Prescription drugs are classified into several categories. Hydrocodone, the generic name for Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, and other brand-name pain killers is a narcotic drug. Doctors prescribe this medication with extreme caution and only to patients whose pain justifies this measure because it is also a Schedule II drug; legal but highly addictive. Less addictive opioid mixtures exist such as codeine. Individuals using hydrocodone are at greater risk of becoming addicted to their analgesic and of turning to illegal sources.
What Is Hydrocodone?
This is another one of those frightening but super-effective pain medications which helps patients cope with unusually high levels of pain. These can be caused by sustaining an injury while playing sports or as the result of a car accident. Pain following surgery is sometimes treated with hydrocodone.
Consumers with long-term conditions for whom pain is a daily struggle might be prescribed this drug as well. Narcotics are also known as opioids because they originate from a specially-bred poppy plant which has provided analgesic relief to societies throughout history around the world, particularly in the warm climates where this poppy is bred.
Hydrocodone Versus Brand Names
While consumers will argue that the generic version and brand names only differ in terms of their price point, this is not always true. Brand name drugs might be mixtures of hydrocodone with other active ingredients to treat co-existing symptoms such as allergies or mental health problems. The drugs are chosen to enable a patient to use the narcotic without risking other interactions between opioids and, say, allergy, asthma, or anti-depressant medications.
Side Effects of Hydrocodone
The least worrying and most typical of side effects includes constipation, something that any narcotic is going to cause in most people. As narcotics sedate the body they also appear to sedate the digestive system. Drinking more water should help relieve the symptoms which could be responsible for the oft-reported nausea also resulting when one uses hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, etc. Dizziness, itchiness, and lack of coordination are also reported and, though uncomfortable and inconvenient, should not worry patients taking hydrocodone or brand-name versions of the drug.
More Serious Side Effects
Some symptoms reported by patients are not common and they cannot be ignored. They include shortness of breath, confusion, seizure, and a rapid heart rate. Any one of these could be a sign that the drug is causing an allergic reaction or that the dose is too high. Call an ambulance right away, tell the phone operator that this person is taking hydrocodone, and they can respond appropriately to the symptoms.
Another Side Effect
As mentioned above, patients who use opiate painkillers like hydrocodone are taking a different sort of risk which affects body and mind. They could become addicted to the drug; reliant on its pain killing properties to cope with everyday life. How can this happen if the drug has done its job of dealing with severe, short-term pain? Is it possible for someone from a happy, stable home to become a substance abuser?
Addiction is Not Choosy
Anyone can fall prey to the addictive effects of narcotics because they cause a physical form of need, not necessarily a psychological one. The body is accustomed to finding relief from a pill and when the pill is taken away, withdrawal follows.
Withdrawal leads to renewed pain sometimes worse than the initial pain and there are no reserves in the body left to cope with it. Slowly withdrawing from opiate use is strongly recommended to allow a period of transition in which natural chemicals are restored.
If the opiate is removed all at once, a person’s body can go into shock, he might experience severe mental disorder, perhaps attempt suicide, or suffer a psychotic episode. Heart attack, stroke, and seizure are other potential results of quitting instantly. If one has used or abused hydrocodone for a long time, medically supervised detoxification in a hospital is strongly recommended.