Hydrocodone is used to relieve severe pain. Hydrocodone is only used to treat people who are expected to need medicine to relieve severe pain all the time for a prolonged period and who cannot receive treatment with other medications or treatments. Prolonged-release capsules or hydrocodone prolonged-release tablets should only be used to treat pain that can be controlled with medication taken when necessary. Hydrocodone is in a class of medications called opioid analgesics (narcotics).
This monograph only includes information about the use of hydrocodone alone. If you take a combined hydrocodone product, be sure to read the information about all the ingredients in the hydrocodone combination monograph and ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How Should Hydrocodone Medicines Be Used?
Hydrocodone comes in capsules form. The capsule is usually taken once every twelve hours. Take hydrocodone at about the same time every day. Follow the instructions on the prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take hydrocodone as directed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release capsules or extended-release tablets one at a time with enough water. Do not soak, wet or suck extended-release tablets before putting them in your mouth.
Your doctor will probably start with a low dose of hydrocodone and may gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 3 to 7 days if it is needed to control pain. After taking hydrocodone for a period of time, your body may get used to the medication. If this occurs, your doctor may increase the dose of hydrocodone or may prescribe a different medication to help control your pain. Tell the doctor how you feel during treatment with hydrocodone.
What Other Uses Does This Hydrocodone Pills Have?
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; for more information ask your doctor or pharmacist.
What Special Precautions Should I Follow Before Taking Hydrocodone
- Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to hydrocodone, any other medications, or any of the ingredients that contain extended-release capsules or hydrocodone extended-release tablets. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of ingredients.
- Tell your doctor if you have any of the conditions mentioned in the important warning section, or if you have an obstruction or narrowing of the stomach or intestines, or paralytic ileus (condition in which the digested food does not pass through the intestines). Your doctor may tell you not to take hydrocodone.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had low blood pressure, difficulty urinating, seizures, or thyroid disease, gallbladder, pancreas, liver, or kidney disease. If you are taking extended-release tablets, also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had difficulty swallowing, colon cancer (a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine), esophageal cancer (cancer that begins in the tube that connects the mouth and stomach), heart failure (a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to other parts of the body), or irregular heart rhythm problems, such as QT syndrome (a condition that increases the risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm that can cause fainting or sudden death).
- Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.
- You should know that this medicine can decrease fertility in men and women. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking hydrocodone.
- If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking hydrocodone.
- You should know that hydrocodone can make you sleepy. Do not drive a vehicle or operate machinery until you know how this medicine affects you.
- You should know that hydrocodone can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up very quickly after lying down. This is more common when you start taking hydrocodone for the first time.
- You should know that hydrocodone can cause constipation. Talk to your doctor to change your diet and use other medications to treat or prevent constipation.
What Are The Side Effects That This Hydrocodone Medicine Could Cause?
Hydrocodone May Cause Side Effects
- Stomach ache,
- Dry mouth,
- Back pain,
- Muscle tension,
- Difficult, frequent or painful urination,
- Ringing in the ears,
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep,
- swelling of the feet, legs or ankles,
- Uncontrollable tremor of a body part.
How Should I Store or Dispose of This Medicine?
Keep this medicine in its original container, tightly closed and out of the reach of children. Let any medication that is expired or that you no longer need go into the toilet. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper way to dispose of the medicine.
It is important that you keep all medications out of the sight and reach of children because many containers (such as weekly pillboxes, and those containing ophthalmic drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not proof of small children, who can easily open them. In order to protect them from intoxication, always wear safety covers and immediately place medications in a safe place, one that is up and away from your sight and reach
Symptoms of An Overdose May Include The Following:
- Slow breathing
- Muscular weakness,
- Cold and moist skin,
- Narrowed or widened pupils,
- Slow heartbeat
What Other Important Information Should I Know?
Attend all appointments with your doctor and those in the laboratory. Your doctor will order some laboratory tests to check your body’s response to hydrocodone.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory staff that you are taking hydrocodone.
This prescription cannot be refilled. Be sure to schedule your doctor’s appointments regularly, so you don’t run out of hydrocodone if your doctor wants you to continue using this medication. If you still feel pain after you finish taking the hydrocodone prescription, call your doctor.
It is important that you keep a written list of all the medications you are taking, including those you received with a prescription and those you bought without a prescription, including vitamins and diet supplements. You should have the list every time you visit your doctor or when you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information in emergencies.