Overview On Hydrocodone - Acetaminophen Pills
Today we are going to go quite a bit in-depth about a medication that is very widely used around the world because of its effectiveness. The name of this drug is Hydrocodone. Since this is a very powerful synthetic compound its usage should not be taken lightly and there are understandably many questions that may arise, such as what is hydrocodone? what is hydrocodone used for? what is in hydrocodone? is hydrocodone an opioid? what does hydrocodone do? how does hydrocodone work? This and very many other questions will be addressed here so that you will have all the information you need about this drug should you ever need it.
What is Hydrocodone (Acetaminophen)?
This is probably one of the best places to start, we should explain what this is before moving forward, so let’s get right into it. Exactly what is hydrocodone? Hydrocodone is a pharmaceutical compound synthesized out of the Opium Poppy developed and first patented in the year 1923, it belongs to the Opioid family and shares its characteristics with the other members of it. It is sold under a few different brand names and it is very widely used, especially in the United States, where Hysingla is the hydrocodone brand name that is most well-known and it is one of the most prominent Prescription Opioids.
We will go into more detail below, but this compound is basically used for two purposes:
- The first one and most important is pain relief, because of its power to reduce pain symptoms this medication is of very common use in chronic pain situations or where other drugs prove ineffective.
- The other application of Hydrocodone is as a cough suppressant in adults.
In all cases, it is taken orally. It is often administered as hydrocodone acetaminophen and this specific drug combination goes by other brand names.
It should be noted that as an Opioid there are a few known side effects and we will discuss them further down, also it is very important to note that this medication may produce a dependency, and sudden interruption of treatment may induce an Opioid withdrawal episode, so this medication is to be treated with careful consideration and always with the help of your doctor.
Why Hydrocodone Pills Are Used?
Let us now discuss hydrocodone effects and what is it used for. As we briefly mentioned above this drug is mainly used for the purpose of alleviating severe pain. It is a drug that is incredibly potent and has shown time and time again to be very effective where many other substances have no effect or very little effect to be seen. Because of this reason, it is very widely spread among care-givers as a great tool to manage situations that would otherwise be very hard to control. Of course, having such a powerful tool at our disposal does not come freely, because there are a few concerns that need to be addressed if hydrocodone will be our primary means of dealing with severe pain.
Pain relief is a very big deal for patients, doctors, health-professionals in general and relatives of the patient. It can seem at times that if the patient is able to manage the pain symptoms a permanent solution to the illness is near to be found. The psychological effect alone that being in control of your pain has is enough to consider all sorts of options, and Opioids are not the exception to this. When dealing with crippling pain that prevents a patient from getting treatment of their injuries, or doing the proper required recovery work hydrocodone becomes a powerful tool in the hands of a competent professional that is aware of the risks and can help the patient through the journey.
With proper pain management, many doors towards recovery start to open, and the patient can start to have hope even in the face of the worst of illnesses, this is particularly true with illnesses such as cancer, which can take a very high toll on an individual’s overall health and outlook.
All of the very effective ways in which hydrocodone works to help mitigate pain are certainly worth it to deal with all the potential dangers that it posses, and even though the so-called Opioid Epidemic is in full blast these days, hydrocodone should not be overlooked simply because of this fact. With responsible use and the aid of your doctor, you can help reduce the risks considerably and get all the benefits while avoiding the common traps that are associated with an Opioid of this nature. Let’s dive into how exactly it works so we can have a better understanding of the underlying process.
How Does Hydrocodone – Acetaminophen Works on Body?
Thanks to the great medical advances of the last few decades, coupled with the fact that this drug has been around for a very long time, we are in a position to be able to understand quite well the process by which hydrocodone works. Being an Opioid we know that we should expect to see it behave inside the body the way any other related product would, and that is exactly the case here. Since hydrocodone is only available via the mouth in every case it gets absorbed orally. Even though the oral bioavailability of this substance is only 25 percent it is very well absorbed by the body. It is believed that a hydrocodone dosage of 10 milligrams is equal to the same amount of milligrams worth of morphine.
Let’s take a look at hydrocodone’s life cycle within the human body, this information can be helpful to have when using this medication, so that the patient knows exactly what they can expect from ingesting a hydrocodone pill.
