Hydrocodone : Drug Information

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid medication drug used to treat severe pain that the patient is experiencing for a long time. Doctors prescribe hydrocodone only in case if other opioid medications are not working well enough. It works on the brain and central nervous system (CNS) to prevent cough and relieve pain. This medication is not allowed for children below six years of age. Hydrocodone is available only under a restricted distribution program called the Opioid Analgesic REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) program. It is not possible to purchase hydrocodone without a proper prescription from the doctor.

What to know before taking Hydrocodone?

You should avoid taking hydrocodone if your body is allergic to it or any of its components or if you are experiencing the following medical conditions:

  • Severe asthma or other breathing issues
  • Blockage in the intestine or stomach.

To ensure that hydrocodone is safe for you, you must tell your doctor if you had or ever had the following health issues:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Breathing problems
  • Head injuries
  • Brain tumor
  • Seizure
  • Mental illness such as depression, ADHD, anxiety, etc
  • Addiction to any drugs or alcohol
  • Urination problems
  • Liver infections
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid
  • Problem in pancreas
  • Problem in gallbladder
  • Heart rhythm disorder called long QT syndrome.

Breastfeeding mothers should not use hydrocodone during their lactating period as it may harm the baby and make them dependent on this drug. Expecting women should avoid this medication during all trimester of pregnancy.

How to take Hydrocodone?

You should take this medication exactly as may be prescribed by the doctor. You must follow all the instructions given on the prescription label and medicine carefully. Don’t use hydrocodone more often than prescribed as abuse and misuse of hydrocodone can be fatal. You should consult your doctor if you feel anything unusual while taking this medication.

Hydrocodone is a highly addictive medication; therefore, buying or selling hydrocodone is an offense under the prevailing law. It would be best not to share your medicines with anyone, especially those who have a past of drug addiction or abuse. Never crush or break hydrocodone tablets or capsules to inhale the powder or mix it into the water to inject the drug into your body. It can cause death.

You should consult your doctor before leaving hydrocodone; otherwise, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. An individual may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Yawning
  • Teary eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Muscles and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • General depression
  • Insomnia

After completion of treatment, you should dispose of all the leftover medicines properly. You can dispose of medicines with the help of a pharmacist nearby you, or you can dispose of them by flushing them down in the toilet.

Hydrocodone Dosage

The dosage prescribed by the doctor varies from patient to patient. The dosage of hydrocodone is entirely dependent on several factors such as

  • Age of the patient
  • Symptoms
  • The seriousness of the condition
  • Other medical issues of the patient
  • Other medications that are taken by the patients

The following are the initial average dosage for the patients who are not opioid-tolerant.

  • Extended-release tablets

The initial oral dose of hydrocodone extended-release tablets is 20 mg every 24 hours. The doctors may increase your dosage by 10-20 mg every 24 hours every 3-5 days.

  • Extended-release capsules

The initial oral dose of hydrocodone extended-release capsules is 10 mg every 12 hours. The doctors may increase your dosage by 10 mg every 12 hours every 3-7 days.


If you ever feel any symptoms relating to hydrocodone overdose, you should immediately consult your doctor and ask for medical help. Never ignore these symptoms as they may put you in dangerous situations. You can avail of medical assistance by calling the poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. The following are a few overdose symptoms that an individual may face:

  • severe drowsiness
  • muscle weakness
  • cold and clammy skin
  • pinpoint pupils
  • prolonged breathing
  • Slow heart rate

What to avoid while using hydrocodone?

You should avoid alcohol and other hard drinks till the time you are under this medication’s effect.

It would help if you tried not to drive or operate heavy machinery. It will be best to avoid your engagement in those activities that demand alertness and concentration.

Hydrocodone side effects

The common side effects that a person can experience while on this medication are as follows:

  • Cold
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting and nausea

It is perfectly fine if you face these mild symptoms, but if these symptoms are unbearable or bother you too much, you should consult your doctor. You may experience some other withdrawal symptoms, such as

  • Noisy breathing
  • Sighing
  • Shallow breathing
  • Breathing problem while sleeping
  • Slow heart rate or weak pulse rate
  • Pain and discomfort while urinating
  • Confusion
  • Tremors
  • Severe drowsiness and dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low cortisol level
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness and weakness

You should ask for medical assistance if you experience serotonin syndrome symptoms, such as fever, hallucination, shivering, loss of coordination, diarrhea, etc.

What drugs can interact with hydrocodone?

If your doctor is treating you with hydrocodone, he must be knowing all the possible interactions with other drugs. It is your responsibility to tell the doctor about all the over the counter medicines you take or taken in the past few days. The following medicines may interact with tramadol:

  • Cold or allergy medication
  • Medication for the breathing issue
  • Motion sickness medication
  • Narcotic medication such as opioid pain killers and prescribed cough medications
  • Sedative medications such as diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Xanax, Klonopin, Versed, etc.
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Stimulants
  • Anti-depressants
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Herbal products

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