Hydrocodone: Details about the Medication

Hydrocodone: Details about the Medication

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a powerful opioid medication used to treat long-term severe pain. It is prescribed by doctors when other opioids are not effective. Hydrocodone works on the brain and central nervous system to relieve pain and suppress coughing. This medication is not suitable for children under six years old and can only be obtained with a valid prescription as part of the Opioid Analgesic REMS program.

What to know before taking Hydrocodone?

Prior to taking hydrocodone, it is important to consider the following:

  • Avoid hydrocodone if you are allergic to it or any of its components, or if you have severe asthma or intestinal blockage.
  • Inform your doctor about any history of sleep apnea, breathing problems, head injuries, mental illness, addiction, liver or kidney disease, or other medical conditions.
  • Hydrocodone should not be used by breastfeeding mothers or pregnant women.

How to take Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all instructions on the prescription label and do not exceed the recommended dosage. It is important to consult your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms while taking this medication.

Hydrocodone is highly addictive, and it is illegal to buy or sell this medication without a prescription. Do not share your medication with others, especially those with a history of drug addiction or abuse. Never crush or break hydrocodone tablets or capsules for inhalation or injection, as this can be fatal.

When discontinuing hydrocodone, consult your doctor to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as yawning, teary eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea, sweating, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Dispose of any leftover medication properly, either through a pharmacist or by flushing it down the toilet.

Hydrocodone Dosage

The dosage of hydrocodone varies depending on factors such as age, symptoms, the severity of the condition, other medical issues, and concurrent medications. The initial average dosages for non-opioid-tolerant patients are as follows:

  • Extended-release tablets: Initial oral dose of 20 mg every 24 hours, with potential dosage increases of 10-20 mg every 24 hours every 3-5 days.
  • Extended-release capsules: Initial oral dose of 10 mg every 12 hours, with potential dosage increases of 10 mg every 12 hours every 3-7 days.


If you experience symptoms of a hydrocodone overdose, seek immediate medical help and contact your doctor. Symptoms may include severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, slowed breathing, and slow heart rate. In case of emergency, call the poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222.

What to avoid while using hydrocodone?

Avoid consuming alcohol or engaging in activities that require alertness and concentration while under the influence of hydrocodone. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery.

Hydrocodone side effects

Common side effects of hydrocodone include cold symptoms, sore throat, tiredness, dizziness, drowsiness, sneezing, headache, constipation, and vomiting. If these symptoms become severe or bothersome, consult your doctor. Other potential withdrawal symptoms include noisy breathing, shallow breathing, pain during urination, confusion, tremors, severe drowsiness, lightheadedness, and loss of appetite.

Seek medical assistance if you experience symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as fever, hallucinations, shivering, loss of coordination, or diarrhea.

What drugs can interact with hydrocodone?

Inform your doctor about all over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, herbal products, and nutritional supplements you are taking or have recently taken. Hydrocodone may interact with cold or allergy medication, breathing medications, motion sickness medication, narcotic medications, sedatives, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication, stimulants, anti-depressants, and other substances.

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