What is acetaminophen-hydrocodone?
Acetaminophen-hydrocodone is a prescription medication. As an opioid, it’s a controlled substance. It comes as an oral tablet and an oral solution.
Acetaminophen-hydrocodone oral tablet is available as the brand-name drugs Norco and Vicodin. It’s also available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less than brand-name drugs. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.
This medication is a combination of two or more drugs in a single form. It’s important to know about all the drugs in the combination because each drug may affect you in a different way.
Can You Buy Hydrocodone Online?
Hydrocodone is a popular drug for sale at “online pharmacies, “as reported by Managing Director Robert J. Cramer of the Office of Special Investigation with the General Accounting Office (GAO) to the U.S. Senate, in a 2004 transcript. Noted in the testimony:
Hydrocodone was easily obtainable online.
Customers had minimal barriers to acquire hydrocodone. At most, they had to fill out a short survey about their need for the drug and possibly had to speak on the phone with a representative to discuss why the drugs were being purchased.
Despite what these online pharmacies claimed, they did not require a legitimate prescription or enough details from customers to possibly deem it safe or medically necessary to send the customer the drug.
Though this was in 2004, many such sites still exist. Remember that regardless of how legitimate a site may appear, if you are purchasing prescription drugs without needing a prescription, you are committing a crime (as is the seller).
Online prescriptions are almost universally illegitimate. You must be physically examined by a doctor to determine if your pain warrants something as strong as an opioid painkiller.
While it is possible to purchase hydrocodone online, it is a bad idea and illegal. In addition to legal penalties, you run the risk of receiving contaminated or fake drugs that put you at risk for serious physical harm.
The above testimony states that these illegal sites sold hydrocodone for a higher price than it goes for legitimately. This was taken as a sign that both the seller and most consumers know that what they are doing is illegal. The markup helped to justify the risk of the crime and took advantage of the cravings of the consumer.
In other instances, scam pharmacies will offer hydrocodone at incredibly low prices. This is usually a sign that the drug is fake.
What they do
Each is available with a prescription. Codeine and hydrocodone are prescribed for different types of pain. Codeine is typically used for mild to moderate pain, while hydrocodone is more potent and used for more severe pain.
Forms and dosage
Codeine is available in immediate-release oral tablets. They come in 15-mg, 30-mg, and 60-mg strengths. Your doctor will usually direct you to take them every four hours as needed.
Hydrocodone is also available in immediate-release oral tablets, but only when it is combined with acetaminophen. These tablets are available in 2.5-mg, 5-mg, 7.5-mg and 10-mg strengths of hydrocodone. Typically, you take a tablet every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain.
By itself, though, hydrocodone is only available in extended-release oral tablets. These come in many strengths that range from 10 mg to 120 mg. Some of the extended-release tablets you take every 12 hours, and some you take every 24 hours, depending on the product. The higher strengths are only given to people who have been taking hydrocodone for a long time and who no longer get relief from the lower strengths.
For either drug, your doctor will probably start you off at the lowest possible dose. Then your doctor can adjust strength and dosage according to your pain.
Side effects of each
You may have some side effects when taking codeine or hydrocodone. Common side effects of both drugs include:
nausea and vomiting
Codeine may also cause:
shortness of breath
On the other hand, hydrocodone can also cause:
loss of appetite
Most of these side effects will lessen with time. Side effects of both drugs are more likely or can be more intense in certain cases. These include if you are an older adult, if you have kidney or liver disease, or if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other chronic diseases.
Codeine and hydrocodone are both very effective at relieving pain. Misuse of these drugs, including giving them to someone who isn’t prescribed them, can have dangerous consequences.
High doses and excessive use of either drug can cause additional side effects. It can increase your risk of urinary retention, infections, and liver damage.
Due to the potential for overdose and abuse, all hydrocodone products were moved to a new category by the Food and Drug Administration in 2014. Instead of simply calling your hydrocodone prescription in to the pharmacist, your doctor must now give you a written prescription that you need to take to the pharmacy.
Long-term use of codeine and hydrocodone can lead to dependence. You may experience temporary symptoms of withdrawal when you stop taking either medication, especially if you’ve used them for a long time. Tell your doctor right away if you have withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking either of these drugs.
Extended-release hydrocodone can be fatal for children. Taking even one tablet can be fatal.Keep your prescription medications locked and away from children.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you take, including vitamins and supplements, before you begin taking either medication. Opioids affect your central nervous system, so it’s dangerous to mix them with other medications that slow down the brain. These drugs may include:
anticholinergic drugs, such as antihistamines or drugs used for urinary spasms muscle relaxers
sedatives, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills
antiseizure medications, such as carbamazepine and phenytoin
You can find a more detailed list of interactions for both drugs at the interactions for codeine and hydrocodone.