Brand Name(s): Norco, Zodol
Drug Class: Opioid Analgesic
Hydrocodone/acetaminophen is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It contains both narcotic and non-narcotic pain relievers. The narcotic pain reliever is hydrocodone whereas the non- narcotic pain reliever is acetaminophen. Hydrocodone/acetaminophen inhibits neuronal activity in the brain responsible for pain recognition. Acetaminophen is also used as an anti-pyretic, meaning it can reduce fever.
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Hydrocodone/acetaminophen is used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. The medicine works because of its two complementary constituents: hydrocodone and acetaminophen, drugs which work by different means. Hydrocodone belongs to a class of drugs known as opioids, which inhibit opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Acetaminophen has a milder pain relieving effect but nonetheless works alongside hydrocodone in augmenting analgesia. Hydrocodone/acetaminophen also comes with a risk of dependency.
- Moderate to Severe Pain
The dosage of hydrocodone/acetaminophen depends on the needs of the patient, and the extent of their pain severity. The dose also depends on whether the patient is taking any additional medications or has an underlying illness.
- Acetaminophen-hydrocodone 300mg-5mg: 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed. Maximum dose 8 tablets daily.
- Acetaminophen-hydrocodone 300mg-7.5 mg: 1 tablet orally 4-6 hours as needed. Maximum dose 6 tablets daily.
- Acetaminophen-hydrocodone 300mg-10mg: 1 tablet orally 4-6 hours as needed. Maximum dose 6 tablets daily.
- 12-15 kg (2-3 years): 3.75ml orally every 4-6 hours. Maximum 22.5 ml divided into 6 doses.
- 16-22kg (4-6 years): 5ml every 4-6 hours. Maximum 30ml divided into 6 doses.
- 21-31kg (7-9 years): 7.5 ml every 4-6 hours. Maximum 45 ml divided into 6 doses.
- 32-45kg (10-13 years): 10 ml every 4-6 hours. Maximum 60ml divided into 6 doses.
- Above 48kg (15-18 years): 15 ml every 4-6 hours. 90ml daily in 6 divided doses.
Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen Side Effects
Like any other drug, hydrocodone/acetaminophen may cause side effects. Patients experiencing severe side effects - including those not listed below - should discontinue the medicine and seek further professional advice. Patients must also be aware that the side effects listed below are not intended to be an exhaustive list. Common side-effects with hydrocodone/acetaminophen include:
- Change in consciousness
- Extreme drowsiness
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
As with many drugs, hydrocodone/acetaminophen is associated with its own range of potential drug interactions. These interactions not only occur with prescription medication but may also occur with over-the-counter formulations - such as herbal remedies and supplements. Patients should inform their doctor of any medication they are currently taking. The list of drug interactions below is not intended to be exhaustive. Patients should consult their doctor or pharmacist if they are concerned about any potential drug interaction.Common drug interactions with hydrocodone/acetaminophen include: