Monday March 30th 2015

Can you overdose (OD) on hydrocodone?

Can you overdose (OD) on hydrocodone?

Yes, you can overdose on hydrocodone.

But it’s difficult to overdose on hydrocodone alone. Hydrocodone overdose prognosis is generally good as long as your breathing has not been compromised.  In fact, it’s more likely that other drugs which are combined with hydrocodone will provoke overdose first (acetaminophen, for example).  Still, death from hydrocodone is possible.  More here on how to avoid accidental hydrocodone overdose. And we invite your questions about hydrocodone overdoses at the end.

Can you overdose on hydrocodone?

Yes, you can overdose on hydrocodone. The amount of hydrocodone necessary to OD will vary from person to person, depending on previous exposure to narcotic pain medications – and it will depend on what medication containing hydrocodone you’re taking. Many times, hydrocodone is combined with acetaminophen, which is much easier to accidentally overdose on. So without overdosing on hydrocodone at all, it’s possible to suffer severe health complications from other substances in your pain medication.

Keep in mind that it’s easier to OD on hydrocodone when you are taking hydrocodone to get high. In fact, hydrocodone abuse increases your risk of death and overdose. You’re much more likely to overdose when you chew, crush, snort or inject hydrocodone pills or when you mix hydrocodone and alcohol. This medication should only be taken swallowed as a whole pill, and only in the doses recommended by your doctor.

What happens when you overdose on hydrocodone?

The most dangerous complication of hydrocodone overdose is slowed or shallow breathing. Hydrocodone overdose can cause your breathing to stop completely. Other medications (such as acetaminophen) combined with hydrocodone may also cause overdose, or make these effects more pronounced.

How many hydrocodone is too much?

Doctors recommend no more than 10 mg of hydrocodone at one time – the reported fatal dose is 90 mg, 9 times the maximum dose prescribed. But the hydrocodone is actually safer than the acetaminophen it’s usually combined with – which can cause liver problems at fairly low doses. If hydrocodone is mixed with other medications, such as acetaminophen, it’s be much easier to overdose on the combination drug. You can overdose on acetaminophen before you experience problems from hydrocodone. Taking more than 4 grams of acetaminophen in one day can poison you and cause permanent liver damage, even liver failure – and many medications contain 500-600 mg of acetaminophen per dose.

As for the hydrocodone itself, the safe amount of depends on your individual tolerance to opioid medications. Hydrocodone is usually started at smaller initial doses to make sure it’s safe. The amount of hydrocodone which provokes overdose depends on your previous exposure to opioids. You can take higher or more frequent doses of hydrocodone safely if your body is already tolerant to hydrocodone, opiates, or opioids. You should only take as hydrocodone much as your doctor recommends, and take it only as directed.

Hydrocodone overdose help

If you’ve taken a high dose of hydrocodone and experience adverse side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately. In a serious case of hydrocodone overdose, your doctor may administer oxygen to help you breath better. Hydrocodone overdose can be deadly – as can the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The lack of oxygen reaching your brain due to depressed breathing can cause permanent brain damage.

With acetaminophen-containing medications, you have about 12 hours before any permanent damage sets in – but it may take that long to experience overdose symptoms. So if you suspect you’ve taken too much acetaminophen for any reason, prompt medical attention is needed.

Overdose on hydrocodone questions

If you have any questions about safe amounts of hydrocodone in your system, please leave them here. We are happy to try to help answer your questions about hydrocodone, and will try to respond with a personal and prompt reply for all legitimate queries.

Reference Sources: DEA: Hydrocodone
Medline Plus: Hydrocodone
ToxNet: Hydrocodone
FDA Safety Communication: Prescription Acetaminophen Products to be Limited to 325 mg Per Dosage Unit; Boxed Warning Will Highlight Potential for Severe Liver Failure

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40 Responses to “Can you overdose (OD) on hydrocodone?
3:33 am July 29th, 2012

A friend of mine had a child who died from hydrocodone overdose. He was 21months old. My question is, how long would it take for noticeable symptoms to develop in a 21 month old child who was given a lethal dose of hydrocodone?

1:26 am July 31st, 2012

Hi Wendy. You’ll need to direct your question to a pharmacist or a pediatric toxicologist. I did, however, find this information about fatal doses of hydrocodone in adults and children:

1:58 am December 29th, 2012

I am taking 3-10/325 at one time but only once a day. I have gradually gone up from 1 pill a day to 3 pills a day in the last month. Have 15 left then I am done. Is this too many at once?

