Vicodin is a type of narcotic primarily used for relieving moderate to moderately severe pain. This prescription medication is a combination of two medications: hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. Vicodin is a commonly abused drug and is classified as a controlled substance, which means there are special laws controlling its sale and use. Common side effects seen with this drug include constipation, drowsiness, and nausea.
What Is Vicodin?
Vicodin® (hydrocodone/APAP) is a prescription medication approved to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It is a narcotic and is classified as a controlled substance, which means that special laws and regulations control its sale and use.
The medication is made by Mikart, Inc., for AbbVie, Inc.
How Does It Work?
Vicodin contains two different medications: hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic, opioid pain reliever. It acts similarly to codeine. Hydrocodone is effective at decreasing pain and relieving coughing, but also causes drowsiness, mood changes, and mental "clouding." In the United States, hydrocodone is only available in combination with other medications; it is not available alone.
Acetaminophen ("APAP") is a pain reliever and fever reducer commonly found in non-prescription medications such as Tylenol®. "APAP" is an acronym for one of the chemical names for acetaminophen. Combining hydrocodone with acetaminophen helps improve acetaminophen's effectiveness at relieving pain and may limit the abuse potential of hydrocodone, as the maximum dose of Vicodin is usually limited by the acetaminophen content.
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.
Abbott Laboratories. Dear Healthcare Provider Letter: Newly Reformulated Vicodin Launch Announcement. Available at: http://www.nycps.org/myJSSImages/file/34901%20VICODIN%20REFORMULATION.pdf. Accessed June 21, 2013.
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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