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What is Hydrocodone?

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a narcotic analgesic similar to codeine. It is used to control mild to moderate pain and is also an antitussive (cough-suppressant).

Examples of pain pills that contain hydrocodone as one of their active ingredients include:

  • Vicodin

  • Lortab

  • Lortab 7.5/500

  • Lortab ASA

  • Norco

  • Azdone

  • Damason-P

  • Alor 5/500

  • Vicoprofen

  • Reprexain

  • Ibudone

Hydrocodone is also an ingredient in cold medicines, such as:

  • Tusnel-HC

  • VasoTuss HC

  • Anaplex HD

  • Donatussin MAX

  • Excof

  • Mintex HC

  • Histex HC

  • Z-Tuss 2

  • Tussend

  • Zotex HC

  • Hydex PD

  • Narcof

  • Tussinate

Hydrocodone Effects

Hydrocodone works by blocking pain sensations in the brain, and it produces sensations very similar to morphine. It is a central nervous (CNS) depressant and also depresses the action of the part of the brain that is responsible for the coughing reflex.

Dangers of Hydrocodone Use and Abuse

Like other narcotic (opioid) medications, hydrocodone is highly habit-forming and tolerance building. This means that over time, users have to take more to achieve the same effects. It can cause physical and psychological dependence even when used as prescribed by a doctor.

The lesser restrictions on combination formulas, such as Vicodin, have led to greater abuse of these drugs than pure hydrocodone, which is harder to obtain. Vicodin and similar drugs are widely available through doctor shopping, forging prescriptions, and other avenues. Like its cousin, oxycodone, hydrocodone can cause physical dependence and addiction. In some cases, hydrocodone addiction can be more dangerous because of the additional side effects from acetaminophen.

Common Complications

  • Physical effects — slowed or irregular heartbeat, breathing problems, severe allergic reactions, and nausea.
  • Cognitive impairments — fuzzy thinking and drowsiness.
  • Emotional issues — anxiety and abnormal mood swings.
  • Overdose — slowed or stopped heartbeat, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
  • Death— as a result of overdose, it can be difficult to gauge the safe amount of hydrocodone due to the tolerance-building nature of the drug.

Potential Long-Term Health Risks

  • Hearing loss
  • Liver damage
  • Physical dependence
  • Psychological dependence

Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction

Because hydrocodone is frequently prescribed by doctors for legitimate medical purposes, it can be difficult for users to recognize their abuse or addiction as a problem, as they think of it as doctor-sanctioned and necessary. Unfortunately, it is extremely easy to build up an unhealthy physical and psychological dependence on hydrocodone.

Because of its tolerance-building nature, detox should be done under professional care in a residential facility. Continued treatment to address psychological dependence and spiritual healing are important elements in building a sustainable sober-living plan. Residential hydrocodone addiction treatment, including psychological treatment and counseling, ensures the best chance for long-term abstinence.