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When and How to Take Hydrocodone/APAP

General considerations for when and how to take the medication include the following:
  • The medication comes in tablet, capsule, or syrup form. It is taken by mouth, usually every four to six hours as needed for pain.
  • It is either taken "as needed" or on a scheduled basis. "As needed" means you will only take a dose if you are experiencing pain (if you are not in pain, you will skip the dose), while "scheduled use" means you should take it on schedule, even if you are not in pain. Most healthcare providers prescribe it on an "as needed" basis, rather than a scheduled basis.
  • It is best to take it with food, as this may help reduce stomach upset.
  • Be careful not to exceed the maximum recommended daily dose, as this could lead to overdose symptoms or to poisoning from the acetaminophen component, which can cause liver failure.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not increase your dose without your healthcare provider's approval. Do not suddenly stop taking it, especially if you have taken it regularly for more than several weeks (see Hydrocodone/APAP Withdrawal).

Dosing Information

The dosage your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
  • The strength of your particular hydrocodone/APAP product
  • How you respond to hydrocodone/APAP
  • Other medications you are taking
  • Other medical conditions you may have.
As is always the case with any medication, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Hydrocodone/APAP Dosage for more information.)
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