10:35 am December 31st, 2012

Hello Stephen. You can become tolerant to hydrocodone over time, which is what it sounds like is happening. Have you consulted with your prescribing doctor? I’d suggest at least a phone call…if not, an in-face visit. While you may not be at immediate risk of overdose, because your body has adapted to the presence of opioids, you are probably physically dependent on hydrocodone and will go through withdrawal when you run out. Seek medical advice and good luck!

4:28 am May 21st, 2013

I took a friends prescribed hydrocodone pill for “fun” and now I’ve had the feeling of throwing up and dizziness and sleepiness. I’m around 96-99 lbs. I haven’t thrown up though. And I feel a little better but my stomach still feels a little odd. should I be worried?

Sailor Washington
11:04 pm July 15th, 2013

You certainly CAN break Vicodin in half and you are smart to request the lowest dose of acetaminophen in your prescription. If you break a pill in half, as per the understanding between you and your physician, you are taking half the dose which lasts for half the time. If you are lucky, you should be asleep by then. Speak to your MD about tapering down. Opiates can cause constipation, headaches, and nausea. There are also options if you take Vicodin to stop pain and help you sleep – other, non-addictive options which are also prescriptions.

8:57 pm November 1st, 2013

I take lortabs recreationally. I take them frequently and have a decentable tolerance. Usally 30-40mg will get me going but this time I took 60mg. I was fine for a while, just enjoying the high but my mom left so I smoked some weed..a couple bowls nothing too bad. Well about an hour later I am sooooo tired I can barely keep my eyes open. The weed paranoia kicks in and now im FREAKING OUT that my breating is going to stop or some shit. Am I ok?

2:29 pm November 4th, 2013

Hi John. Call 1-800-222-1222 to be in touch with the Poison Control Center.

2:39 am January 19th, 2014

Can hydrocodone mixed with acetaminophen be helpful for headaches? And what are some uses for it?

2:00 am April 23rd, 2014

I have been on hydrocodone for 12 yrs, it amazes me when i hear people overdose on it,…What? Our government has got people convienced its killing us..they have their gready hands on the control of our medical and prescriptions..all i can say is focus on the crack heads and meth users, herion ect…oh yea they cant control that! Im in chronic pain and have to deal with drs and pharamacies treating me like im smoking crack when i fill my scripts..omg get real people wake up…

9:29 am June 9th, 2014

I took 6 5-325 of hydrocodone. What could happen too me

7:54 am June 11th, 2014

Hello Merissa. Call 1-800-222-1222 for an assessment by the Poison Control Center.

3:04 am July 27th, 2014

I was suppose to take 2 5-325 hydrocodone this morning but by mistake I took 4. Along with another kind of pill. Also 4 for that one. I had all the symptoms of a over dose and sleeped most the day. I got very starteled by every noise and kept waking up. Well tonight I had more pain in my leg from the accident so I was suppose to take 2 more but accidentally took 3 with a stress relief pull and I now have the symptoms of a over dose again. What should I do ??? I don’t want to go the doctors and them thinking I tried to kill myself because I didn’t and I’m just very worried I’m only 16.

11:16 am July 29th, 2014

Hello Micaela. Call the Poison Control Center on 1-800-222-1222 for a free, over-the-phone assessment of overdose risk and advise on what to do next. If things are getting worse don’t hesitate to Call 911. Your life is more pressious than what doctors will think.

3:54 pm September 19th, 2014

I have a friend who has taken 4 7.5/325 is she going to be ok

6:13 am September 22nd, 2014

Hi Kimberly. You also, can call the Poison Control Center for more information on what to do. The number is 1-800-222-1222.

4:20 pm October 11th, 2014

I say anyone talking about 2 or 3 don’t need to worry. Unless you are allergic to the codeine then you get sick and feel like shit. I would say be more worried about getting hit by a car while walking than overdosing on 2 Hyros 5 mg OMG. I have taken pain meds 10/325 for 10 years. The only big factor is the 4 grams of acetaminophen. This is what is going to kill you to do that you would need to take 14 10/325 per day for about 60 days and then you might start experiencing problems. Now that they only make it a max of 325 acetaminophen you have very little to worry about. this is a government scare tactic you have more people dying from Heroin that is what needs to be concentrated on because when you can not get you codeine then you must take heroin to get your opiates. That is why the breakdown on pain killers. The government as silly as it sounds is in the heroin business and more they can limit pain pills more heroin they sale. believe me they make much more on that drug than some pharmacy drug they have to split with so many greedy people. It is all in your head eat the pills and tell you have no more take a shit for a few days and you will be fine. In my case much worse. It has already got me to the bad point almost impossible to stop so they want to put you on Suboxone a drug worse then heroin. It is a crazy freaking world we live in.

