What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone, which is available in the market under the brand name Zohydro ER is an opioid medication. It is beneficial in treating prolonged duration severe pain or any moderate pain if other measures are not sufficient. Typically it is sold in combinations with acetaminophen or ibuprofen and is available in a long-acting formulation.
Extended-release forms of Hydrocodone are Zohydro ER and Hysingla ER, useful in the around-the-clock treatment of severe pain and helpful as a cough suppressant in adults. It is not meant to take on an as-needed basis for pain. Hydrocodone is for oral intake. It has to pass through the digestive system before feeling its effects on your health. It starts showing its result within an hour.
This drug functions by binding to the mu-opioid receptor. It works in your brain to block pain signals and decreases the ability to feel pain. The combination of Hydrocodone with acetaminophen leads to the formation of Norco. Suppose you keep consuming this drug for a longer time and build up a tolerance to this drug. Here, it may take longer to feel relief from the pain.
Hydrocodone comes with several warnings due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. It comes with various signs due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. Suppose you keep consuming this drug for a longer time and build up a tolerance to this drug. Here, it may take longer to feel relief from the pain. Doctors may prescribe Hydrocodone following an injury or a major surgery or treat other types of severe pain like cancer or arthritis.
Never share an opioid medicine like Hydrocodone with someone else, especially someone with a history of any substance use disorder such as drug overuse or alcohol addiction. Misuse of Hydrocodone can cause addiction, overdose, or death.
Interaction of some medicines with an opioid-like Hydrocodone may lead to serotonin syndrome, a severe health condition. Tell your medical health care professional if you already take drugs for depression, migraine headaches, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting.
What to know before taking Hydrocodone?
Before taking Hydrocodone, ask your medical healthcare provider if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- Asthma (severe);
- Breathing problems; or
- A blockage in the stomach or intestines
To ensure Hydrocodone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you ever had:
- Sleep apnea;
- Breathing problems;
- Drugs or alcohol addiction;
- Mental illness;
- Urination problems;
- A head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
- Liver or kidney disease;
- Gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid problems; or
- Long QT syndrome (a heart rhythm disorder)
Do not use it during pregnancy because it may lead to the birth of a drug-independent baby. It may lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby. An opioid-dependent baby may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Do not breastfeed while taking this medicine. If the Hydrocodone passes into breast milk, it may cause breathing problems, drowsiness, or death in a nursing baby.
How to take Hydrocodone?
Take this medicine orally as per your doctor's prescription. You may take Hydrocodone with or without food. If you have nausea, then you should take it with food. Ask any of your medical health care providers about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for an hour or two with minimum head movement).
Swallow the whole extended-release pill rather than crushing, chewing, or opening it to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose. Do not suddenly stop taking Hydrocodone after long-term use, or you may face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Take the doctor's help to stop using this medicine safely.
Store Hydrocodone away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Keep track of your medication. Be aware of someone misusing your drug or taking it without a prescription. Dispose of the leftover opioid medication. Just one accidental or improper use of this medicine can cause death.
Your hydrocodone dosage will depend upon your age, medical condition, and response to the initial treatment.
Usual adult dosage for chronic pain: as first opioid analgesic and people who are not opioid-tolerant
- Initial dose (Zohydro ER)- 10 mg orally within every 12 hours
- Initial dose (Hysingla ER)- 20 mg orally within every 24 hours.
In case of overdose, take medical help or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. A hydrocodone overdose can be deadly, especially in a child or someone taking it without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include pinpoint pupils, severe drowsiness, slow or no breathing.
Your doctor may recommend you get naloxone with you all the time. Naloxone is a medicine that reverses an opioid overdose, and you can purchase it from any pharmacy or a local health department.
What to avoid while using Hydrocodone?
Avoid consumption of alcohol because it could cause dangerous side effects or death.
Avoid driving any vehicle or performing any hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Drowsiness or dizziness can cause accidental falls or severe injuries.
Hydrocodone side effects
Hydrocodone can cause vomiting, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, constipation, or drowsiness. Some of these effects may decrease after using this medicine for a while. If any of them persist or worsen, tell your medical health care professional.
Tell the doctor immediately if you have any of the following severe side effects:
- Interrupted breathing during sleep;
- Mental changes or mood swings such as confusion, agitation, hallucinations;
- Difficulty urinating;
- Seizure (or convulsion);
- Slow or shallow breathing;
- Difficulty waking up (severe drowsiness);
- Stomach or abdominal pain; or
- Signs of inefficient working of adrenal glands such as unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, weight loss
Any severe allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, take medical help if you notice any signs of a severe allergic reaction, including:
- Severe dizziness;
- Trouble breathing; or
- Itching or swelling in your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Call your medical health care professional for medical advice regarding side effects. Report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What drugs can interact with Hydrocodone?
You may face breathing problems or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you start or stop taking particular medications. Tell your medical healthcare provider if you also use an antifungal drug, antibiotic, seizure (or convulsions) medication, heart or blood pressure medicine, or any treatment for HIV or hepatitis C.