Generic Name: acetaminophen and hydrocodone (a SEET a MIN oh fen and hye droe KOE done)
Brand Names: Anexsia, Dolorex Forte, Hycet, Liquicet, Lorcet, Lortab, Maxidone, Norco, Polygesic, Stagesic, Vicodin, Xodol, Zamicet, Zydone
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin is a tablet containing a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is in a group of drugs called narcotic pain relievers.
Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone.
Vicodin is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.
Vicodin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
Important information about Vicodin
If you are prescribed Vicodin tell your doctor if you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day or if you have ever had alcoholic liver disease (cirrhosis). You may not be able to take medication that contains acetaminophen.
Hydrocodone may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it. Vicodin can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Before taking Vicodin
Do not use Vicodin if you are allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or hydrocodone. Hydrocodone may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Vicodin should never be given to another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
Before using Vicodin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorders;
liver or kidney disease;
a history of head injury or brain tumor;
low blood pressure;
a stomach or intestinal disorder;
Addison's disease or other adrenal gland disorder;
curvature of the spine;
mental illness; or
a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
Tell your doctor if you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day or if you have ever had alcoholic liver disease (cirrhosis). You may not be able to take medication that contains acetaminophen.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Vicodin is harmful to an unborn baby, but it could cause breathing problems or addiction/withdrawal symptoms in a newborn. Before you take Vicodin, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings in more detail
Acetaminophen and hydrocodone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use Vicodin without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take Vicodin?
Take Vicodin exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take it in larger amounts, or use it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
An overdose of acetaminophen can cause serious harm to your liver. The maximum amount of acetaminophen for adults is 1 gram (1000 mg) per dose and 4 grams (4000 mg) per day. One Vicodin tablet may contain up to 750 mg of acetaminophen. Know the amount of acetaminophen in the specific product you are taking.
Drink 6 to 8 full glasses of water daily to help prevent constipation while you are taking Vicodin. Ask your doctor about ways to increase the fiber in your diet. Do not use a stool softener (laxative) without first asking your doctor. You may have withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Vicodin after using it over a long period of time. Do not stop using this medication suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.
This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain urine tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Vicodin.
If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using Vicodin. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Store Vicodin at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Keep track of how many tablets have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Hydrocodone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.
See also: Vicodin dosage in more detail
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since this medication is taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and wait until your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of Vicodin can be fatal.
The first signs of an Vicodin overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, sweating, and confusion or weakness. Later symptoms may include pain in your upper stomach, dark urine, and yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
Overdose symptoms may also include extreme drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, cold and clammy skin, muscle weakness, fainting, weak pulse, slow heart rate, coma, blue lips, shallowbreathing, or no breathing.
What should I avoid while taking Vicodin?
Vicodin can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Do not use any other cold, allergy, pain, or sleep medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as "APAP") is contained in many combination medicines. If you use certain products together you may accidentally use too much acetaminophen. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains acetaminophen or APAP.
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Vicodin. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage while taking acetaminophen. Cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, antidepressants, or seizure medication can add to sleepiness caused by hydrocodone, or could slow your breathing. Tell your doctor if you need to use any of these other medicines while you are taking Vicodin.
Vicodin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Vicodin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
shallow breathing, slow heartbeat;
feeling light-headed, fainting;
confusion, fear, unusual thoughts or behavior;
problems with urination; or
nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious Vicodin side effects may include:
feeling anxious, dizzy, or drowsy;
mild nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, constipation;
headache, mood changes;
ringing in your ears; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Vicodin side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Vicodin?
Before taking Vicodin, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:
an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Etrafon), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil), and others;
an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate);
atropine (Donnatal, and others), benztropine (Cogentin), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), glycopyrrolate (Robinul), mepenzolate (Cantil), methscopolamine (Pamine), or scopolamine (Transderm-Scop);
bladder or urinary medications such as darifenacin (Enablex), flavoxate (Urispas), oxybutynin (Ditropan, Oxytrol), tolterodine (Detrol), or solifenacin (Vesicare);
a bronchodilator such as ipratropium (Atrovent) or tiotropium (Spiriva); or
irritable bowel medications such as dicyclomine (Bentyl), hyoscyamine (Anaspaz, Cystospaz, Levsin, and others), or propantheline (Pro-Banthine).
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with Vicodin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about Vicodin.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and only use Vicodin for the indication prescribed.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects.