Hydrocodone is an oral narcotic pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. It comes in the form of tablets, capsules, syrups and solutions. It is commonly used as a combination of hydrocodone and paracetamol, also known as hydrocodone and acetaminophen (hydrocodone acetamine).
Side effects of hydrocodone
Hydrocodone can cause many side effects of varying severity depending on the individual condition and dosage. Common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, and vomiting. Serious side effects include poisoning, decreased respiratory rate, low blood pressure, serotonin syndrome, severe allergic reactions, and liver failure. It can be harmful to babies if used by pregnant women. It is not recommended to use it with alcohol. Hydrocodone works by binding to mu-opioid receptors. It is unclear how paracetamol works, but it is known to block prostaglandin production.
Like other narcotic drugs, hydrocodone can be addictive and sometimes misused for euphoria. Anyone taking this medication should avoid the use of alcohol, cocaine, amphetamine, barbiturate, benzodiazepine, and methylphenidate. When hydrocodone is administered in combination with the contraindications mentioned above, serious side effects such as shortness of breath, organ failure, coma and even death can occur.
Neurological side effects of hydrocodone
Despite normal use, hydrocodone side effects can manifest as a number of bodily reactions and can range from mild to severe. Drowsiness and reduced attention are some of the most common side effects. Therefore, anyone taking hydrocodone should be cautious when driving a vehicle or performing tasks that require concentration. Another common side effect, blurred vision, also requires attention for the same reason. Other typical side effects include thickening of mucus in the nose or throat.
Hydrocodone can also affect the nervous system, causing drowsiness, stupor, dizziness, confusion, excitement, and euphoria. Stupor is a more severe form of drowsiness, and the patient generally lacks cognitive awareness and has no reaction except when subjected to strong stimulation. Like most opioid drugs, hydrocodone will often trigger an exaggerated feeling of pleasure or excitement known as euphoria.
Gastrointestinal side effects of hydrocodone
Gastrointestinal side effects of hydrocodone use include nausea, constipation, dry mouth, and vomiting. In some people, vomiting can be severe enough to require hospitalization. When hydrocodone is made in a compound with acetominophene, side effects may be more severe in some patients, especially those who abuse alcohol or have pre-existing liver or kidney conditions.
Acute pancreatitis is one of the less common side effects experienced by people taking hydrocodone acetaminophen. Alcoholic patients tend to experience higher levels of pancreatitis, as well as hepatotoxicity leading to liver failure. Patients with impaired liver conditions can sometimes develop necrosis due to hepatotoxicity associated with hydrocodone acetaminophen.
Other rare side effects of hydrocodone
Other rare side effects of hydrocodone include erythema skin rash and severe allergic reactions. People with a history of allergies may develop symptoms such as hives, shortness of breath, and swelling of the throat. Although rare, these severe allergic reactions may require emergency treatment.