Vicodin is a prescription drug that combines the pain reliever acetaminophen with the narcotic hydrocodone and is used primarily for moderate to severe pain. Vicodin is a powerful pain killer and has the potential to become quite addictive. In fact, it is being seen on the streets more frequently as a money making drug as more and more people become addicted to it.
Like other prescription drugs, Vicodin has side effects which may include:
- Dry mouth
- Ringing in the ears
- Decrease in heartbeat
- Loss of appetite
Serious side effects include jaundice, seizures, giant hives, and kidney problems. You can find an exhaustive list of side effects here.
There are withdrawal symptoms associated with Vicodin when you stop taking the medication, even if you’ve only taken it for a couple of weeks. Withdrawal symptoms will also depend on the strength of your prescription. It is best to consult with your physician before abruptly stopping your medication, as a gradual reduction is recommended.
- Early symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Muscle aches
- Trouble sleeping
- Later symptoms:
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Vicodin withdrawal is not generally considered to be life threatening, but be careful to guard against dehydration if you experience diarrhea and vomiting.
It is absolutely possible to overdose on Vicodin. Vicodin overdoses are more prevalent when someone stops taking the medication and then begins taking the medication at a later time. What happens during withdrawal is that your body reduces it tolerance for Vicodin, so if you happen to start taking the drug again at a later date, the strength of the drug could be too much for your body and you could overdose.
- Most doctors recommend patients to take 1 to 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours. The strengths of Vicodin include:
- Vicodin 5/300 (Contains 5 mg hydrocodone and 300 mg acetaminophen)
- Vicodin ES 7.5/300 (Contains 7.5 mg hydrocodone and 300 mg acetaminophen)
- Vicodin 10/300 (Contains 10 mg hydrocodone and 300 mg acetaminophen)
It is very important not to consume alcohol or other sedatives while taking Vicodin, as it can lead to confusion and increased drowsiness.
- Nursing mothers should not take Vicodin.
- Those that have taken MAO inhibitors in the last two weeks should not use Vicodin, as a dangerous drug interaction could occur.
- Only take as prescribed, as an overdose of acetaminophen can cause liver damage or death.
- Do not take Vicodin if you have liver disease or if you drink in excess of three drinks per day.
- Do not take Vicodin if you have a prior drug addiction history.
Vicodin is a great prescription drug for pain, but it can also be habit forming. If you feel like you have an addiction to Vicodin, be sure to reach out for some help. There are substance abuse professionals eager to assist you in getting off of Vicodin and getting on with your life clean and free from pain pills. There are detox and rehab centers with experienced staff to assist you through the withdrawal process and give you the support and tools that you need for recovery. You can also attend a 12 step recovery group that will do the same.
The first step in treating presciption drug abuse and addiction is to recognize and admit that you have a problem. Know that it’s alright to admit that and take that first step today and reach out for help.
About the Author: Dominica Applegate is an author, writer, personal development and relationship expert. She has a deep passion for discovering and sharing authentic spiritual truth. She has been discovering herself under all sorts of odd layers and loves to share her stories and lessons learned with anyone that will listen. She loves reading, contemplating, nature, family time, and traveling. Connect with Dominica at her website and Facebook.