Potential Long Term Side Effects of Hydrocodone
Hydrocodone is an opioid medication prescribed to treat severe and chronic pain or as an antitussive for coughs. Because the opioid content of hydrocodone is highly addictive, it is often combined with other analgesic compounds such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to enhance the pain relieving properties and discourage recreational abuse. In 2014, Zohydro ER was approved as a pure hydrocodone product available in doses of 10mg to 50 mg and while the medication is intended for around the clock pain management of the most severe pain, its availability is extremely controversial.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States and is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other licit or illicit opioid.” Various hydrocodone products come in tablets, capsules, or syrup and some common brands are Vicodin, Lortab, and Lorcet. On the street, the pills are known as hydros, norcos, and vikes. Abuse of these products can cause many physical and psychological health problems although they are sometimes, thought of as safer than other opioid drugs.
Dangers of Hydrocodone
Hhydrocodone can cause tolerance, dependency, addiction, overdose, and withdrawals when suddenly discontinued. Hydrocodone products, however, present additional dangers when they are used in high amounts, frequently, or for a long time.
Acetaminophen toxicity from hydocodone products is responsible for an increasing number of liver and kidney failures. Once the person’s opioid tolerance reaches a certain level, they need to consume abnormally high amounts of the traditional hydrocodone to achieve their desired effect. At the same time, they are dangerously consuming too much of the other compounds. Ibuprofen can cause stomach ulcers or bleeding, raised liver enzymes, fluid retention, and hypertension which are also very dangerous side effects.
Other Potential Long Term Side Effects of Hydrocodone
Physically, hydrocodone use can deteriorate a person’s health in many ways. Repeat disruptions in the brain and central nervous can impact the way a person takes care of themselves. They are more likely to disregard physical symptoms of illness which could be serious and they are more likely to have unhealthy eating and sleeping habits which can affect their ability to fight infections and illness, leading to more complications. Brain damage, cardiac problems and circulatory problems are also potential long term side effects of hydrocodone.
While these drugs are usually taken orally and not intravenously injected, they often lead to abuse of other opioid drugs by intravenous injection which can cause diseases such as HIV, AIDs, or Hepatitis.
Psychological impairments of memory loss, cognitive disabilities, anxiety disorders and other psychiatric problems often occur from opioid addiction. The relationship between mental health and opioid abuse is complex and the abuse can aggravate underlying mental health problems or cause the user to disregard important medical attention to any coexisting psychological problems.