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.
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.