Tuesday March 3rd 2015

How much Vicodin is too much?

How much Vicodin is too much?

Vicodin is a serious narcotic medication that requires careful use.

Further, Vicodin addictive substance  and people have died from Vicodin.  Why? Vicodin is a medication which combines two separate drugs – hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Although it takes a significant amount of hydrocodone to be fatal (about 90 times the normal dose) acetaminophen must be taken exactly as directed to avoid serious health problems. In this article, we’ll look at the safe amounts of Vicodin doctors usually prescribe, and invite your questions about how much Vicodin is safe at the end.

Vicodin strengths

Vicodin is available as Vicodin, Vicodin HP, or Vicodin ES. Although there are other generic formulations of this drug combination which may have as much as 10 mg of hydrocodone per dose, Vicodin is the brand name version contains less than 10 mg of hydrocodone per tablet. But Vicodin also contains acetaminophen, which can cause liver damage. Strengths and doses of the most common Vicodin combinations follow.

Vicodin – This formulation contains 5 mg of hydrocodone and 500 mg of acetaminophen.

Vicodin HP – Each Vicodin HP tablet contains 10 mg of hydrocodone and 660 mg acetaminophen.

Vicodin ES – Vicodin ES (extra strength) contains 7.5 mg of hydrocodone and 750 mg acetaminophen per tablet.

How much Vicodin is safe?

Acetaminophen can cause liver problems at fairly low doses. You’ll almost certainly overdose on acetaminophen before you experience problems from the hydrocodone contained in Vicodin. In fact, the FDA is currently advising drug manufacturers to limit acetaminophen in these products to no more than 325 mg per dose to avoid overdose (by comparison, Extra Strength Tylenol contains 500 mg acetaminophen). Taking more than 4 grams of acetaminophen in one day can poison you and cause permanent liver damage, even liver failure.

Since Vicodin contains 500 mg acetaminophen, it’s safe to take 2 tablets every six hours, or 1 tablet every four hours. More than that, and you risk an overdose from the acetaminophen contained in the medication. It would take about eighteen tablets for the hydrocodone to kill you – at which point the acetaminophen overdose would have already landed you in the hospital.

How much Vicodin can you take at once?

Only 2 Vicodin tablets should be taken at one time. Higher amounts than 10 mg of hydrocodone can raise the likelihood of adverse side effects or can potentially cause an overdose in an opioid naive person. Never take more than 1000 mg (1 gram) of acetaminophen at one time – higher amounts can cause liver damage which may not be immediately obvious.

How much Vicodin to overdose?

Again, it takes between 1-4 grams of acetaminophen to overdose. This is more than two Vicodin tablets more frequently than every six hours. This is why it’s very important only to take Vicodin medications as directed.

Toxic levels of Vicodin in the system

You can overdose on Vicodin by taking it orally, but taking it in ways other than prescribed can also raise that risk of Vicodin overdose. Snorting Vicodin effects include euphoria, but crushing the Vicodin and either snorting it, or dissolving it in water and injecting it, increases your risk of overdose. Furthermore, using pain medications, such as Vicodin, to get high can result in acetaminophen overdose, especially if more than two pills are taken at a time.

How much Vicodin is fatal?

Lower doses of Vicodin may cause permanent liver damage, but won’t kill you. Accidentally taking a dose at a 3 hour interval instead of 4 hours will probably be fine if it’s a one-time event. Habitually taking higher doses than recommended will gradually cause liver damage, and should be avoided.More than 4 g of acetaminophen in combined Vicodin medications can be fatal as well.

How much Vicodin should I take?

You should take the amount of Vicodin prescribed to you by your doctor. Never take more than recommended by a medical professional, and only take this oral medication as directed.

How much Vicodin questions

Do you still have questions about safe levels of Vicodin? Please leave your questions here. We will be happy to try to answer your Vicodin questions ASAP, and if we are not able to, we will direct you to someone who can.

Reference Sources: DEA: Hydrocodone
Medline Plus: Hydrocodone
Toxnet: Hydrocodone
FDA Safety Communication: Prescription Acetaminophen Products to be Limited to 325 mg Per Dosage Unit

Photo credit: Cherokee County, NC government website

Leave a Reply

24 Responses to “How much Vicodin is too much?
7:35 pm January 30th, 2013

i am 77yrold woman,i take 7.5mg vicodin for chronic back pain.ii take it 8hrs apart is this okay.

9:13 am February 1st, 2013

Hi Mildred. Are you taking your Vicodin as prescribed? If so, you probably have little to worry about, unless you start to notice signs such as difficulty breathing or slowed heart rate. As long as your use is medically supervised, and you feel OK on Vicodin, the extra strength dose seems to be working well for you.

7:54 pm April 5th, 2013


3:06 am September 6th, 2013

I took 3 of the 5/500 Vicodin as I was eating my supper and forgot that I had taken them…after I finished eating I took 3 more 5/500 Vicodin. Upon realizing my mistake I immediately went to the bathroom and forced myself to vomit (bunch of pizza but I didn’t notice any pills) it’s been an hour and I don’t feel any different… I will seek help if I do, but has anyone else had this happen before and what was the outcome? I am not a junkie, just made a honest mistake

11:32 am September 13th, 2013

Hello Becky. Call 1-800-222-1222 to evaluate risk of overdose anytime another mistake happens…this is the national telephone number for the Poison Control Center.

