Hydrocodone is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat pain that requires daily, round-the-clock management on a long-term basis, and for which other treatment options have proven inadequate. In combination with acetaminophen, hydrocodone is sold under the brand names Vicodin and Norco.
Hydrocodone is an opioid, or synthetic opiate, that works as a potent analgesic (painkiller). Hydrocodone is believed to work by reducing the perception of pain.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, regular use of opioids — even as prescribed by a doctor — can lead to dependence. If misused, opioids can cause overdose and death.
How do I take it?
Prescribing information states that hydrocodone should be taken exactly as prescribed.
Hydrocodone comes in capsule, tablet, liquid, syrup, and extended-release forms.
The FDA-approved label for hydrocodone lists common side effects including constipation, nausea, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, vomiting, rash, abdominal pain, swelling, upper respiratory tract infection, muscle spasms, urinary tract infection, back pain, and tremor.
Rare but serious side effects listed for hydrocodone include addiction, liver failure, severe skin and hypersensitivity reactions, blood cell disorders, respiratory depression, and dangerously low blood pressure.
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Hydrocodone — Drugs.com