Know the Side Effects of Hydrocodone Abuse
What it is
Hydrocodone is a semi synthetic opioid (narcotic) derived from two of the naturally occurring opiates, codeine. Just for your information, this is a poisonous alkaloid that causes convulsions similar to those caused by strychnine. High probability of addiction has been known since the drugs development in the 1920’s. Hydrocodone is prescribed for the relief of moderate to moderately severe pain. It is taken orally as an active narcotic analgesic (pain killer) and an anti tussive (cough suppressant). The pain relief by hydrocodone is thought to involve peripheral and central actions but the exact mechanism(s) remains unknown.
Over the last twenty years, sales and consumption of hydrocodone has increased significantly. Besides being used as an efficient pain killer, it’s illicit use has also increased significantly. Hydrocodone is available in various forms including tablet, capsule and syrup.
Hydrocodone Prescription Dose and Preparations
The dose depends on the intensity of pain and the tolerance level of the patient. However, tolerance to hydrocodone typically develops with continued use and much higher doses are required to decrease pain. In addition, with increased use of the drug, the incidence of side effects and chance of addiction resulting in overdose increases.
This drug always combined with acetaminophen/ibuprofen/antihistamine as a prescription. The dose of acetaminophen may vary from 350-650 mg. The dose may vary from 5-15 mg. Various combinations of this mixture are available. Hydrocodone is usually taken 3-4 times a day to relieve moderate or severe pain. The dose of hydrocodone should not exceed more than 40 mg in a day and the dose of acetaminophen should not exceed 3-4000 mg per day (8-12 tablets per day).
With mixtures of Hydrocodone with toxins like thebaine, a poison similar to strychnine, and acetaminophen, known for being the most common cause of drug-induced liver disease its no wonder these effects are experienced by a hydrocodone addict. In the United States, pure hydrocodone is rarely prescribed and is considered a Schedule II drug, requiring DEA certificate for prescription. When it is prescribed with acetaminophen is classified as a Schedule III drug and available only with a prescription.
Generic names include:
Therapeutic combinations of hydrocodone and acetaminophen are available as Vicodin and Lortab. When combined with aspirin, the product is sold as Lortab ASA), vicopprofen when combined with ibuprofen and hycodan when it is combined with an anti histamine.
Hydrocodone Adverse Effects
Although these effects are labeled as “side” effects they actually the effects, the reason they are labeled as “side” effects is they are the undesirable effects associated with the drug. High probability addiction has been known since the drugs development in the 1920’s. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opiate in the United States with nearly 130 million prescriptions dispensed in 2006. There are several hundred brand name and generic hydrocodone products marketed. All are combination products and the most frequently prescribed combination is hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Vicodin®, Lortab®, Lorcet®).
Frequently observed adverse reactions include:
These effects are more common when the individual is active, and these adverse reactions may be alleviated if the patient lies down. Hydrocodone is known to impair judgment and can cause mental sluggishness and clouding. It should be used with great care in patients with head trauma as it can cloud the symptoms of head injury. Hydrocodone can produce adverse reactions which may obscure the clinical course of patients with head injuries.
Toxicity of the Drug
To prevent individuals from taking excessive amounts of the drug, all available products are formulated with acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is not pleasant when taken in high doses. However, because acetaminophen is soluble in water, it can be extracted in warm water, leaving only the pure form of hydrocodone available for consumption.
Following an acute over dosage, toxicity may result from hydrocodone or acetaminophen. With a common sense approach to addiction it will be seen that the body treats drugs, which are obviously toxic as poisons, since they are set up to handle toxins efficiently through a filtering process known as the liver and kidneys. The toxin is then metabolized and processed into metabolites which should be pushed out the body via the sweat glands and/or urinary tract. Most of the metabolites are released unfortunately some are not. In the metabolization process the metabolites are now fat bonding and can stick to the adipose or fatty tissue for an unknown length of time. Some toxins are particularly opiates such as hydrocodone are known to lodge in the bone marrow of a person’s body thereby causing continual nutritional deficiencies and tremendous drug cravings.
Physical and/or Psychological Dependence
Over time, one will develop a physical and/or psychological dependence on hydrocodone. Any person who has used it for a certain length of time, whether as a patient or as an addict, will experience some uncomfortable withdrawal if the drug is ceased suddenly. The body will go into shock, as a result of not having the toxin influence the chemical reactions of the body as it has become accustomed to operating with.
Symptoms of withdrawal can appear as quickly. They can include:
Excessive sweating & yawning;
Shivering & goose bumps
Muscle aches & cramps
Restlessness & insomnia
Irritability & anxiety
Loss of appetite
Powerful cravings for the opioid
No 2 People are Alike
Keep in mind that no two people endure hydrocodone withdrawal in precisely the same manner. Addiction treatment programs often will suggest using an alternative such methadone or suboxone as a method of addiction treatment. That statement could be nothing further from the truth as those drugs have a high probability of addiction and will create the need for medical withdrawal.
Addiction Treatment, substance abuse treatment or drug rehabilitation programs that focus on the physical healing and then the underlying mental emotional issues associated with hydrocodone addiction greatly improve an addicts chances of complete addiction recovery. Let addictionwatch.com assist you and your family members down the road to recovery today. Contact us now.