So how long does it take for hydrocodone to kick in? Hydrocodone will usually start to take effect between 10 and 20 minutes after it is first ingested that is, depending on the person that is taking it. After that, the peak effect will happen between 30 minutes and 60 minutes. At this point is when we should expect to see the greatest amount of pain relief in the patient. On most patients, we will find that hydrocodone will remain active for at least 4 hours, but it can easily continue to display its effects for twice as much that time. Of course, all of these timeframes are an average that comes from noting the different ways in which the drug behaves in different people and they should only be taken as a reference.
You should be mindful of the specific way in which this substance affects your own particular body whenever taking it. Hydrocodone binds to plasma in a range of 20 to 50 percent, and it travels through the blood to get to every cell in the body. There are two important questions to answer also, and these are: how long does hydrocodone stay in urine? and how long does hydrocodone stay in your blood? The answers are that it will stay in your blood in a detectable way for 24 hours, but in your urine, it will remain for a total of four days.
Side Effects of Hydrocodone Tablets
There are many potential known side effects to this drug and we will list all of them here, it should be noted that just because it is possible to see these it doesn’t mean that you will actually have to experience them since many patients never actually do. Still, it is a good idea to know them to be aware of what could happen when you take this drug. A common question that we will answer before going into the rest of the side effects is: does hydrocodone make you sleepy? The answer is that yes, it may make you sleepy and it is actually recommended not to operate any heavy machinery under its influence, now on to the rest of the side effects. This list contains the less severe side effects that are known happen to patients consuming this drug.
- Nausea and vomiting. It can be hard to keep control over the stomach sometimes with this medication.
- Constipation. Patients may experience difficulty in this regard.
- Drowsiness is the sleepiness that we were discussing above.
- Dizziness and/or Lightheadedness is another possibility.
- Abnormally happy or sad mood.
- Dry throat.
- Difficulty urinating.
- Rash and Itching, in general, may occur also.
- Contraction of the pupils, this is a telltale sign of Opioid usage in general.
In addition to all of these, there is a serious side effect that is possible to experience when consuming Hydrocodone, and that is slow or irregular breathing, with chest tightness. Patients with asthma should be particularly vigilant about this possibility, and that is why the assistance of a physician in choosing the right drug for your situation, in particular, is of such great importance. Your doctor will always know to check for this and find an alternative if that is required.
Hydrocodone (Acetaminophen) Interaction With Other Medications
This is a very serious concern that should be handled by a doctor. You should never mix medications without informing your physician and you should always inform them of everything you take. Taking this drug mixed with alcohol and other suppressants could be lethal as well.
There are many other drugs such as paracetamol that are mixed with hydrocodone to increase its effectiveness, and this usually has no added side effects or dangers, but you should be aware that there may be some new concerns in this regard occasionally and you should be proactive in your search for information about this topic.
Given that long term use of hydrocodone is often the norm this drug is prone to interact with other medications that aid to treat the actual disease or illness, because its usage is related only to pain management it seems like hydrocodone is destined to be mixed with other treatments, and those often include one or several other drugs. There are many resources online nowadays that list a few of the interactions, but this aspect of your treatment should always be addressed by your doctor, they are the ones that have the fullest information and all the experience to handle all your concerns. Do not hesitate to bring up anything that may be on your mind regarding drug interactions because the doctor is depending on you to keep them informed about this, there is no way they can know what goes on on your daily life if you are not the one who tells them. We often self-medicate without thinking much of it, but while ongoing a long term treatment such as one with hydrocodone could be we should be extremely careful not to do this without proper guidance.
Another good source of information is the label on your prescription medication’s label. You should always take a deep and careful look at the information presented to you in the drug’s label since you are the person that is most aware of what goes into your body. If any concerns should arise while reading it you should immediately consult your doctor for clarification after all doctors are human too and are able to make mistakes, you should take a proactive stance on this aspect of your health.
The good thing is that since this drug has been used for so long and is so well-known there aren’t many instances where you will find yourself in uncharted waters regarding drug interactions here. The opioid family of substances has been very thoroughly studied and continues to be so, this means that doctors and health-care providers, in general, are very aware of all the interactions that an error, although possible is very unlikely.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is that since this is a drug that is prone to abuse there will be many checks throughout its life-cycle and interactions with other drugs is no exception here, this is constantly being looked at to discover new applications, but also to remain vigilant regarding possible dangerous situations related to this drug.
