Vicodin is brand name of a narcotic analgesic drug used for relieving moderate to severe pain. Vicodine is available in tablet form. This medicine has two ingredients, namely hydrocodone, and acetaminophen (paracetamol). Hydrocodone is a narcotic group pain reliever. It is a synthetic opiod having similar organic structure as morphine. However, Hydrocodone is less potent than morphine.
The drug paracetamol is mild pain killer, with properties to reduce fever. Like any other drug, vicodin too has side effects. However, every person taking this drug may not necessarily experience these side effects. Vicodin side effects may be due to either Hydrocodone or acetaminophen.Vicodin is a prescription drug.
Side Effects Of Vicodin
Since vicodin contains two drugs, any of them may be responsible for the side effects. Acetaminophen is an analgesic and antipyretic, while hydrocodone is a synthetic opiod analgesic. When both the drugs are combined together, they have a synergistic action for reducing pain.
Overdose of acetaminophen can cause liver damage. It can cause acute liver failure. It may be more damaging in people who drink alcohol regularly, or in a person whose liver is already weak. Since acetaminophen is present in many drug combinations, it is always necessary to tell your doctor about other drugs you are consuming before taking vicodin.You have to be careful while you drive after taking vicodin, since it is known to cause mild drowsiness. Also tell your doctor if you are taking any sleep medicine or allergy medicine.
As hydrocodone is a form of opioid, one of the side effects of vicodin is gastrointestinal disturbances. It is attributed to the certain receptor cells in the intestine and stomach that may be sensitive to opioids and its derivatives. Constipation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps are some of the side effects observed after consumption of vicodin tablets.
Other side effects which are similar to many opioids include drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, feeling of lightheadedness. Itching and skin rash are also present similar to the opioid drugs.
Drug dependence and abuse has been observed after consuming vicodin for long period. This is because of the synthetic opioid hydrocodone. Other side effect due to opiod content in vicodin includes respiratory depression, shallow breathing, slow heart rate, difficulty in urination.
Many times mild side effects may be seen after taking vicodin. It may be blurred vision, ringing in ears, dryness in mouth which may gradually subside after few hours.
Vicodin Side Effects Long Term Use
Vicodin when consumed for long term can give rise to opioid withdrawal syndrome. Similar to any oipoid drug, taking vicodin daily for many days or months, may lead to physical dependence. Withdrawal symptoms are common among people who abruptly stop the drug which they used to take regularly in moderate to high dose. The symptoms of withdrawal may include cramps in abdomen, sweating, nervousness, generalized feeling of weakness. For this reason gradual tapering is preferred when there is long history of its use.
Another long term side effect of vicodin is its tolerance. This means you may need more dosage for getting the same relief. Some people also complain of headache.
Vicodin Short Term Side Effects
As said earlier shot term side effects of vicodin may be due to its opioid hydrocodone. Drowsiness, lightheadedness, constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps are some of the short term side effects.
Even vicodin consumed for short period of time may be a habit forming. Because, vicodin is taken when needed, its short term side effects are usually restricted and they do not last long.
Half life of vicodin is 3.8 hours. This means its potency reduces after 4 hours. Due to this, the side effects may disappear as soon as you discontinue the medicine.