Generic Name: acetaminophen and hydrocodone (a SEET a MIN oh fen and hye droe KOE done)
Brand Names: Hycet, Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, Xodol, Zamicet, Zolvit
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin contains a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Both medicines are pain killers. Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone.
Vicodin is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.
Vicodin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use Vicodin if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications.
Hydrocodone can slow or stop your breathing. Never use Vicodin in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Narcotic pain medicine may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share Vicodin with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.
Do not use this medicine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.
Do not take more Vicodin than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death. Call your doctor at once if you have nausea, pain in your upper stomach, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes).
In rare cases, acetaminophen may cause a severe skin reaction. Stop taking Vicodin and call your doctor right away if you have skin redness or a rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Vicodin if you are allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or hydrocodone, or if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications.
Do not use Vicodin if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.
To make sure Vicodin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver disease, cirrhosis, or if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day;
a history of alcoholism or drug addiction;
diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease;
bowel obstruction, severe constipation;
a colostomy or ileostomy;
low blood pressure, or if you are dehydrated;
a history of head injury, brain tumor, or stroke; or
asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorders.
Vicodin is more likely to cause breathing problems in older adults and people who are severely ill, malnourished, or otherwise debilitated.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Vicodin is harmful to an unborn baby, but it could cause breathing problems or addiction/withdrawal symptoms in a newborn. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
Acetaminophen and hydrocodone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How should I take Vicodin?
Take Vicodin exactly as prescribed. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never take this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. An overdose can damage your liver or cause death. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Hydrocodone may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share Vicodin with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Selling or giving away Vicodin is against the law.
This medicine can cause unusual results with certain urine tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Vicodin.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Do not stop using this medicine suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Vicodin.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Hydrocodone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
Always check your bottle to make sure you have received the correct pills (same brand and type) of medicine prescribed by your doctor. Ask the pharmacist if you have any questions about the medicine you receive at the pharmacy.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since Vicodin is taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of Vicodin can be fatal.
The first signs of an acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, sweating, and confusion or weakness. Later symptoms may include pain in your upper stomach, dark urine, and yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
Overdose symptoms may also include extreme drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, cold and clammy skin, muscle weakness, fainting, weak pulse, slow heart rate, coma, blue lips, shallow breathing, or no breathing
What should I avoid while taking Vicodin?
This medication may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Vicodin will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, allergy, pain, or sleep medication. Acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as APAP) is contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much acetaminophen which can lead to a fatal overdose. Check the label to see if a medicine contains acetaminophen or APAP.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage while taking acetaminophen.
Vicodin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Vicodin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, acetaminophen may cause a severe skin reaction that can be fatal. This could occur even if you have taken acetaminophen in the past and had no reaction. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have skin redness or a rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling. If you have this type of reaction, you should never again take any medicine that contains acetaminophen.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
shallow breathing, slow heartbeat;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior;
easy bruising or bleeding; or
nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common Vicodin side effects include:
upset stomach, constipation;
blurred vision; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Vicodin?
Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects. Ask your doctor before taking Vicodin with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Other drugs may interact with acetaminophen and hydrocodone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Vicodin (acetaminophen / hydrocodone)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Vicodin.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Vicodin only for the indication prescribed.
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