Norco is a medication that is commonly used for treating moderate to moderately severe pain. It is a narcotic (due to its hydrocodone component) that is classified as a controlled substance. Norco tablets, which are available by prescription, are generally taken every four to six hours as needed for pain. Potential side effects of the drug include drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, and nausea.
Compared to most hydrocodone/APAP pain relievers, Norco contains less acetaminophen, making it useful for people who need to take more hydrocodone without more acetaminophen. Although it may seem counterintuitive, because the tablets contain less acetaminophen, they are "stronger" than most other hydrocodone/APAP products. The maximum daily dose of such products is limited by the acetaminophen content, and having less acetaminophen per tablet allows for a higher daily dosage of hydrocodone without exceeding the maximum acetaminophen dosage.
Hydrocodone, the narcotic component of Norco, is a commonly abused drug. Norco is readily available and relatively inexpensive, especially in generic form, and may be especially desirable as a drug of abuse (due to its low acetaminophen content).
It is important to distinguish between actual abuse of the drug and a physical dependence on the drug. Healthcare providers can have difficulty distinguishing behaviors associated with inadequate pain control from drug-seeking behaviors associated with abuse. Because Norco is a highly desired drug of abuse, people often obtain it through illegal means, such as from foreign countries or online sources that do not require a prescription. People who abuse Norco and suddenly stop using it are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.
For more information, visit the following eMedTV articles:
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. March 24, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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