Vicodin side effects

Side effects of Vicodin range from mild lightheadedness to cloudy thinking or even Vicodin addiction. Effects of hydrocodone and acetaminophen here.

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What’s in Vicodin?

Vicodin is a drug that is made of two separate compounds: hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. Each tablet of Vicodin HP contains 10 mg of hydrocodone and 660 mg of acetaminophen. But what’s more important, is that BOTH these compounds have effects on the body. Here, we’ll review the effects of both hydrocodone and acetaminphen, and let you know what to do in the case that side effects are severe or require medical attention.

Effects of hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is a narcotic pain reliever. But it is also an antitussive, which helps relieve coughing. The FDA warnings about possible effects of hydrocodone include:

  • anxiety
  • changes in mood
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dysphoria
  • fear
  • lightheadedness
  • impaired mental abilities/performance
  • impaired physical abilities/performance
  • irregular berating
  • lethargy
  • mental clouding
  • nausea
  • periodic breathing
  • physical dependence
  • pruritus
  • psychic dependence
  • sedation
  • skin rash
  • spasm of vesical sphincters
  • suppressed cough reflex
  • tolerance
  • ureteral spasm
  • urinary retention
  • vomiting

Dose-related side effects of hydrocodone

Other side effects are possible, when hydrocodone is taken in higher doses or high doses over longer periods of time. These include:

  • hearing impairment
  • hearing loss
  • respiratory depression

Effects of acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is a pain reliever. The main thing to be careful about when taking acetaminophen is dosage. Toxic doses of acetaminophen may cause circulatory failure and rapid, shallow breathing. But more common side effects of acetaminophen include:

  • agranulocytosis (decreased white blood cells)
  • allergic reactions
  • rash
  • thrombocytopenia (decreased blood platelets)

When to seek medical help

Some side effects of Vicodin can be serious. Call you doctor immediately if you experience:

  • chest tightness
  • slowed breathing
  • irregular breathing

Toxic doses of Vicodin occur when you take 40 mg of hydrocodone or 10 g of acetaminophen. If you have taken more than 4 Vicodin HP pills, seek immediate medical help.  Additionally, if any of the above side effects disturb your daily functioning or become bothersome, see your prescribing doctor. It’s possible that there is another medication better suited to you and your needs.  Finally, be aware that Vicodin can be both physically and mentally addictive. Seek help from your doctor if you take Vicodin for non-medical reasons, more than prescribed, or longer than prescribed. Vicodin addiction is no longer stigmatized, but is a medical condition that can be treated. So, get help when necessary.

Reference sources: FDA drug info on Vicodin
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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  1. Is it ok to take two 7.5/750 tablets at once if you just take it one a day? Also, if you do only need it once a day, would it be harmful to just take 3 tablets at once and not everyday but maybe once or twice when pain becomes unbearable?

    1. Hi John. Please use your medication only as prescribed by a doctor. Don’t put yourself at risk. And, if have problems with the recommended dosage, consult with your doctor about any change.

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