COMMON BRAND(S): Lortab, Norco, Vicodin
GENERIC NAME(S): Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen
Hydrocodone combination medication is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It contains an opioid(narcotic) pain reliever (hydrocodone) and a non-opioid pain reliever (acetaminophen). Hydrocodone works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain. Acetaminophen can also reduce a fever.
Hydrocodone product is not recommended for use in children younger than 6 years due to an increased risk of serious side effects (such as slow/shallow breathing).
How to use Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking Hydrocodone medication and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take Hydrocodone medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. You may take Hydrocodone drug with or without food. If you have nausea, it may help to take this drug with food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for 1 to 2 hours with as little head movement as possible).
If you are using a liquid form of Hydrocodone medication, use a medication measuring device to carefully measure the prescribed dose. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight. Do not increase your dose, take the medication more frequently, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.
Pain medications work best if they are used as the first signs of pain occur. If you wait until the pain has worsened, the medication may not work as well.
If you have ongoing pain (such as due to cancer), your doctor may direct you to also take long-acting opioid medications. In that case, Hydrocodone medication might be used for sudden (breakthrough) pain only as needed. Other pain relievers (such as ibuprofen, naproxen) may also be prescribed. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely with other drugs.
Hydrocodone medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as restlessness, watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating, muscle aches) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions right away.
When Hydrocodone medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if Hydrocodone medication stops working well.
Though it helps many people, Hydrocodone medication may sometimes cause addiction. Hydrocodone risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Tell your doctor if your pain persists or worsens.
Nausea, vomiting, constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, or drowsiness may occur. Some of these side effects may decrease after you have been using Hydrocodone medication for a while. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. Consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a laxative (such as a stimulant type with stool softener).
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed Hydrocodone medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), stomach/abdominal pain, difficulty urinating, signs of your adrenal glands not working well (such as loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, weight loss).
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: fainting, seizure, slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/difficulty waking up.
A very serious allergic reaction to Hydrocodone drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before taking Hydrocodone medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other opioids (such as hydromorphone, morphine, codeine); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using Hydrocodone medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: brain disorders (such as head injury, tumor, seizures), breathing problems (such as asthma, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood disorders (such as confusion, depression, thoughts of suicide), personal or family history of a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol), stomach/intestinal problems (such as blockage, constipation, diarrhea due to infection, paralytic ileus), difficulty urinating (such as due to enlarged prostate), gallbladder disease, disease of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
Hydrocodone drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.
Liquid products may contain sugar and alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, liver disease, or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using Hydrocodone product safely.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of Hydrocodone drug, especially slow/shallow breathing.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of Hydrocodone drug, especially confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and slow/shallow breathing.
During pregnancy, Hydrocodone medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may harm an unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Hydrocodone medication passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Tell the doctor right away if your baby develops unusual sleepiness, difficulty feeding, or trouble breathing. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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