Vicodin® (hydrocodone/APAP) is a prescription medication approved to treat moderate to moderately severe pain in adults. Because it is a combination medication (containing both hydrocodone and acetaminophen), Vicodin has several effects on the body.
Some of these effects of Vicodin (that are due to the hydrocodone component) include decreasing pain and relieving coughing. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic, opioid pain reliever that acts similarly to codeine. The acetaminophen component in Vicodin is a pain reliever and fever reducer. Combining hydrocodone with acetaminophen helps improve the effectiveness of acetaminophen at relieving pain and may limit the abuse potential of hydrocodone (the maximum dose of Vicodin is limited by the acetaminophen content).
Vicodin's effects can also cause psychological and physical dependence, as well as abuse. Vicodin is readily available and inexpensive, especially in generic form. Because it 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 Vicodin and suddenly stop using it are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms.
(Click Vicodin for a more in-depth look at Vicodin's effects, including information on how it works and how it can help relieve moderate to moderately severe pain.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Vicodin [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: AbbVie, Inc.;2013 March.
Vicodin ES [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: Abbott Laboratories;2007 March.
Vicodin HP [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: Abbott Laboratories;2007 March.
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/. Accessed February 15, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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