What is Vicodin&Reg;?

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  • Written By: M. DePietro
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2019
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Vicodin® is a type of pain killer, which is classified as a narcotic. Usually, a drug is considered a narcotic if its additive can cause effects, such as sleepiness or stupor. Vicodin® is the trademarked brand name for the combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone.

Acetaminophen is a common over-the-counter pain reliever. Hydrocodone is a form of codeine, which is considered a narcotic. Vicodin® is available by prescription only. Although the mechanism that takes place is not fully understood, the combination of the two drugs is thought to reduce pain by effecting the pain receptors in the brain.

It may be prescribed for various types of mild to moderate pain, such as pain from surgery, dental work and broken bones. It’s essential that the medication be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Taking higher doses may increase the chances of side effects.

Another reason it’s important to take the medication as prescribed is that it can be addictive for some people if taken for too long. The rate at which an individual will develop a Vicodin® addiction varies. The dosage, frequency and length of time taking the drug all contribute to the chances of addiction.


The medication is taken orally. It comes in a tablet and liquid form in three different dosages. A dose is available containing 500 milligrams(mg) of acetaminophen and 5 mg of hydrocodone, 750mg of acetaminophen and 7.5mg of hydrocodone and 660mg acetaminophen and 10mg hydrocodone. Higher doses may be prescribed if pain is not relieved with a lower dose.

Although not all individuals will experience side effects, they can occur. The most common side effects include, stomach upset, constipation, headache and dry mouth. Rare side effects can also occur including, slowed heart rate, a decrease in breathing, confusion and fainting. Serious side effects should always be reported to a physician immediately.

Certain people may be advised against taking Vicodin®. The medication is classified as a category C drug by the US Food and Drug Administration. This means it may be harmful to an unborn baby.

Taking medications for conditions such as depression, asthma and irritable bowel syndrome may interfere with taking Vicoden®. It’s important to inform a doctor of all other medications taken in order to determine what can be taken safely together. Also, individuals who drink several alcoholic beverages each day may be advised not to take Vicodin®; the acetaminophen in the drug combined with the alcohol may lead to liver damage. Alcohol also increases drowsiness, which may occur as a side effect of the medication.


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Post 5

All narcotics are over prescribed. My husband has been on too many for too long. He is immune to most of them and when he had his fifth back surgery he had to be placed almost in a severe comatose state to bear the pain.

He has been on Percocet, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Demerol, Vicodin, Roxicet, etc. He has had injections to his back for years and after talking to the man who invented the injections I was informed if two or three do not help, they should seek other treatment because it weakens their bones.

These pain management clinics keep treating because it keeps their business. It is pain management, not pain for life. What is wrong with the

doctors in the world and why do we allow our loved ones to be so out of it in order to tolerate their pain? Then one day, they are no longer who they were because their brains are destroyed, their bodies, hearts and souls. Then where are those great doctors.
Post 4

@ Comparables- I believe that such an addictive drug warrants that type of stigma. I live in a town where there are numerous cases of prescription drug abuse, and kids are falling out at an alarming rate. We had break-ins at three of the six pharmacies in our town, all looking for prescription drugs. We have also had instances where doctors were abusing their duties and prescribing drugs in exchange for things like sexual favors, money, etc. I wish there were painkillers on the market that were as effective but far less addictive because I hate seeing my community destroyed by questionably safe, albeit highly effective, pain medications.

Post 3

@ Aplenty- that could well be a reasonable dose of lortabs. I was 16 when I had my wisdom teeth out, and the extraction of one of my top teeth broke my jaw. The doctor prescribed me the same amount of lortabs with two refills. I think that pain is a very subjective matter, and large doses of painkillers can be warranted depending on the situation. I believe that there is a big problem with prescription medicine abuse, but at the same time, people have a legitimate need for relief of chronic pain. The quality of someone's life should not be subject to stigma that prevents many doctors form accurately addressing pain.

Post 2

@ Alchmey- That seems a little extreme for tooth extractions. My wisdom teeth were severely impacted, and I was only prescribed 5mg hydrocodones and some ibuprofen 800mg tabs. I also have TMJ and I am only prescribed Hydrocodone 7.5mg tabs when I have a bad flare up (bad enough to cause dislocation). If I were that doctor, I would be careful prescribing such high doses to children. I would think that a controlled narcotic like that would warrant a much more frugal prescription. Who knows though how bad the pain was or how intense the surgery was. If there was some serious work done, it could be well justified.

Post 1

A friend of my family had an oral surgeon prescribe 30 hydrocodone 10mg pills to her son for removal of wisdom teeth. I thought this was a little on the extreme side, but I am not sure. Does anyone know if this is a normal prescription for wisdom tooth pain?

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