john mccarthy
12:10 pm October 20th, 2014

The info given on this site is wildly innacurate. No one has died from 10/325 in the country with that being the only drug in the system. First to reach a level of toxisity on the narcotic your liver would get up and die. The only other remaining way is to take large doses and combine with benzos or booze, that is how a majority of people over dose. So our leaders who won’t answer a straight forward question like is weed as dangerous as heroin make these moronic rules. I believe the most effective way would be PSA or signs at the pharmacy stating

1:24 am October 27th, 2014

Will taking 2 at once hurt you?

7:15 pm October 27th, 2014

I accidentally took too much hydrocodone but went and was treated for Tylenol poisoning. They said I came in time and should be fine but I still feel sluggish and slightly dizzy. How long can I expect these symptoms to last?

12:16 pm October 28th, 2014

Hi Abby. Well, anyone else who doesn’t take your age, body mass, health state, medical conditions, tolerance etc. into consideration will say yes. But, the truth is that depending on many factors, plus interactions with other substances…it just might.

10:25 am November 26th, 2014

I took Hydrocodone for 6 years medically prescribed for chronic pain and fibromalgia. I retired to stop taking it. From 7 I went to 5 for 5 days and the tapering off is going decreasing half pill every 5 days. The WD’s have been awful. Benadryl liquid for children helps. Half cup 2X/day. Tomorrow I will take one pill per day. I wish I could do it cold turkey to stop the agony, but I kept learning that the tapering will help more if I do it properly. Do you know how long I will suffer after I am off completely? Total tapering will be 6 weeks and one day. I never want to take any pain killers again. All started with cancer. I wish I could have known this before I agreed with my doctor to take hydrocodone. I refused any other pain killer. They wanted me to try them all. My instinct told me “be careful” learn from others. I even attended NA meetings to talk to addicts because they know more about pain killers than doctors! They told me “don’t worry, you do it for pain, you have never abused them”. However my WD’s have been a nightmare of pain. Please advise if I should do cold turkey now or complete the tapering off. And also what to expect in the future. Please! Thank you! I love you guys.

12:15 pm November 28th, 2014

Hi Pirinola. Tapering can’t really erase all the withdrawal effects, but it makes them milder and more bearable. If the withdrawal is too harsh, maybe you need to slow the tapering down.

5:30 am November 30th, 2014

Hi, I took my prescribed 2 norco 5-325 but was still hurting 3 hrs later so I took 1 more, is that too much??

12:30 pm December 4th, 2014

Hello Dana. Speak with a pharmacist or call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for an over the phone assessment of risks and danger.

1:48 pm December 4th, 2014

I have sever chronic pain from idiopathic neuropathy. I was diagnosed over 20 years ago with pain and tingling in my feet, and it has progressed to both my legs and is extremely painfull. I have been taking Lyrica for about 5 years and my dose has recently been increased to 200mg 3Xs. About 2 years ago my pain mgmt Dr. added Tramadol 100mgs 3Xs. I had taken this medication for many years before and had been off it for 6 years, before resumming. My pain has been progressing quickly this year and my Dr. has added Hydrocodone/Aceteminafin 10/325 as needed up to 3Xs. I do not require this medication all the time and only use it when my pain gets out of control and I can’t take it anymore. I was getting no relief from one tablet so I took 2, but only once during the day. I rarely take this drug every day, and have avoided narcotics for years even thou I was in allot of pain. (I have very little balance due to the neuropathy and have walked with a cane for 13 yrs.) My Dr. said he was concerned that I had taken 2 doses at a time, and that I could over dose. I thought this was a rather sever reaction. We discussed this, but I am new to the use of narcotics. I understand the seriousness of these types of medications, and I monitor myself very well. But what do you do when you can’t tollerate the pain? What’s next?
I also am totally open with all my Dr’s regarding any health issues and medication. I hide nothing. I would appreciate your opinion about the use of these medications.

