5 Most Common Hydrocodone Side Effects
Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller. It is an effective treatment for severe pain when used as prescribed. It does, however, like other opioid drugs cause tolerance and dependency after a few days of use and because of it produces similar effects to morphine and heroin, although less potent, hydrocodone is highly addictive if used frequently, in high amounts, or in abnormal ways of abuse.
Exposure to these medications usually comes after minor surgeries or dental procedures, through family or friends, ease of access on the street, or over the internet. Mistakenly, those who abuse hydrocodone do not think of the drug as dangerous and nothing could be further from the truth.
Hydrocodone products are dangerous if used abnormally or in high concentrations, not only from the opioid content of the drug, but, from the analgesics that common hydrocodone products contain. Using drugs such as Vicodin, which is hydrocodone combined with acetaminophen, increases the risk of unintentional poising from the acetaminophen content. Acetaminophen toxicity causes kidney and liver failure. The same goes for those hydrocodone products containing ibuprofen which can cause bleeding ulcers and hypertension.
Most Common Side Effects
Hydrocodone has many things in common with other opioid drugs. With varying degrees of potency, it is effective in managing pain and causes similar side effects. The most common hydrocodone side effects are:
- Short term side effects are pain relief, euphoria, dizziness, drowsiness, itching, and lightheadedness. In some individuals, respiratory, cardiovascular, and gastric problems may be serious and require immediate medical attention.
- Hydrocodone causes tolerance which can lead to dependency and addiction to the opioid content. Tolerance develops quickly and dependency can occur within a few days. Addiction to hydrocodone may lead to addiction of other opioid drugs and is difficult to recover from.
- Unintentional overdose is a dangerous risk when using too much of a hydrocodone drug. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “In 2011, 33,071 (80%) of the 41,340 drug overdose deaths in the United States were unintentional.”
- Withdrawals will occur when the user develop a dependency or addiction to hydrocodone. Withdrawal symptoms include, intense drug craving, agitation, anxiety, depression, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle aches and bone pain. Depending on the levels of use, many other physical or psychological symptoms can be associated with hydrocodone withdrawal.
- Abuse is a major concern. Once the individual develops a dependency to hydrocodone, they may seek other opioid drugs to satisfy their needs or desires to get “high”. The increased risk from hydrocodone abuse may involve exposure to dangerous activities or other environmental elements such as crime and IV abuse which causes severe health risks including overdose.