What Is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is an analgesic used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain.
It is a prescription medicine often given in combination with acetaminophen (a painkiller).
Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opiate manufactured based on opioid substances derived from the poppy plant.
Due to this reason, it has a structure similar to codeine and morphine.
Hydrocodone is available in oral formulations like tablets, capsules, and liquid solutions.
Hydrocodone also comes in an extended-release form prescribed to people requiring all-day pain relief.
The extended-release form of hydrocodone is taken only once a day.
Hydrocodone is metabolized (chemical alteration of the drug in the body) in the liver.
Can You Snort Hydrocodone?
Though hydrocodone is a controlled substance available only by prescription, many people have abused the drug.
Snorting hydrocodone is the new way of abusing the drug and gives a faster high.
Snorting hydrocodone may worsen the side effects due to the drug.
Can You Smoke Hydrocodone?
It is possible to smoke hydrocodone.
Doing so causes small amounts of the drug to enter the nasal tissues and immediately affect the brain.
Smoking hydrocodone may cause side effects like agitation, dizziness, nausea, nervousness, and vomiting.
Which Is Stronger? Hydrocodone Or Oxycodone
Both hydrocodone and oxycodone are equally effective in treating moderate to moderately severe acute and chronic pain.
The differences between the two drugs are minimal.
Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and prescribe the drug they think is the best for you.
Is Tramadol Stronger Than Hydrocodone?
Both tramadol and hydrocodone are prescription opiates used for pain relief.
While hydrocodone is semi-synthetic, tramadol is entirely synthetic.
Since hydrocodone is more potent(or stronger) than tramadol, hydrocodone is the preferred drug of choice in people with severe pain.
Does Hydrocodone Have Codeine In It?
Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opiate that is manufactured from opioids like codeine.
So, hydrocodone does not contain codeine but is derived from it.
For this reason, hydrocodone is structurally similar to codeine.
Why Is Hydrocodone Used?
Hydrocodone is a schedule II- semi-synthetic opioid drug used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain.
It is usually prescribed when non-opioid analgesics (pain-relieving drugs) are ineffective in relieving pain.
Hydrocodone is also the drug of choice in people who require all-day pain relief and cannot be treated using other medications.
Hydrocodone acts by modifying the way your body feels and responds to pain.
Apart from pain relief, hydrocodone is an antitussive (a medication that suppresses cough) and treats nonproductive cough in adults.
How Does Hydrocodone Work?
Hydrocodone binds to opioid receptors in the brain and reduces the sensation of pain by increasing your tolerance for it.
Also, this activity activates the opioid receptors in the brain and increases dopamine production (a neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of reward).
How Long Does It Take For Hydrocodone To Kick In?
If you take immediate-release hydrocodone, the effects of the drug begin to appear within 10 to 20 minutes.
The peak effects of hydrocodone usually occur around 30 to 60 minutes after taking medicine.
Side Effects Of Hydrocodone
Like any other opioid drug, hydrocodone may cause side effects. The most common side effects are:
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Back pain
- Muscle tightening
- Difficulty in urinating or painful urination
- Difficulty in falling asleep
- Ringing in the years
If you experience any of the following side effects on taking hydrocodone, report to your doctor immediately:
- Severe respiratory depression, shortness of breath, respiratory tract infection
- Chest pain, reduced heart rate, and swelling in the feet, ankles, or leg
- Chills, anxiety, hallucinations
- Profuse sweating
- Itching and rash on the face and other parts of the body
- Gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal pain, gastroenteritis
- Urinary tract infection
- Urinary retention
Does Hydrocodone Make You Sleepy?
One of the many side effects of hydrocodone is drowsiness.
This increases when hydrocodone is combined with other opioid drugs, street drugs, or alcohol.
Interactions With Other Drugs
Hydrocodone interacts with some drugs and may cause adverse reactions of aggravated side effects.
Inform your doctor if you are taking medications for the following conditions:
- Cold and allergy
- Respiratory illnesses like COPD, asthma
- Kidney problems that lead to fluid accumulation in the body
- Motion sickness
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Overactive bladder
Hydrocodone And Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
Taking hydrocodone with CNS depressants like benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and other opioids may cause significant sedation and respiratory depression.
Similar effects may also be observed when consuming alcohol with hydrocodone.
Hydrocodone Cytochrome Enzyme Inducers And Inhibitors
If you are taking drugs that induce (like rifampicin, phenytoin, carbamazepine, etc.) or inhibit (such as cimetidine, fluoxetine, etc.) cytochrome enzymes, their dosage must be monitored by your doctor.
