Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen (Oral)
Benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen exposes patients and other users to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse, and misuse, which can lead to overdose and death. Assess each patient’s risk prior to prescribing benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen, and monitor all patients regularly for the development of these behaviors and conditions.To ensure that the benefits of opioid analgesics outweigh the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for these products.Serious, life-threatening, or fatal respiratory depression may occur with use of benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen. Monitor for respiratory depression, especially during initiation of benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen or following a dose increase.Accidental ingestion of even one dose of benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen, especially by children can result in a fatal overdose of hydrocodone.Prolonged use of benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may be life-threatening if not recognized and treated, and requires management according to protocols developed by neonatology experts. If prolonged opioid use is required in a pregnant woman, advise the patient of the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome and ensure that appropriate treatment will be available.The concomitant use of benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in hydrocodone plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer may result in an increase in hydrocodone plasma concentration. Monitor patients receiving benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer.This product contains acetaminophen. Acetaminophen has been associated with cases of acute liver failure, at times resulting in liver transplant and death. Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4000 mg/day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen-containing product.Concomitant use of opioids with benzodiazepines or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, including alcohol, may result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death. Reserve concomitant prescribing of benzhydrocodone/acetaminophen and benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options are inadequate. Limit dosages and durations to the minimum required. Follow patients for signs and symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 29, 2019.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Analgesic Combination, Opioid
Chemical Class: Opioid
Uses for benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen
Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen combination is used to relieve short-term pain (no more than 14 days) in patients who have taken other pain treatments (eg, non-opioid pain medicines) that did not work well.
Acetaminophen is used to relieve pain and reduce fever in patients. It does not become habit-forming when taken for a long time. But acetaminophen may cause other unwanted effects when taken in large doses, including serious liver damage. Although rare, use of acetaminophen has been reported to lead to liver transplantation and death, usually at high doses and when multiple acetaminophen-containing products have been used.
Benzhydrocodone belongs to the group of medicines called narcotic analgesics (pain medicines). It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.
When benzhydrocodone is used for a long time, it may become habit-forming, causing mental or physical dependence when it is used for a long time or in large doses. Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects when you suddenly stop taking the medicine. However, severe withdrawal side effects can usually be prevented by gradually reducing the dose over a period of time before treatment is stopped completely.
Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen is available only under a restricted distribution program called the Opioid Analgesic REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) program.
Before using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen combination in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen combination in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, heart, or lung problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen combination.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Chloral Hydrate
- Eslicarbazepine Acetate
- Gabapentin Enacarbil
- Methylene Blue
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Nitrous Oxide
- Opium Alkaloids
- Pneumococcal 13-Valent Vaccine, Diphtheria Conjugate
- Sodium Oxybate
- St John's Wort
- Tolonium Chloride
Using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen with any of the following may cause an increased risk of certain side effects but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Addison's disease (adrenal gland problem) or
- Alcohol abuse, history of or
- Brain tumor or
- Breathing problems (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], cor pulmonale, hypoxia, sleep apnea, respiratory depression) or
- CNS depression or
- Drug abuse or dependence, or history of or
- Gallbladder disease or
- Head injuries or
- Increased pressure in the head or
- Mental illness, history of or
- Obesity (overweight) or
- Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas), acute or
- Seizures, history of or
- Thyroid problems or
- Weakened physical condition—Use with caution. May increase risk for more serious side effects.
- Asthma, acute or severe or
- Respiratory depression (serious breathing problem) or
- Stomach or bowel blockage (including paralytic ileus)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper use of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen
Take benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. This is especially important for elderly patients, who may be more sensitive to the effects of pain medicines. If too much of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen is taken for a long time, it may become habit-forming (causing mental or physical dependence) or cause an overdose. Also, large amounts of acetaminophen may cause liver damage if taken for a long time.
It is very important that you understand the rules of the Opioid Analgesic REMS program to prevent addiction, abuse, and misuse of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen combination. Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen should also come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Read it again each time you refill your prescription in case there is new information. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Carefully check the labels of all other medicines you are using, because they may also contain acetaminophen. It is not safe to use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) of acetaminophen in one day (24 hours), as this may increase the risk for serious liver problems.
