Hydrocodone for Pain

Hydrocodone for Pain

Hydrocodone is a commonly used opiate for treatment and management of pain. Hydrocodone is used in combination with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Other combinations are prescribed depending on the intended use(s) such as, moderate to severe pain. This medication requires a doctors prescription.

Common names for hydrocodone combinations include:

  • Lortab
  • Vicodin
  • Norco
  • Hydrocet
  • Vicoprofen
  • Zydone
  • Zohydro ER and Hysingla ER (extended-release forms of hydrocodone)

Hydrocodone for pain changes the way the central nervous system responds

Hydrocodone is always used in combination with at least one other medication. Hydrocodone for pain changes the way the central nervous system responds. A combination used to treat coughing effects reduces the brain activity causing a cough.

Hydrocodone is available in short or long-acting forms. The long-acting variety cannot be taken on an as-needed basis for pain management. It is important to take medications as instructed by the doctor.


Hydrocodone has side effects to be aware of. If symptoms become severe or do not go away contact the doctor immediately. Side effects are as follows:

  • nausea/vomiting
  • mood changes
  • anxiety
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • itching or rash
  • severe constipation
  • confusion
  • dry mouth

Note: if you experience a slowed breathing, irregular breathing or chest tightness seek medical care immediately. Misuse of opioid medications can cause overdose, death, or addiction.


Hydrocodone should not be taken if an allergy exists. In addition, it should be avoided with:

  • severe asthma or breathing problems
  • stomach or intestinal blockage


The doctor should be aware of any history of:

  • lung disease
  • head injury, brain tumor
  • seizures
  • drug or alcohol addiction
  • mental illness


Other medications can affect the way hydrocodone works and enhance side effects. The doctor should be made aware if taking an antibiotic, blood pressure medication(s), seizure medications, or medicines for the treatment of HIV or Hepatitis C.

All Opiates are affected by other medications including other opioids. Sedatives, muscle relaxants, and tranquilizers should be avoided. Some affect serotonin levels making side effects more pronounced.


Breathing problems, sedation, and coma can occur when combining hydrocodone with other medications. Drugs that have dangerous interactions include:

  • benzodiazepines (Xanax, Librium, Klonopin, Diastat, Valium, Ativan, Restoril, Halcion)
  • medications for mental illness
  • medications for nausea
  • other pain medications
  • sedatives, sleeping pills, or tranquilizers
  • alcohol consumption

Risk factors for developing an addiction to hydrocodone (like other opiates) are as follows:

  • Depression or PTSD
  • Family or personal history of addiction
  • Genetic predisposition
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