Vicodin adverse effects

Can taking Vicodin harm you? Worried about Vicodin adverse effects? We review the adverse side effects of taking Vicodin here. Taken from the drug label itself!

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Adverse effects of Vicodin

Vicodin can be addictive. But not only that, there are a number of unwanted side effects that can come with taking the prescription pain reliever. According to Vicodin’s manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories:

The most frequently reported adverse reactions include: lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea and vomiting. These effects seem to be more prominent in ambulatory than in nonambulatory patients and some of these adverse reactions may be alleviated if the patient lies down.

Other adverse effects of Vicodin may appear after long-term use of Vicodin (more than 6 weeks), or after a large dose of Vicodin has been taken. Some possible side effects with adverse consequences include:

  • anxiety
  • constipation
  • drowsiness
  • dysphoria (the opposite of euphoria)
  • fear
  • hearing impairment
  • impaired mental performance
  • impaired physical performance
  • intense itching (pruritus)
  • lethargy
  • mental dependence (addiction)
  • mental fog
  • mood changes
  • skin rash
  • spasm of vesicle sphincters
  • urethral spasm
  • urinary retention

More serious adverse side effects of Vicodin

In addition to the side effects listed above, taking Vicodin over longer periods of time or in large doses can result in more serious side effects. These include:

1. Breathing problems – Respiratory depression (slower breathing), irregular or periodic breathing are possible side effects of taking Vicodin, especially during overdose. Vicodin contains hydrocodone, an opioid agonist similar to codeine. This active ingredient can act directly on the brain stem respiratory center in high doses or in sensitive people. Hydrocodone also affects the brain center that controls respiratory rhythm, and “may produce irregular and periodic breathing.”

2. Increased pressure in the head – The effects of narcotics like Vicodin can elevate cerebrospinal fluid pressure . This is especially troublesome for people with head injuries, brain lesions or a preexisting pressure.

3. Hearing impairment or loss – People who chronically use too much Vicodin can experience hearing impairment or permanent loss of hearing.

Vicodin adverse effects vs. benefits

Vicodin is highly addictive. But people who take Vicodin as directed for 6 weeks or less minimize their risk of experiencing adverse reactions. So how do you know if you’re addicted to Vicodin? See the common signs of Vicodin addiction here. What do you think of Vicodin? Lifesaver or potential problem? Comments welcomed here.

Reference sources: Abbott Laboratories Vicodin product information via the National Libraries of Medicine
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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