Taking these inducers or inhibitors may alter the concentration of hydrocodone in the blood, leading to either reduced effects of the drug or increased side effects.
Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen
Hydrocodone is commonly used in combination with acetaminophen (a non-opioid analgesic). However, their combination may interact with warfarin (a blood thinner) and increase the chances of bleeding.
Can You Take Hydrocodone And Ibuprofen Together?
Hydrocodone and ibuprofen are used together to relieve acute pain that is severe enough that an opioid is necessary.
It is also used when other medications are not effective or tolerated by the patient.
Can You Take Gabapentin With Hydrocodone?
Gabapentin shows severe interaction with hydrocodone, resulting in severe side effects or adverse reactions.
For this reason, these drugs are not taken together.
Can You Take Tramadol And Hydrocodone Together?
Tramadol and hydrocodone are both opioid analgesics.
Taking these two drugs together may result in severe complications like seizures, respiratory depression, coma, and sometimes, even death.
Since both tramadol and hydrocodone are narcotics, taking them together also increases the risk of an overdose.
Can You Take Benadryl With Hydrocodone?
Benadryl is a cough reliever and contains diphenhydramine.
When taken with hydrocodone, Benadryl may increase side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.
In some older people, taking Benadryl with hydrocodone may cause impairment in thinking and motor coordination.
Hydrocodone: Gene-Drug Interactions
The OPRM1 Gene
The opioid receptor mu 1 or OPRM1 gene provides instructions for making the mu-opioid receptor.
Many polymorphisms (or changes) in this gene have been extensively studied as risk factors for opioid addiction.
rs1799971 is a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP in the OPRM1 gene.
Though this SNP is associated with alcoholism, it is also linked to side effects experienced by pregnant women on taking hydrocodone.
Pregnant women with AG and GG genotypes have an increased risk of constipation, respiratory insufficiency, dry mouth, and other side effects when treated with hydrocodone than those with the AA genotype.
Recommendations To Use Hydrocodone
- Medical history
Inform your doctor about your medical history before taking hydrocodone.
- Brain disorders like seizures
- Breathing problems like asthma, sleep apnea, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
- Mental disorders
- Substance use disorder
- Stomach or intestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, paralytic ileus
- Difficulty in urinating
- A disease of the pancreas
- Current medications
Hydrocodone interacts with many medications, causing unwanted adverse reactions and complications.
So, it is best to inform your doctor about any medications, supplements, or herbal formulations you are taking before consuming hydrocodone.
If you are taking any of the following medications, inform your doctor about the same before taking hydrocodone:
- Drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing, such as muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, or medicines used to treat mental health illnesses
- Drugs that affect your body’s serotonin levels, such as stimulants
- Alcohol and marijuana
Consuming alcohol or other habit-forming drugs like marijuana may increase your risk for serious side effects, many of which may be life-threatening.
Avoid drinking alcohol or taking any habit-forming drugs while taking hydrocodone.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Hydrocodone may harm the unborn fetus, and therefore, it is not recommended during pregnancy.
A doctor may prescribe this drug during pregnancy only after evaluating the risks and benefits of taking it.
Hydrocodone passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on your baby, such as drowsiness, depression of the central nervous system, and sometimes even death of the newborn.
For this reason, inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking hydrocodone.
- Can You Drive On Hydrocodone?
Since hydrocodone may cause drowsiness or dizziness in some people, it is best not to drive after taking the drug.
- Can You Drink On Hydrocodone?
If you are taking hydrocodone, it is recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol as it may aggravate the side effects of the drug, many of which can be life-threatening.
- Can Dogs Take Hydrocodone?
Veterinarians use hydrocodone in canines ( members of the dog family) to treat respiratory conditions like cough, bronchitis, bronchial compression, and a collapsed windpipe.
- Genetic testing
Genetic testing allows your doctor to determine the appropriate dosage of hydrocodone for you.
It also helps them understand how your body will react to hydrocodone based on your genetic constitution.
- Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic, prescription opioid analgesic used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain.
- Hydrocodone acts by binding to the opioid mu receptors in the brain and modifying how your brain perceives pain.
- Though a very common pain killer, hydrocodone may cause side effects in some people.
- Hydrocodone interacts with drugs like CNS depressants, cytochrome enzyme inducers, and inhibitors, and must not be combined with them.
- Pregnant women with the AG and GG types show greater side effects on taking hydrocodone than those with the AA genotype.
- It is advisable that you inform your doctor about your medical history, current medications, and habit history before taking hydrocodone.
- Genetic testing helps your doctor understand your risk for side effects with hydrocodone before taking the drug.