10:09 pm December 4th, 2014

Dear Ivanna:
I completed my tappering off yesterday. I had 7 bills left and I flushed them in the toilet.
My WD’s are gone; however my energy is very low. It took me 48 days the tappering off instead of 51. The last 3 days I only took half pill/day and my body did not need any more. I took hydrocodone for 6 years as you know. The last 2 years 7 pills/day.
When is my low energy going to return? The doctor wants me to take Neurontin but I don’t want to do it. I rather deal with pain with exercise, arnica, hot showers and massage, I do suffer from chronic back pain and fibromyalgia. But after so much suffering with the WD”s I feel that I can handle everything. My only concern is so low energy. Is this going to pass? When? What should I do to help it? Please advise our dear Angel. Pirinola

5:14 pm December 9th, 2014

Hi Pirinola. I’m so glad to read you’ve made it. Take your time again. Your system will need time to recover and get completely used to the absence of a chemical that was a part of it for such a long time. A good multivitamin after a small meal can give you a burst of energy at this stage. You should start getting more energy back as 1-2 weeks pass. And from then on it should be only getting better. Keep us posted, and please write if you need help with anything else. Good luck!

6:19 am December 12th, 2014

Hi again! I left Alaska and we came to Hawaii for 10 days. I have one week now with no hydros! My mind is clear. No fuginess. My energy is getting back! I eat organic chocolate and drink 3 cups of Kona coffee daily. I never like chocolate before. I eat just 1\4 piece/ day. I walk a lot. Pain is unbearable sometimes and I take 600mg/ ibiprophen with 2 zantac 2x/day after meals. I apply arnica several times/day in my lower back where my pain is located
I am taking the multi vitamin and eating healthy. My body craves for protein as beef even though I was vegetarian. I am following my body cravings for now with beef to get extra vit b
I am so happy I let go of the pain killers. I am so happy i broke the mental chains. I remember so many times wanting to commit suicide because I believed that I was never going to make it

I suffered cancer and went to long TX but this ordeal of letting go of hydros was worse than cancer TX
Thank you for being with us
Love to all of you

10:10 am December 14th, 2014

i take hydrocodone 10/325′s 4 times a day, along with 15 mg. morphine time release twice a day.. I am very tolerant to both drugs, and can vary the dose higher or lower when needed. I have taken over 9 hydro’s in the past in over a 3 hour period, without the morphine, and vomited. Since the morphine was added , I have much more control of my pain, and take the correct dosage of hydros now all the time.

1:53 pm December 16th, 2014

8 pills of hydrocodone was taken was in pain but drank water threw up all of them did I OD on them? I drank 2 super large glasses of salt water threw that up I got all the pills on the first time am I going to be okay? What do I need to do now?

5:47 pm December 16th, 2014

Hello Della. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for a free, over the phone assessment of risks and danger. They’ll give you instructions on what you should do next to avoid any troubles.

5:20 pm January 7th, 2015

I have been 33 days completely free of hydrocodone after a 53 days of tappering off

My mind is clear. Energy returns daily. However I have to take ibiprophen 4 times/day for pain

How long will it take for my brain to produce its own endorphens? I took Hydros for 5 years medically prescribed. I suffer chronic back pain and osteoarthritis. I refuse to take any alternative meds such as neurontin. Ibiprophen takes my pain away

Are they addictive?

I dont want to depend again in any meds
Please reply
Best wishes to all for 2015

6:20 pm January 20th, 2015

Can taking hydrocodone/IBU cause your stomach to hurt?

3:15 am March 7th, 2015

One of my friends, who is 15 years old, took 12 vicodin will he be ok? Please try to reply back ASAP he means a lot to me please!!

4:49 pm March 9th, 2015

Hi Madison. Please Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. It’s a free helpline and you can get over-the-phone instructions on what you should do next. If your friend is having adverse reactions or is becoming unresponsive don’t hesitate to Call 911 immediately.

jiff bob
3:11 am March 12th, 2015

What if.someone has taken 12 norco 5 /325 in a 24 hr period

6:19 am March 12th, 2015

My girlfriend had some neck spasm and I gave her two generics for norco 5-325mg hydrocodone. She had also taken a cyclobenzaprine 10mg. She took this at 10:30pm, it’s nearing 12:30 am, my question is… how long would I need to wait before I can be sure she did not overdose? I’m very worried.

1:34 pm March 12th, 2015

Hi Bob. Call 1-800-222-1222 to be in touch with the Poison Control Center. You can talk to a poison expert over the phone and get a better idea of what can happen and what actions you should take to prevent possible damage.

5:19 pm March 16th, 2015

Hi Dave. You can get her to the hospital to avoid any major risks and dangers of overdose. I hope she’s OK by now…

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