Linda Beffrey
12:23 am October 30th, 2013

I take hydrocodone 10/500 usually 1 in the morning and 1 at night, but if the pain is extra bad I sometimes take 2 of them. This might occur two or three times a week. Am I still within the safe zone? Also, I sometimes will take a couple of Advil with it. Is that okay? Thank you.

1:43 pm October 31st, 2013

Hello Linda. Is the double dose OK’d by your prescribing doctor? Acetaminophen is recommended at 4 grams or less per day. Taking two tablets of Vicodin at the same time is within the safe range of 1 g acetaminophen per 6 hours, but you’ll need medical clearance for the double dosing unless this is the way that it is prescribed.

6:56 pm February 21st, 2014


10:14 am February 25th, 2014

Hello Bob. Have you first asked your prescribing doctor or pharmacist? Are you taking the Vicodin as prescribed?

6:08 pm February 26th, 2014

no…just found out it works for reless leg … it was prescribed for pain…..thanks

4:40 am March 3rd, 2014


6:42 am April 19th, 2014

Got stupid last night and drink half a 750 of 103 bourbon, so being brill I took 1/2 of a 5/325 hydro condone before retiring,awoke at 2:00 am feeling crapy, what now?

7:12 am April 19th, 2014

Hi Mike. Once the acute effects of both alcohol and hydrocodone wear off, the risk of complications decreases. But check in with a physician for a full physical or an exam if you notice symptoms you may think are related to overdose.

2:20 am August 14th, 2014

I know someone who took 4 750 vicodin at once, I need to know if he will be ok or not?

1:44 am August 19th, 2014

can a drug test tell how many Norco you took? How many pills you have taken over 4 day period?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
9:25 am August 19th, 2014

Hi Tammy. That’s one big dose! Vicodin is usually taken 1-2 pills spaced apart throughout the day. Although, it shouldn’t have any dangerous effects on the person who took it, they should see a medical specalist. I hope there was no alcohol mixed with the Vicodin.

6:50 pm August 19th, 2014

Is it okay to chew Vicodin and swallow it with water? A friend told me that doing that will make it work faster, but is it safe? Thank you!

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
11:28 am August 20th, 2014

Hello Linda. If you are planning on chewing and ingesting Vicodin for pain management, maybe the Vicodin will hit you harder and have a faster onset of effects, but the pain relief will be short-lived.

12:09 am September 29th, 2014

I take 1 and 1/2 10/325 a day for back pain. Sometimes it makes the pain go away, other times, like now it makes me feel weird, sick and a lil lethargic. Is that normal? I never take more than 1 and half tablets a day.

6:23 am November 29th, 2014

Just found out my husband has been lying to me and people fro.m work give him at least 5 pills of Vicodin once a week: he admitted to snorting 5 at work same day he picked my son up from daycare. He has phone sic ally been off shaking irritable and two days later starts withdraw. How much is this can it happen after a day?

7:24 am December 19th, 2014

I see a pain specialist for migraine and chronic neck pain. My dr has prescribed 1 norco every 6 hours, so 4 norco in a 24 hour period. I am worried this dose with cause addition. Can you tell me if it will? Thank you!

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
3:36 pm December 23rd, 2014

Hello Jamie. It can cause dependence-meaning in a while your brain and body will get used to the presence of the drug. Addiction is similar but different. A person is addicted if they cannot live or cope with everyday life without the drug, so their life revolves around obtaining and using, even if it means being involved in illegal activities (stealing someone else’s pills, doctor shopping, etc.) So, remember to only take it in the doses and time ranges that were prescribed.

9:05 am December 28th, 2014

So I have 22 norco and 18 days until my refill. I’m supposed to take 1 every 4 hours for pain but my pain has been unbearable so I abviously have taken more the prescribed. I’m really wanting to just taper down with what I have and than try a none narcotic to use for my chronic pain. My question is how do I whean down with only 22 norco and how bad will the withdrawal be?

Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
12:17 am February 18th, 2015

I’m curious about the dependence angle of Vicodin (hydrocodone is what I take). As an old guy who still is fairly fit and plays a lot of tennis I had my doctor prescribe 5/325 for me to take on those occasions when I have done a bit too much. This doesn’t happen often but fairly regularly — I would estimate about once every other week or sometimes a bit sooner (certainly not more than three a month). On those occasions my back will go out, my knees will be shot, and a pill helps me sleep and recover so I’m okay the next day.

What I have found is that when I have taken it regularly (like when I dislocated my elbow — yipes, that was HUGELY painful and I took pills for two or three days in a row) it loses effectiveness after a while (so I stop taking it and live with the pain). In fact, that’s what I advise folks who tell me it has stopped working for them — I say their bodies are “used” to it and they need to stop it and let it regain it’s usefulness. Is that dependency? If so (and I do understand it will vary greatly by individual) can you give me an idea on whether three pills a month is likely to develop it?

I’d hate to lose the value of the drug for those times (like the aforementioned elbow injury) that I *really* need it. I can live with the pain and not take it at all until then. But if it’s okay it would be really useful if I could continue as I am, taking a pill every ten days or so.

TIA for any help.

Leave a Reply