Wednesday July 30th 2014

Vicodin overdose: How much amount of Vicodin to OD?

It takes about 90 mg of hydrocodone to overdose, which is the equivalent of 18 Vicodin tablets. But more than 1000 mg of the acetaminophen found in Vicodin begins to damage the liver. Is there anything that you can do to prevent an unintentional Vicodin overdose? In this article, we’ll explore how much Vicodin it takes to OD along with the risk factors for Vicodin overdose. And we invite your questions about Vicodin and overdose at the end.

Vicodin overdose – How much is too much?

The reason people abuse Vicodin is the opiate hydrocodone that it contains. While seeking a Vicodin high addiction is also possible, but Vicodin overdose is quicker and can cause permanent damage.  But what is more poisonous: hydrocodone or acetaminophen?  And what doses are dangerous?

However, Vicodin only contains 5 mg of hydrocodone – and a whopping 500 mg of acetaminophen, the active ingredient of Tylenol. More than 1000 mg of acetaminophen at one time is technically an overdose, but will only cause damage if this is done regularly. At this dose, Vicodin probably won’t kill you, but you will start to suffer severe liver damage. At doses higher than 4000 mg of acetaminophen per day, poisoning with severe effects such as vomiting and abdominal pain can occur. At more than 7000 mg, acetaminophen overdose can kill you. It may take up to 12 hours for symptoms to occur, at which point permanent damage may have already been done to your liver.

It’s possible to overdose on the hydrocodone within Vicodin, but it would take so much Vicodin that you’d already be suffering from a severe acetaminophen overdose. It takes about 90 mg of hydrocodone to overdose, which is the equivalent of 18 Vicodin tablets. At this point, you would be well over the lethal dose of acetaminophen within the medication and would need immediate medical attention.

Vicodin overdose complications

The most dangerous complication of Vicodin is liver damage. This can cause a range of symptoms, as minor as stomach pain or as serious as a coma. Vicodin overdose needs to be treated immediately in order to avoid potential liver failure and death.

Vicodin overdose prognosis

In an emergency Vicodin situation, receiving medical help within 8 hours is usually enough to ensure recovery after a Vicodin overdose. Since symptoms of overdose may not appear for 12 hours after taking the medication, it’s important to get medical attention if you’ve taken large amounts of the drug, regardless of how you feel. After 8 hours, the likelihood of permanent liver damage – and even liver failure – increases.  And while a Vicodin overdose can be fatal, it can also cause permanent damage to your body without killing you.

Vicodin overdose death rate

Unintentional Vicodin deaths by overdose have been on the rise lately. Part of this is simply because there’s been a nationwide increase in the use of opiate and opiod painkillers. In fact, the misuse and abuse of Vicodin by recreational drug users accounts for a large portion of the increase in drug poisoning deaths. You can find more information about the mortality rate from Vicodin toxic poisoning, or overdose, by searching the CDC’s NCHS, National Vital Statistics System for mortality due to Vicodin drug overdose.

Unintentional Vicodin overdose

The vast majority of drug poisoning deaths are unintentional. It’s easy to understand how someone could accidentally take too much Vicodin. The hydrocodone in Vicodin does create a tolerance over time, so you may no longer be getting adequate pain relief from your prescribed dose. However, while it takes about 18 times the normal dose of Vicodin to overdose from hydrocodone, it only takes one or two extra pills to overdose on the acetaminophen in Vicodin. So, increasing the frequency or amount is an easy way to unintentionally overdose on Vicodin.

Getting high on Vicodin by crushing, injecting or snorting Vicodin high can also result in an overdose.  Finally, others intentionally OD on vVcodin as a form of self-harm or as part of a suicide attempt.

Vicodin overdose amount questions

In closing, Vicodin abuse will always pose the risk of death and overdose. This medication should only be taken in the doses recommended by your doctor. You’re increasing your risk of overdose when you snort or inject Vicodin.

