What are the possible side effects of Vicodin drug?

By Collins Nwokolo Thursday, 9 February 2017
What are the possible side effects of Vicodin drug?


Vicodin is a drug which is a combination of two substances acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Vicodin is a pain killer medication prescribed by doctors. From the two substances hydrocodone is a powerful pain killer which is useful in reliving different levels of pains. Also hydrocodone acts as a cough suppressant. And the other substance acetaminophen is a mild pain killer which is found in many other over the counter painkillers. This Vicodin drug is used as a pain killer for moderate to severe pain.
In the year 2013, hydrocodone was the most sold drug which amounted to 136 million prescriptions. And from this around 136 million Vicodin and Lortab were the most commonly prescribed medication.
Vicodin is a very helpful painkiller if used as per the prescription and for the given time period in right quantity. But if it is over used or without prescription in different ways then it can cause several physical, mental and social complications in a person like addiction, tolerance and dependence on this drug. Vicodin drug has the potential for abuse due to the substances and can cause severe side effects to people using it in different ways. Therefore Vicodin has been shifted to Schedule II controlled substances to put a limit on the prescription and charge penalty for possession and distribution of the substance through illegal options.
Vicodin must be carefully taken only as much as is prescribed as an overdose can damage the liver and it can even lead to death. And this drug cannot be given to a patient who has taken MAO inhibitor in the last two weeks.



What if a person misses a dose?
Vicodin is mostly taken as and when needed as per the prescribed quantity and there may not be a dosing schedule. But if a person is following a dosing schedule and has missed a dose, then the medicine should be taken when remembered. But if the person has already reached close to the next schedule dose then do not take the missed dose as this can lead to overdose.



What if a person takes an overdose?
A person must visit a doctor or hospital if he/she has taken an overdose of the Vicodin. Since excessive intake of acetaminophen and hydrocodone can be very dangerous.
One must seek immediate medical care if they have the following symptoms - nausea, stomach pain, itchiness, drowsiness, fainting, slow heart rate, slow or no breathing,  redness /rashes on skin, loss of appetite, dark urine or stools or even jaundice.



What must be avoided while taking Vicodin drug?
Vicodin when taken can weaken your thinking and reactions. Therefore one must avoid doing any activity that requires lot of attention like driving a car or operating machinery.
The doctor must be informed if the patient is taking any other medication for pain, cold, allergy or sleep. Since some of the drugs which the patient is consuming may also contain acetaminophen in it and this may lead to overdose of this substance in the body. So the doctor will suggest which medications are safe to be taken along with Vicodin to avoid any overdose and side effects. It is always advisable to check the ingredients of the medicines one is taking by reading the label and one can also take guidance from the pharmacist if there is any confusion.
Also avoid taking alcohol along with Vicodin as there are chances of damaging the liver.



Short term effects of Vicodin drug:
As Vicodin contains hydrocodone which is an opioid substance it will lead to certain short term effects like any other opiates. These effects are visible once the substance enters the body and is linked with the opioid receptors. These receptors are located in different parts of the body like the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract and other organ systems. When a person takes this medicine the opioid substance in the drug gets attached to these different parts and certain chemical events takes places within the body which helps in giving the desired effects, which can be;
• Feeling relief in pain
• Suppression of cough reflux
• Feeling calm and relaxed
These short term effects are seen in individuals who are using the drug as per prescription and also those who are over using the medicine without prescription.



Side effects of Vicodin drugs:
Many people are of the belief that using prescribed drugs is much safer than using illegal drugs.  But this is not the case because if Vicodin is consumed in more quantity it can have side effects and can be very dangerous. Some of the side effects are given below;
Nausea or Vomiting
• Breathing problem
• Dizziness
• Confusion
• Drowsiness
• Fainting
• Difficulty in judgment
Those who want to abuse the Vicodin drug into their body may do so by taking this drug along with alcohol or some other drugs. This combination of Vicodin and alcohol can exert central nervous system depressant actions and increase the possibility of experiencing the above side effects.



