Hydrocodone Side Effects


Hydrocodone is the generic name for a commonly prescribed and often abused narcotic pain medicine. Similar to morphine, hydrocodone can give the user a feeling of calm and euphoria. Other less pleasant side effects are very common, but are not usually dangerous except in cases of overdose or when the user develops an allergic reaction.


Hydrocodone is the generic name of a narcotic pain medicine more well-known by brand names, which include Lortab and Vicodin. It is sold in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg and 15 mg strengths. Hydrocodone is usually sold as tablets, capsules, or liquid.


Hydrocodone is available by prescription only. Most products containing hydrocodone also contain acetaminophen, although a few combine hydrocodone with aspirin or ibuprofen instead. Hydrocodone is effective at relieving many kinds of pain, including pain in joints or soft tissue, and is often prescribed following dental work. Liquid hydrocodone is sometimes prescribed for cough because the drug suppresses the cough reflex.

Side Effects

The most common effects are dizziness, constipation, nausea and sleepiness. According to the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, other hydrocodone side effects include moodiness, confusion and difficulty urinating. Increased tolerance and, eventually, addiction to this medication are other potential side effects. Most people who take this pain killer for a long period of time develop a tolerance and must take higher doses to relieve pain. Breathing difficulty, rash, swelling and/or tightness in the chest are signs of either overdose or allergic reaction.


Never take this drug while taking other prescription medications without talking to a doctor or pharmacist. Drug interaction can be serious or even fatal. Hydrocodone depresses the central nervous system; therefore, taking this drug with similar depressants, such as alcohol, can be fatal. In addition, since hydrocodone formulas almost always contain acetaminophen, you should not take other products containing acetaminophen while taking hydrocodone. Do not take this drug if you are allergic to codeine, and stop taking it immediately if you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction.


Hydrocodone is a popular drug for abuse because some people experience a sense of well-being while taking it. Physical dependence can occur after taking the drug for as little as a few months. If you believe you have developed dependence on this drug, seek help. Stopping this suddenly can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals can provide a safer way to wean you from this medication.

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