If you have any questions about safe amounts of Vicodin in your system, please leave them here. We are happy to try to help answer your questions about Vicodin, 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
Medline Plus: Acetaminophen overdose

Photo credit: allisonturrell

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20 Responses to “Vicodin overdose: How much amount of Vicodin to OD?
Pam
3:16 am September 14th, 2012

I was recently in a car accident where I was hit in the back end (because the driver of the vehicle that hit me was distracted and was trying to plug in her phone to charge). MRIs show a total of 7 herniated discs in neck, mid back and low back. I am in severe pain. I have already had I injections in neck and low back with several more to follow. In the meantime, doctor has prescribed Vicodin for pain relief. The amount is 7.5/750. Directions state to take 4 times a day as needed for pain. I do not like to take during day because I don’t like to feel “out of it” and try to take only at night so I can get some relief to sleep. I have on occasion had to take one during the day and another at night. I have been doing this for approximately 3 weeks. Should I be concerned about long term damage to my liver? My concern is that I do not want to take anything that is harmful, however, the pain is unbearable.

1:25 pm October 16th, 2012

Hi Pam. You are right to be concerned about the long term effects Vicodin has on the liver. In fact, the manufacturer of Vicodin (Purdue Pharma) is currently sponsoring a clinical study about this same topic: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01400139

Why? Because opioid metabolism takes place primarily in the liver. But it’s not just the hydrocodone you need to worry about – acetaminophen may cause severe liver damage when used in high amounts or over time.

I’d suggest that you schedule a consultation with your prescribing doctor and air out your concerns. Seek more information also with your pharmacist, and continue asking questions. Perhaps there is another alternative pain relief medication that would work better for you.

Lucy
4:35 pm October 26th, 2012

My husband had 5 teeth extracted and was prescribed Vicodin. The procedure was done first thing in the morning. He fell asleep late that night and when I awoke he was cold to the touch and had passed away in his sleep at age 46. The postmortem exam report states it was hydrocodone and acetaminophen intoxication. The amount listed on the tox report is 192 mcg/ml Acetaminophen and 1.46 mcg/ml Dihydrocode. How many could he have ingested? How often does this happen, what are the stats?

9:37 am November 5th, 2012

Hi Lucy. I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s sudden death. To find out how many Vicodin he may have taken, I’d suggest that you consult with an expert such as a toxologist, pharmacist, or a medical review officer at a drug testing facility. You need an expert opinion.

Accidental drug overdoses (especially involving opioids like hydrocodone or oxycodone) have never been higher in the United States. In fact, drug overdose rates have more than triples since 1990. You can find more statistics about the overdose and death rate caused by hydrocodone by:

1. Do a Google search for site:.gov opioid overdose statistics

2. Search the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) database

3. Check out these CDC webpages to start your reading:

http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/
http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/pdf/poison-issue-brief.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/poisoning/poisoning-factsheet.htm

Miah
7:03 am January 31st, 2013

I accidently took 1 vicodin 5 then 2 hours later took another one and I’m kinda worried… Any suggestions?

9:28 am February 1st, 2013

Hi Miah. You’re probably OK with taking a second dose a couple of hours before you should have. However, if you notice any symptoms such as difficulty breathing or a slowed pulse, call an emergency medical service. Or to be sure, call 1-800-222-1222 which is the Poison Control Center for an expert opinion.

Willmah
11:32 am March 13th, 2013

I’ve been taking oxy’s and hydrocodon every day for the past 12 days with doses as high as 30 in oxy and 30 in hydrocodon. Will I be okay?

sam
6:57 pm March 18th, 2013

I suffered neck and back injuries due to a car accident. I had two surgeries done and I have been prescribed vicodin ES for the last two years. I have been taking 3 to 4 pills daily and some days when the pain is unbarable I would take more than 4 a day. After reading your post, I am worried about liver damage.

tread_well
5:00 am April 20th, 2013

Once again we see the fact that a demonized substance hydrocodone is actually safer than an otc one, that being the tylenol(aceteminophen)in vicodin or generic hydrocodone/asap mixture.