Long term side effects of Vicodin drug:
Individual who keep taking Vicodin drug tend to overlook at the negative side effects it causes to them and only look at the positive effects. This is achieved when the drug interacts with the body’s reward system.  This increases the desire to obtain the substance again and again to get the desired feeling and overlooking all the risks associated with the abuse of this drug.


Tolerance and Addiction to the Drug
When Vicodin is used for a long term it can lead to tolerance which is a common effect associated to drugs which are legal and illegal. People who keep taking this drug even if it is as per prescription over time will not see the same benefits as they experienced earlier. The body becomes tolerant to these drugs which reduces the impact of the medicine. In case of Vicodin the doses or the frequency of the doses will have to be increased to get the same relief from pain as before.  This can increase the tolerance level due to the increased use of the drug which will eventually lead to addiction.
Addiction is visible in an individual when he/she continues taking a drug despite being warned from the doctor, family and friends. The individual is not able to control themselves from taking the drug which can be very fatal if not stopped.
An individual who is addicted to Vicodin can take the following steps;
- Modify the prescription
- Make fake prescriptions
- Take prescriptions from different doctors
- Buy, borrow or steal the drug
- Purchase from illegal sources
An individual who is addicted to Vicodin will waste all his/her time and energy trying to source the drug rather than using their time productively. And if they do not get Vicodin from any of the sources they will try to replace it with other illegal drugs like heroin. Many of the people who are addicted to heroin have begun their addiction from drug options like Vicodin.



Physical Effects of the Drug
Opiate abuse has a lot of health risk which have a direct impact on nervous system of the individual. When Vicodin is taken excessively it can cause slow breathing and heart beat and in such a scenario there is a lack of oxygen supply to the brain and other vital organs of the body.
The other physical effects of the drug due to long term use are;
• Increase in the perception of pain or relapse of pain sensitivity
• Mood swings
• Irritation and restlessness
• Stressful and Anxious
• Issues with memory consolidation
• Increased sedation which can lead to more body injury.



Dependency on the drug
Higher dosage and more frequent dosage of Vicodin can lead to dependency on the drug.  When an individual becomes dependent on a particular drug then he/she will need that substance to feel and behave normally. If the individual does not get the substance then he/she will show withdrawal symptoms. Since Vicodin comprises of an opioid the withdrawal symptoms are very similar to that of heroin. Some of the withdrawal symptoms are given below;
- Body pain
- Uneasiness
- Agitation
- Lack of sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea
- Vomiting
- Diarrhea
- Cold Sweats



Treatment for Vicodin Dependency and Addiction:
Dependency and addiction to Vicodin drug can be very dangerous and requires immediate professional medical treatment. Many people get to see improvement from some type of medical detoxification given to treat their dependency on this particular drug.
In the initial stages of treatment focus will be given on the withdrawal symptoms an individual is suffering due to abuse of Vicodin drug. Through detoxification the Vicodin is eased from the body and the patient is made comfortable. This process will reduce the craving for the drug which is a very common withdrawal symptom and reduce the chances of relapse and continuous use of the drug.
In some cases the patient is given other drugs like methadone or buprenorphine to help the patient to be away from the Vicodin drug. This varies depending on the person, the impact of the side effects and the level of abuse.
Post the detoxification treatment, various other treatment options are provided to the patients which are residential rehabilitation and outpatient care. The treatment process depends on the condition of the patient and the advantages and disadvantages of each process. The treatment type is finalized by a professional who is specialized in addiction treatment.
Once the initial treatment is getting completed, the patient is taken for follow up counseling and provided simple living conditions to monitor the progress of the patient.



Author Bio:
Matt Bailey is a noted writer, content marketer and Social Strategist at FindaTopDoc. Find a best Local Doctor by Specialty and Insurance.
Nwokolo Collins

Hi, My name is Nwokolo Collins, I am a passionate health enthusiast, I write amazing health articles with sufficient humour.

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