Hydrocodone or dihydrocodeinone (marketed as Vicodin, Anexsia, Dicodid, Hycodan, Hycomine, Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Tussionex, Vicoprofen) is an opioid derived from either of the naturally occurring opiates codeine or thebaine. Hydrocodone is an orally active narcotic analgesic and antitussive. The typical therapeutic dose of 5 to 10 mg is pharmacologically equivalent to 30 to 60 mg of oral codeine. Sales and production of this drug have increased significantly in recent years, as have diversion and illicit use. more...
Hydrocodone is commonly available in tablet, capsule and syrup form.
As a narcotic, hydrocodone relieves pain by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. It may be taken with or without food, but should never be combined with alcohol. It may interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors, as well as other drugs that cause drowsiness. It is in FDA pregnancy category C: its effect on an unborn embryo or fetus is not clearly known and pregnant women should consult their physicians before taking it. Common side effects include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, drowsiness, euphoria, vomiting, and constipation. Some less common side effects are allergic reaction, blood disorders, changes in mood, mental fogginess, anxiety, lethargy, difficulty urinating, spasm of the ureter, irregular or depressed respiration and rash.
Hydrocodone can be habit-forming, and can lead to physical and psychological addiction. In the U.S., pure hydrocodone and forms containing more than 15 mg per dosage unit are considered Schedule II drugs. Those containing less than 15 mg per dosage unit are Schedule III drugs. Hydrocodone is typically found in combination with other drugs such as paracetamol (acetaminophen), aspirin and homatropine methylbromide. In the UK it is listed as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The presence of acetaminophen in hydrocodone-containing products deters many drug users from taking excessive amounts. However, some users will get around this by extracting a portion of the acetaminophen using hot/cold water, taking advantage of the water-soluble element of the drug. It is not uncommon for addicts to have liver problems from taking excessive amounts of acetaminophen over a long period of time--taking 10–15 grams of acetaminophen in a period of 24 hours typically results in severe hepatotoxicity. It is this factor that leads many addicts to use only single entity opiates such as OxyContin.
Symptoms of hydrocodone overdosage include respiratory depression, extreme somnolence, coma, stupor, cold/clammy skin, sometimes bradycardia, and hypotension. A severe overdose may involve circulatory collapse, cardiac arrest and/or death.
- ^ Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia.
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