What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid prescribed as a narcotic analgesic for moderate to severe pain or as an antitussive for coughs. Because it is a highly addictive narcotic, it is usually combined with other compounds such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, to reduce the intake of the drug. In 15 milligram doses or higher, hydrocodone is classified as a Schedule II narcotic, when compounded with other non-opioid drugs to include less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone, it is classified as a Schedule III narcotic. It was first synthesized in 1920 in Germany and approved for marketing in the Unites States by the Federal Drug Administration in 1943. Since then, there have been several trade names for marketing of the drug and the most recent and common names include; Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, Lorcet-HD, Hycodan, and Vicoprofen.
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How is Hydrocodone Used?
Hydrocodone comes in the form of a tablet, capsule, liquid, or syrup to be taken every 4-6 hours as needed. The drug may be compounded for extended release and is usually taken by mouth. These compounded ingredients are a deterrent from taking too much of the drug and typically cause adverse effects such as nausea and vomiting when done so. It is important to take this drug only as directed because of the high potential of addiction or overdose. Contact your physician if the medical symptoms are not controlled and do not attempt to increase the dosage without the physician’s approval. This medication should never be mixed with alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates or other drugs because severe adverse reactions, including death, may result.
What are the Uses for Hydrocodone?
Uses for hydrocodone range from controlling moderate to severe pain as well as treatment for coughs. The drug is closely related to codeine in structure and has somewhat less potency than morphine. As treatment for pain, the drug provides extended or long-acting release of pain by bonding to the opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. As an antitussive, the drug may be used as a cough suppressant in cases of dry coughs.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Hydrocodone?
When taken as prescribed, hydrocodone has the capability of controlling pain symptoms with less opioid potency than morphine and combined with other analgesics, pain management is controlled more easily while deterring overdoses. The drug is as effective as codeine in controlling coughs. Hydrocodone products are the most frequently prescribed opiates in the United States with over 139 million prescriptions in 2009. Cases for abuse have risen with illicit usages being reported among children and 31 deaths attributed to the drug in that year. High dosages or combinations with other chemicals can cause extreme adverse side effects beyond addiction and death. These severe side effects may include liver or kidney damage, heart failure, coma, seizures, jaundice and respiratory distress along with many other dangerous symptoms.
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