Hydrocodone is a highly addictive drug that is used for pain relief. It is a narcotic that carries various side effects, but it has been known to be very helpful for pain management. Hydrocodone is a drug that carries effects on the body for the entire time it is consumed, and long-term use can have devastating and residual effects. Physicians are very well informed about hydrocodone and are qualified to determine if the benefits outweigh the negative side effects of long-term use in your case.
Hydrocodone is paired with various other drugs for pain relief. Most often, hydrocodone is combined with acetaminophen in a widely popular drug known as Vicodin. Hydrocodone can also be paired with antihistamines or ibuprofen to avoid overdose. The hydrocodone and acetaminophen combination is often used for chronic pain, and therefore used long term. There are some adverse side effects, and in many cases, doctors will remove a patient from this medication and switch to another so as to avoid toxicity and likelihood of addiction.
Addiction is a major concern with long-term use of hydrocodone. The addiction can be in the form of a physical and psychological dependence. It is thought that the psychological reaction to hydrocodone is due to its mind-altering effects--something drug-seekers enjoy. Hydrocodone is not an over-the-counter medication, but there are variety of places on the Internet or on the street where a person can pick it up. Addiction happens because the body becomes immune to the effects of hydrocodone, and doses must be consistently increased in order to feel the same effects. Addiction is treated with gradual withdrawal, methadone, and therapy in a rehabilitation program, if the addiction is severe enough.
Long-term use of hydrocodone can result in liver damage. Damage to the liver has the risk of being more evident if you drink regularly or are likely to consume large amounts of alcohol during the time that you will be taking hydrocodone. Because hydrocodone is often paired with acetaminophen to reduce the effects of the hydrocodone itself, it presents additional danger to your liver, as long-term usage of acetaminophen alone can have adverse affects on it. You doctor should keep a close eye on your liver function and watch for signs of liver damage such as jaundice, dark urine or severe nausea.
Some of the common side effects include dizziness, sleepiness, decrease in motor function, feelings of anxiousness, nausea, vomiting, headache, and blurry vision. Most people cannot avoid side effects altogether, but certain things can be done to minimize the effect of hydrocodone. Taking the medication when directed or necessary is one way to avoid over usage, and may reduce side effects. Taking hydrocodone with food will help to absorb it, and help your body to process it better and slower. Increasing hydration in your daily routine can also help your body to flush out excess amounts of this drug.
Overdose of hydrocodone, especially paired with acetaminophen, can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. Symptoms of overdose include extreme drowsiness, lack of ability to focus, confusion, increased sweating, constricted pupils, vomiting, yellowing of the eyes or skin, fainting, weak pulse, slowed heart rate, breathing difficulty or shallow breathing, blue lips and dark urine.