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What is Hydrocodone?
The generic names of medicines like Norco, Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin, etc. is Hydrocodone. This medication is available in syrups, tablets, and capsules. Hydrocodone belongs to a class of medicines known as a narcotic pain reliever. This drug is an analgesic opioid.
Both of its variants, i.e., Zohydro ER, and Hysingla ER, are the extended forms of this medication. These are used to get relief from pain around the clock. Therefore these shall not be used on as and when needed basis for pain relief.
You shall take this medicine as per the prescription of your medical consultant. This drug shall never be taken in excess quantity or longer than what is actually required as it is known to be a habit-forming drug (even at regular dose) which can slow down your breathing or even stop it (in worst cases).
Side Effects of Hydrocodone:
Like most of the analgesics, Hydrocodone also has some inherited side effects. Some of the side effects of Hydrocodone are not so serious and may go away with time as your body adapts to the medication, but some may require immediate medical attention.
That is why it becomes crucial for patients to know which are the ones that may be disastrous for their health.
Less Common Symptoms of Hydrocodone:
- Body pain or aches,
- Cloudy or bloody urine,
- Swelling or bloating of arms, face, lower legs, hands or feet,
- Bladder pain,
- Nervousness or fear,
- Ear congestion,
- Painful, difficult, or burning urination,
- Labored or difficult breathing,
- Loss of voice,
- Frequent urge to urinate,
- Weight loss or gain that is unusual,
- Unusual fatigue,
- Sore throat,
- Tingling of the hands or feet,
- Tightness in the chest,
- Nasal congestion,
- Lower back or side pain,
- Runny nose, or
- Rapid weight gain.
You should call on immediate medical attention if you experience any of the side effects listed above.
Hydrocodone can even cause the death of a person if it is taken in the excess, reason why it becomes necessary for us to take this medicine only in amounts that are absolutely needed. The suggested approaches for the dosing recommendations based on the clinical decisions over a period of time are given below:
Hydrocodone can be prescribed as the first analgesic to a person, and also to not opioid-tolerant patients.
Hysingla(R) ER Tablets (Extended-Release):
It should be prescribed with an initial dose of 20 milligrams that should be administered orally every 24 hours.
Zohydro(R) ER Capsules (Extended-Release):
It should be prescribed with an initial dose of 10 milligrams that should be administered orally every 12 hours.
- These are only the suggestions of the dosages that shall be prescribed to an individual. Each patient should be managed individually.
- Fatal respiratory depression may be caused in patients who are not opioid-tolerant and are prescribed a higher dose of Hydrocodone as a starting dose.
- All the patients who have been prescribed Hydrocodone should be monitored closely by their medical consultants for respiratory depression, especially during the first 24-48 hours.
- An opioid-tolerant patient who has been administering hydrocodone for an over a week or more at least should be given:
- Oral oxymorphone 25 mg/day, or
- Oral hydromorphone 8 mg/day, or
- Oral oxycodone 30 mg/day, or
- Fentanyl transdermal patch 25 mcg per hour, or
- Oral morphine 60 mg/day, or
- An equal analgesic dose of any other opioid.
What shall I do if I skipped a dose of Hydrocodone?
There is nothing to worry about in case you have missed a dose of this drug. The thing that you should always keep in mind is that, if it is almost time to take another dose then only take a single dose of the drug (never take two doses together as it is fatal for you).
What should I do if I overdose Hydrocodone?
Medical emergency treatment is required for overdose drugs. Doctors may use medicines (naloxone) if they are very slow or are not profound in breathing. This can also be used if the overdose can lead to death by physicians.
However, in order to get any restful medicines out of the stomach, physicians could use activated carbon or laxatives instead. Call for immediate medical assistance right away at the emergency number 911.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Hydrocodone:
Withdrawal symptoms associated with Hydrocodone are rarely life-threatening, but they may be distressing at the same time. People who withdraw from using Hydrocodone with any professional assistance are not able to handle the pain often.
So in order to do away with these withdrawal symptoms, they again start administering the medicine, which on the other hand, make their addiction even worse.
The symptoms of withdrawal that are associated with Hydrocodone are similar to the withdrawal symptoms that are produced by prescription opioids like meperidine and oxycodone.
Following are the withdrawal symptoms of Hydrocodone according to the WHO (World Health Organisation):
- Watery nose and eyes,
- Cold and hot flashes,
- Muscles aches,
- Vomiting and Nausea,
- Abdominal Cramping (in people who have become addicted to Hydrocodone)
- Sweating, and
However, the potency of these symptoms may vary from person to person depending upon their overall health, the level of their addiction, and the frequency of their use.
Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms may start within 8 to 12 hours of taking the last dose. The most difficult phase is two or three days after stopping its administration (i.e., after 48 to 72 hours) after which it starts to subside slowly. The withdrawal effects of Hydrocodone usually last 4 to 10 days.
Hydrocodone Addiction and Abuse:
If you notice that you are taking this medication longer than what was prescribed or more than prescribed quantity, then you may have become addicted to this drug.
It is advisable that you should join a treatment center to do away with its addiction. This will help you as there are many people who are suffering from the same condition, and being surrounded by them will assist you to do away with this medicine.
The time of recovery from Hydrocodone addiction varies significantly. A person who has a short term addiction to the medicine may cope up with it earlier than the one who has been addicted to it over a more extended period of time.
To do away with Hydrocodone addiction is not an impossible task. You just need to follow an expert’s advice and be determined towards giving it up.