Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid synthesized from codeine, one of the opioid alkaloids found in the opium poppy. Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.It is a narcotic analgesic used orally as an antitussive/cough suppressant, but also commonly taken orally for relief of moderate to severe pain.
Hydrocodone is prescribed predominantly within the United States, with the International Narcotics Control Board reporting that 99% of the worldwide supply in 2007 was consumed in the United States.
Hydrocodone can slow or stop your breathing. Never use this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Do not crush, break, or open an extended-release pill.
You should not use hydrocodone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- severe asthma or breathing problems; or
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
To make sure hydrocodone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- any type of breathing problem or lung disease;
- a head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
- drug or alcohol addiction, or mental illness;
- urination problems;
- liver or kidney disease;
- problems with your gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid; or
- a heart rhythm disorder called long QT syndrome.
If you use opioid medicine while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to hydrocodone: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Opioid medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.
Stop using hydrocodone and call your doctor at once if you have:
- noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing;
- a slow heart rate or weak pulse;
- pain or burning when you urinate;
- confusion, tremors, severe drowsiness;
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; or
- low cortisol levels – nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.