taking Vicodin.

This drug can be habit-forming, especially if you take it for long periods of time. Tell your doctor if you have a history of dependence or addiction to drugs or alcohol. Your physician may choose a different course of treatment or adjust your dosage accordingly.

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Warnings

It is not known how taking Vicodin can affect your unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking Vicodin. If you become pregnant while taking Vicodin, call your doctor immediately. Vicodin is found in breast milk. Do not take Vicodin while breastfeeding.

Don't stop taking Vicodin suddenly; doing so may cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Try weaning yourself from Vicodin by taking smaller doses less frequently. If withdrawal symptoms prevent you from quitting Vicodin, talk with your doctor or qualified in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation center. More Warnings About Using Vicodin

Drug Interactions

Vicodin may interact in an unfavorable or even dangerous way with other prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies. Give your doctor a complete and updated list of medicines. Be sure to tell your doctor if you take antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, bladder or urinary medications, bronchodilators or irritable bowel medicine.

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Side effects

You may experience side effects while taking Vicodin. If side effects become acute or don't go away on their own, talk with your doctor. Common side effects include lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea and vomiting.

Some side effects can be severe or life-threatening. Seek medical assistance immediately if you experience severe side effects such as shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, feeling light-headed or fainting. Other serious side effects include confusion, fear, unusual thoughts or behavior. Go to the emergency room of you experience side effects after taking Vicodin, including seizures, problems with urination, nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching or dark urine.

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Overdose

Vicodin overdose is a serious, life-threatening medical emergency. If you suspect that you or someone you know has taken an overdose of Vicodin, seek emergency assistance immediately by going to the emergency room or calling an ambulance. If you are a very long distance from professional help, contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Do not consume more than 4000 mg of acetaminophen in one day. Acetaminophen overdose increases your risk for serious or potentially life-threatening liver disease. Acetaminophen is commonly found in many over-the-counter products. Read the labels of medicine packages carefully to learn if they contain acetaminophen.

You can overdose on either the hydrocodone or acetaminophen content in Vicodin. The first symptoms of acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, sweating, and confusion or weakness. Later symptoms include upper abdominal pain, dark urine, and yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

Symptoms of hydrocodone overdose include:

  • Cold, Clammy Skin.
  • Circulatory Collapse.
  • Stupor.
  • Coma.
  • Depression.
  • Respiratory Depression.
  • Cardiac Arrest.
  • Death.

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Abuse

When hydrocodone is used for a long time, it can become habit-forming. Vicodin is a Schedule III controlled drug substance; Vicodin use may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Pharmaceutical companies legally manufacture Vicodin for licit use as a pain reliever but abusers obtain Vicodin through forged prescriptions, bogus prescription call-ins to pharmacies, "doctor shopping" as well as theft from pharmacies and friends. Read More About Vicodin Abuse

Withdrawal

Withdrawal is not necessarily a sign of willful substance abuse. Withdrawal is a normal, predictable, physical sign of dependency. Withdrawal symptoms may appear after you stop taking Vicodin, especially if you have been taking high doses or using the opioid for a long period of time. Withdrawal symptoms and duration vary from person to person. Withdrawal symptoms may be so intense that they prevent you from quitting Vicodin without medical assistance. Speak with your physician if withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Intense Cravings for the Drug.
  • Irritability.
  • Nausea or Vomiting.
  • Muscle Aches.
  • Runny Nose or Eyes.
  • Dilated Pupils.
  • Sweating.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Yawning.
  • Fevers.
  • Chills.
  • Inability to Sleep.
  • Depression.

Detox

You may need the help of qualified professionals to help you detoxify your body from Vicodin. Strong withdrawal symptoms may make dependency and addiction to Vicodin difficult to overcome on your own. Quitting may be more difficult if you have been taking large doses or using opioids for a long time. Talk with your doctor or seek 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 Vicodin and other opiates.

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Storage

Keep Vicodin in a safe place, away from children, pets and adults who might consume this product willfully or accidentally. Store Vicodin at 77 degrees Fahrenheit and away from excessive heat and moisture. Never share Vicodin or other opioids with others, especially with people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Keep track of your medication, taking note of any missing doses.

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