Vicodin

Vicodin is a combination medicine used for moderate to severe pain. It contains a narcotic, hydrocodone, and acetaminophen. If it causes an upset stomach, try taking it with food.

Playlist
Now Playing
Pharmacist Teresa Brucker, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Vicodin
Opioid Analgesics
Next Video
Opioid Analgesics
Vicodin
Vicodin
Pharmacist Teresa Brucker, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Vicodin
Opioid Analgesics
Opioid Analgesics
Pharmacist Trey Robinson, PharmD summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the Opioid Analgesics class of medications

Vicodin Overview

Reviewed: August 14, 2012
Updated: 

Vicodin is an prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain.

It is a single product containing 2 medications: hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The hydrocodone part of Vicodin belongs to a class of drugs called opiates. These help to reduce pain by inhibiting pain signals sent to your brain.

The acetaminophen part of Vicodin helps to reduce pain and fever by inhibiting the production of certain chemicals in the brain and inhibiting pain signals sent to your brain.

Vicodin is available as a tablet, a solution, and an elixir and is typically given every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain with or without food.

Common side effects include constipation, and nausea. Vicodin can also cause dizziness and drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Vicodin affects you.

Patient Ratings for Vicodin

How was your experience with Vicodin?

First, a little about yourself

Tell us about yourself in a few words?

What tips would you provide a friend before taking Vicodin?

What are you taking Vicodin for?

Choose one
  • Other

How long have you been taking it?

Choose one
  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

How well did Vicodin work for you?

Did you experience many side effects while taking this drug?

How likely would you be to recommend Vicodin to a friend?

Vicodin Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Vicodin

Vicodin is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 

Manufacturer

Vicodin Drug Class

Vicodin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Vicodin

Serious side effects have been reported with Vicodin. See the "Vicodin Precautions" page.

Common side effects of Vicodin include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness

This is not a complete list of Vicodin side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Vicodin Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • Medications that use the enzyme CYP3A4 such as budesonide (Entocort), astemizole (Hismanal), cisapride (Propulsid), cyclosporine (Neoral, Gengraf, Sandimmune), darifenacin (Enablex), dihydroergotamine (Migranal), fentanyl (Abstral, Fentora, Onsolis, Actiq), pimozide (Orap), quinidine (Cardioquin, Duraquin, Quinact), sirolimus (Rapamune), tacrolimus (Prograf), terfenadine (Seldane), fluticasone (Flovent HFA, Flonase), eletriptan (Relpax), lovastatin (Mevacor), quetiapine (Seroquel), sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio), and simvastatin (Zocor)
  • Warfarin
  • Isoniazid
  • Naltrexone
  • Other opiate or analgesic medications

Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication. This is not a complete list of Vicodin drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Vicodin Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with Vicodin including the following:

  • A decline in liver function. Tell your healthcare provider about any signs or symptoms of liver damage, which include the following:
    • loss of appetite or start losing weight (anorexia)
    • nausea or vomiting
    • feel tired
    • stomach pain or tenderness
    • dark urine or light colored stools
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
    • fever or rash
  • Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Tell your doctor right away if you have any unusual bleeding, such as nosebleeds, or bruising under your skin.
  • Respiratory depression. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any difficulty breathing.
  • Severe skin reactions. Severe skin reactions may happen after treatment with Vicodin, especially if you have lymphoma in or under your skin. If your skin reactions are severe, they may lead to serious illness or death. Tell your doctor right away if you have of any of the following skin reactions:
    • rash
    • peeling and loss of skin
    • sores
    • blisters

Vicodin can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Vicodin affects you.

Do not take Vicodin if you:

  • Have a hypersensitivity to acetaminophen, hydrocodone, or to any other component of the product.
  • Have a hypersensitivity to other opioids 

Vicodin Food Interactions

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Vicodin and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Inform MD

Before taking Vicodin, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • Are allergic to Vicodin or to any of its ingredients
  • Have liver disease
  • Have a history of drug abuse
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Vicodin and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Vicodin falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Vicodin and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Lactation studies with Vicodin therapy have not been done in humans. Acetaminophen is excreted in human milk in small amounts; however, it is unknown if hydrocodone is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse effects in nursing infants, a decision should be made to discontinue nursing or discontinue Vicodin.

Vicodin Usage

Take Vicodin exactly as prescribed. Vicodein comes in tablet, solution, and elixir and is typically taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain. The oral solution of Vicodin should be measured using a medication dropper or other calibrated measuring implement. Alcohol may intensify some of the side effects of this medication.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Vicodin at the same time.

Vicodin Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  •  the condition being treated
  •  other medical conditions you have
  •  other medications you are taking
  •  how you respond to this medication
  •  your weight
  •  your height
  •  your age

Vicodin doses are also determined by how much pain medication you have recently been taking. Doses are typically started at hydrocodone 5 mg / acetaminophen 325 mg taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The maximum dose of acetaminophen recommended by the FDA is 4000 mg/day.

Vicodin Overdose

If you take too much Vicodin, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away. 

Other Requirements

  • Store Vicodin at room temperature. 
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking this medication.

Vicodin FDA Warning

Acetaminophen has been associated with cases of acute liver failure, at times resulting in liver transplant and death. Most of the cases of liver injury are associated with the use of acetaminophen at doses that exceed 4000 mg per day, and often involve more than one acetaminophen-containing product