According to the label on a particular brand of hydrocodone: patients receiving other narcotics, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antianxiety agents, or other CNS depressants (including alcohol) concomitantly with it may experience an additive CNS depression. This is to be carefully considered to avoid undesired outcomes or complications.
In summary, always consult your doctor and stay attentive to the information on the drug’s label to make sure that you are not taking any unnecessary risks regarding this type of medication, since it is very powerful but also very much dangerous if not used properly and with responsibility. Hopefully, you will not come across any of these difficulties.
Hydrocodone Dosage Information
It should always be clear that taking any kind of prescription medication drug is not to be done lightly, it has to be prescribed by a professional that knows exactly what the drug does, how it interacts with other medications, the potential side-effects of it, the reaction of a patient’s body to it, the context in which it is administered and a lot of other factors. You should never self-medicate and you should be especially careful not to do so with an Opioid such as this. As we discussed before there are several side effects of hydrocodone and any one of those could be a great problem to have to deal with.
After you are sure that the drug is right for you and your physician has cleared all the doubts that you may have related to it and its application within your particular treatment the way you take this drug is as follows:
It is always administered via the mouth because pills or capsules are the only formats in which it is available, which means that you will have to take it with some water. Unless your doctor specifies anything there are no explicit instructions as to whether you have to take it with an empty stomach, or if you should take it with or without a piece of something solid to pass it down better.
You should always consult the instructions on the drug itself to make sure that the particular brand that was prescribed to you doesn’t have any special indications regarding how to take this pill. Since it is usually the case that Hydrocodone is taken regularly these kinds of details can make a big difference, and even though the drug will still remain effective, properadministration of it on a regular basis will ensure that you avoid any unnecessary complications that may derive from taking a pill in an incorrect way.
Warnings To Read Before Taking Hydrocodone?
We have already gone into some of the hydrocodone side effects that can appear when taking this drug, we will now have to dive into a few warnings that are of great importance and deserve special consideration and reminding.
The first one is that, since this drug is an opioid it has the potential to generate a very strong dependency and addiction. This is a very serious concern that is actually afflicting an important size of the population of the United States as we speak. The addictive nature of hydrocodone has been compared to that of heroin itself and one should be extremely careful, especially if one is forced to take this drug as a means towards pain relief on a daily basis.
There are unfortunately not many steps that can be taken to prevent this if one has an addictive personality and a proclivity towards addiction perhaps the only real solution to this problem would be to avoid the drug altogether, but there may be no effective ways to deal with the pain that it is prescribed for since its effectiveness is greater than most of the other drugs available at the moment.
You may experience a hydrocodone high. This may be disconcerting if you have never experienced it before, but it should pose no real danger unless you are outside your home or using heavy machinery.
Another warning that should be taken into consideration is that, as mentioned before, hydrocodone can suppress breathing. Asthma patients should be extremely careful about starting a treatment with this drug because of this.
Last warning is the danger of overdose. Overdosing can be fatal and there is no overstating the importance of careful management of pills to avoid an accident that may cause a life, it can be easy sometimes to lose track of all the pills in the house if one is going through a long term treatment, but steps should be taken to prevent this kind of error, since accidental overdosing is a very real danger that could end in a tragedy. All the necessary steps should be taken to avoid it.
There are, as we have seen many indications, counter-indications and a lot of different considerations regarding this drug, it is mainly used for pain relief and that is the main reason for its prescription. It will always have to be done by a licensed physician, and state checks are getting harder on this kind of activity. You should always make sure that you are within the confines of the law regarding your activities related to this drug since the potential for drug abuse make it a target of people looking to profit from it in an illegal way. There are many other ways in which the drug is prescribed outside the simple hydrocodone prescription, and these often combine it with other drugs. The main hydrocodone ingredients always remain the same though, so there should not be anything new in this regard since the drug will behave in the same way whether it is taken in combination with another or by itself. A very common combination is the hydrocodone together with paracetamol. There are no extra hydrocodone/paracetamol side effects that are known at the moment so there is no reason for that to be a concern.
Hydrocodone is a very powerful drug that comes with a caveat: it should be very carefully used and monitored because even though it is effective in situations where almost no other pharmaceutical product can be it can also be dangerously addictive and create a dependency. If done right treatment with this drug can change a patient’s life and even save it by providing the much-needed relief to pain to be able to move forward with other parts of a patients fight against a debilitating disease. Hopefully, these pitfalls can be avoided to get the maximum benefit out of this incredible drug.