The dose of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For acute pain:
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- Adults—1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours as needed. However, the dose should not be more than 12 tablets per day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
If you miss a dose of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Drop off any unused narcotic medicine at a drug take-back location right away. If you do not have a drug take-back location near you, flush any unused narcotic medicine down the toilet. Check your local drug store and clinics for take-back locations. You can also check the DEA web site for locations. Here is the link to the FDA safe disposal of medicines website: www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/consumers/buyingusingmedicinesafely/ensuringsafeuseofmedicine/safedisposalofmedicines/ucm186187.htm .
Precautions while using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen
It is very important that your doctor check your progress while you are using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen, especially within the first 24 to 72 hours of treatment. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Do not use benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen if you are using or have used an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, isocarboxazid [Marplan®], linezolid [Zyvox®], phenelzine [Nardil®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], tranylcypromine [Parnate®]) within the past 14 days.
It is against the law and dangerous for anyone else to use your medicine. Keep your unused medicine in a safe and secure place. People who are addicted to drugs might want to steal benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen.
Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
If you think you or someone else may have taken an overdose of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen, get emergency help at once. Signs of an overdose include: dark urine, difficult or troubled breathing, irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing, nausea, vomiting, pain in the upper stomach, pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin, pinpoint pupils of the eyes, or yellow eyes or skin.
Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen while you are pregnant may cause serious unwanted effects, including neonatal withdrawal syndrome in your newborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you think you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant while using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen.
For nursing mothers taking benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen:
- Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about taking benzhydrocodone or about how benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen may affect your baby.
- Call your doctor if you become extremely tired and have difficulty caring for your baby.
- Your baby should generally nurse every 2 to 3 hours and should not sleep for more than 4 hours at a time.
- Check with your doctor or hospital emergency room immediately if your baby shows signs of increased sleepiness (more than usual), difficulty breastfeeding, difficulty breathing, or limpness. These may be symptoms of an overdose and need immediate medical attention.
Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis or certain skin conditions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome). These reactions can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, fever or chills, trouble breathing or swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, mouth, or throat while you are using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. Getting up slowly may help. Also, lying down for a while may relieve dizziness or lightheadedness.
Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen may make you dizzy, drowsy, confused, or disoriented. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen affects you.
Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that can make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, other prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for seizures or barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Also, there may be a greater risk of liver damage if you drink 3 or more alcoholic beverages while you are taking acetaminophen. Do not drink alcoholic beverages, and check with your doctor before taking any of these medicines while you are using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen.
Using narcotics for a long time can cause severe constipation. To prevent this, your doctor may direct you to take laxatives, drink a lot of fluids, or increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Be sure to follow the directions carefully, because continuing constipation can lead to more serious problems.
Do not change your dose or suddenly stop using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This may help prevent worsening of your condition and reduce the possibility of withdrawal symptoms, such as abdominal or stomach cramps, anxiety, fever, nausea, runny nose, sweating, tremors, or trouble with sleeping.
Check with your doctor right away if you have anxiety, restlessness, a fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, twitching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or see or hear things that are not there. These may be symptoms of a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Your risk may be higher if you also take certain other medicines that affect serotonin levels in your body.
Using too much of benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen may cause infertility (unable to have children). Talk with your doctor before using benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen if you plan to have children.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Benzhydrocodone and acetaminophen side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- difficult or labored breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- excess air or gas in the stomach or bowels
- feeling of warmth
- full or bloated feeling
- passing gas
- pressure in the stomach
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- stomach pain
- swelling of the abdominal or stomach area
- tightness in the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- chest discomfort
- false or unusual sense of well-being
- vomiting of blood
Incidence not known
- darkening of the skin
- difficulty swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- feeling sad or empty
- hives, itching, skin rash
- loss of appetite
- loss of interest or pleasure
- overactive reflexes
- poor coordination
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- talking or acting with excitement you cannot control
- trembling or shaking
- trouble concentrating
- trouble sleeping
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Lack or loss of strength
- Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- itching of the eye
- runny nose
- stuffy nose
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about acetaminophen / benzhydrocodone
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- Drug class: narcotic analgesic combinations
- FDA Alerts (2)
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