Hydrocodone Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Doctors write prescriptions for many different types of opioids. Although they have medical uses, the drugs cause uncomfortable and dangerous side effects. Among them, hydrocodone side effects may frighten you if you aren’t aware of them. Learning the side effects before taking this opioid could save you from struggling.

What Kind of Drug Is It?

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opiate that manufacturers derive from codeine. It’s a powerful ingredient in several narcotic pain relievers such as Lortab, Norco, and Vicodin. Even so, pharmaceutical companies make extended release versions under the brand names Hysingla ER and Zohydro ER.

Hydrocodone binds to pain receptors in the central nervous system to block pain signals to the brain. At the same time, it creates a euphoric feeling for some people.

Similarly, like other semi-synthetic drugs, this narcotic has a half-life of about four hours for a 10-milligram dose. Because of this, it takes nearly four hours for the body to eliminate half of the drug compounds. However, the drug may remain present in saliva for 12 to 36 hours. Additionally, it’s present in urine for two to four days and stays in your hair for as long as 90 days.

Hydrocodone Side Effects

Unfortunately, the opioid causes a lot of side effects. You should be aware of these before you start taking Hydrocodone. The most common are cold symptoms, constipation, dry mouth, mild drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Others include back pain, dizziness, headache, itching, muscle, stomach pain, and swelling in the hands or feet.

Some people are allergic to the drug. If you experience difficulty breathing, hives or swelling of your face, lips, throat or tongue, seek medical attention immediately. You also need to call a doctor if you feel confused, lightheaded, or experience burning while urinating. Additionally, shallow or weak breathing, severe drowsiness, and tremors require medical attention as well.

Opioid Abuse and Addiction

Most of the time, doctors prescribe opioids, such as Vicodin, for short-term pain treatment. However, some people abuse the drug by crushing pills and snorting the powder. They may also dilute the crushed powder and inject it. Regardless, when they run out of the prescription, they may obtain more pills illegally.

Abusing the drug has immediate effects such as calmness, decreased anxiety, euphoria, happiness, and relaxation. Long-term use or abuse leads to addiction because the chemicals interfere with cognitive pain receptors. Eventually, the brain can’t function without the drugs.

Because of this physical and psychological dependence, people experience withdrawal when they stop using. Overall, symptoms cause discomfort which makes them use again to feel normal. In the throes of addiction, they lose the choice to use and can’t stop without help.

Get Help for Opioid Addiction

It’s never too late to seek help for an addiction, whether it’s opioids or alcohol. Many addiction treatment services are available at 1st Step Behavioral Health, such as:

Don’t waste your life as a victim to a prescription painkiller addiction. If you or a loved one exhibit hydrocodone side effects, overcome substance abuse with our help. Call our quality rehab center at (866) 319-6126 to learn more about our comprehensive, caring programs.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

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