How is Vicodin prescribed?

Vicodin is prescribed in three strengths as an opiate medication used to help manage pain. More on Vicodin dosage, cost, and prescriptions here.

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Vicodin is an opiate agonist drug that is available in the U.S. only as a prescription medicine. You cannot get Vicodin over-the-counter but must see a doctor for medical reasons related to pain or injury in order to obtain Vicodin. This is because the main ingredient in Vicodin is hydrocodone, which can be addictive.   More on how Vicodin is prescribed, its costs and typical dosage here. We invite your questions about Vicodin prescriptions at the end.

What do doctors prescribe Vicodin for?

Vicodin narcotic analgesic is prescribed in inpatient and outpatient settings by medical doctors (MDs) in family practice or who specialize in pain management. Vicodin is a prescription drug used to manage mild to moderate pain. For pain relief, how long Vicodin lasts is about 4-6 hours.    The main ingredient in Vicodin (hydrocodone) works by altering the way that pain is perceived in the brain. However, Vicodin can also cause feelings of euphoria, which often causes it to be abused.

Vicodin prescription dosage

There are three strengths of Vicodin available by prescription. The lowest contains 5 mg hydrocodone and 500 mg acetaminophen. The next is 7.5 mg hydrocodone and 750 mg acetaminophen. The strongest Vicodin formula is 10 mg hydrocodone and 660 mg acetaminophen. Generally, Vicodin is taken every 6 hours as needed.

Vicodin prescription cost

As with any prescription drug, the cost of Vicodin will depend on your insurance. On the other hand, the generic version of Vicodin is very inexpensive, ranging around $15-20. The name brand Vicodin doesn’t cost much more.

Can you get Vicodin over the counter?

No. Vicodin is available by prescription only. Why? Because hydrocodone makes addictive Vicodin. So Vicodin is only prescribed to people experiencing pain which can’t be helped by over-the-counter medication and whose doctors can monitor use and identify potential abuse.

Signs of Vicodin prescription drug abuse

If you use Vicodin to help manage pain, you might develop a tolerance and dependence on the medication, and be unable to stop taking it abruptly, which is not always a sign of addiction. In fact, if you are taking Vicodin as prescribed, you probably don’t have to worry about drug addiction.

To better understand if you are addicted to Vicodin or not, an addiction to Vicodin results in a psychological compulsion to seek out the drug, even when it has negative effects on the addict’s personal or professional life. When Vicodin is used non-medically to get high, this type of use is a hallmark characteristic of addiction. Someone who abuses Vicodin regularly can become addicted to the narcotic quite easily, particularly if they have a prior history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Vicodin prescription questions

Do you still have questions about Vicodin prescriptions? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will help refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources:DEA: Hydrocodone
Medline Plus: Hydrocodone
ToxNet: Hydrocodone
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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