The drug war getting its tentacles into the doctor patient relationship is due to the higher doses of the tylenol in the vicodin. There are probably more patients today who die from suicide for lack of pain control than patients who die from the hydrocodone/asap mixture drug. Wheras just 5 or so years ago a family doctor did not have to worry about rx ing vicodin, now you must go to a pain management specialist. And he or she has the “Sword of Damacles” hanging over their hear: the fear of getting locked up if he/she rx’s vicodin or any other opioid. The truth of the matter is that in a logical political and legal milieu the doctor should not be culpable for a patient who deliberately overdoses. Additionally, more pain patients now being denied opioids for pain are increasingly committing suicide. If you have have half a heart and mind, controlled dependency and a person allowed to live a more pain free life is by far the lesser evil than the drug war.

Norco(r) has the least amount of tylenol(aceteminophen). It is 10mg of the opioid and 325mg of the tylenol. break it in half and compare that to the usual 500mg of tylenol with 5mg of hydrocodone. When you break in half a norco you are still getting the same 5mg of the opioid and a very safe 162.5mg of the much more pernicious and deadly socially and legally accepted tylenol(acetaminophen).

chris
11:44 pm September 9th, 2013

I recently overdosed on Vicodin. I took 18 pills. I went to the hospital the next day and all my test results came back negative. My liver is okay. This was over a month ago. However, I have been experiencing some after effects. This includes a lack of motivation, very little creativity, (and I’m an artist, so this sucks), I have very little to say to friends and family, which is not like me and my sense of humor is almost non-existent. In addition to this, I have been experiencing some difficulty in getting deep breaths and I’ve also been experiencing minor headaches when sitting up in bed and watching tv. I feel as though my personality has been somewhat altered. Is there anything I can do?

11:10 am September 13th, 2013

Hello Chris. Yes, there is definitely something that you can do. I’d suggest that you speak with both a medical doctor and a licensed psychologist. There are very physical effects of drug overdose, as well as psycho-emotional elements that you can address. You might benefit from a general physical in combination with regular psychotherapy. This way, you can address both the cognitive and the physical aspects of drug use…and learn alternative behaviors/thoughts/ways to move out of the depression.

Ron
3:12 pm November 20th, 2013

Taking 15 mg Vicodin 7 times a day. Am I at risk for od ? I take one 10mg norco and one 5 mg. occasionally I take 2 10 mg at once
Thank you

1:17 pm December 6th, 2013

Hello Ron. This is a question for your prescribing doctor or a pharmacist. Overdose risk depends on a number of factors, including previous exposure to opioids, height, weight, etc. But you’ll need an expert opinion in order to consult on Vicodin dosing.

Luis
3:02 pm January 10th, 2014

I od on vicodin on wednesday n i felt extremely dizzy, couldnt breathe that well n naushea n many other symptoms n i took at least 6-8 pills of 5 500mg vicodin. I took some dissolved and most as pill form. I want to kno did i od quicker by drinking them dissolved or as a pill?

chris
7:25 am January 16th, 2014

I had filled my prescription at 10 a.m. this morning of 20 Norco 5mg……I took the 20th pill around midnight not realising how many I had taken frequently all day. It’s 3hrs later, will I be ok? I’m worried after reading a few of the comments and never taking another EVER AGAIN

9:50 pm January 18th, 2014

Hello Chris. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for immediate medical assistance. I’m sorry that we could not respond immediately to your question.

aeroda
5:34 pm February 10th, 2014

What would happen if I took Vicodin with alcohol, or muscle relaxants?
Would the amount of pills needed to overdose be less?
I have a friend who is highly suicide-prone, and I believe she has all three of these things in her home.

scared
2:52 am June 28th, 2014

In two days I have taken 16 pills of hydrocodone 5 mg 325 Tylenol I just read up on how you can accidentally overdose on this medicine am I ok now? I will not be takeing anymore of this medicine but should I go to the emergency room now?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
8:52 am June 30th, 2014

Scared, If you are experiencing any adverse side effects you should probably go to the ER. Or you can see a doctor or a pharmacist to have you examined, give you advise or take any action that’s needed.

gLORIA
12:09 am July 13th, 2014

my husband gets 90 Vicodin every two weeks, for the last year. He takes the 90 in 5 or 6 days. He does not sleep during this time, then he crashes for 3 days. what long term effect will this have on his body?

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