Hydrocodone is a narcotic that is used to treat severe pain. Hydrocodone is only prescribed for persons who are likely to need medicine to alleviate severe pain 24 hours a day, seven days a week for an extended period of time and who are unable to be treated with other drugs or therapies. Extended-release (long-acting) hydrocodone capsules or extended-release tablets should not be used to relieve pain that can be managed with as-needed medicine. Hydrocodone belongs to the opiate (narcotic) analgesics family of drugs. It works by altering the brain’s and nervous system’s responses to pain.

If you’re taking a hydrocodone combination medication, read the hydrocodone-combination monograph for information on all of the components and ask your doctor or pharmacist for more.

Hydrocodone, particularly when used for a long time, may become addictive. Follow the directions for taking hydrocodone strictly. Do not take more of it, take it more often, or take it in any other manner than your doctor has prescribed. Discuss your pain treatment objectives, duration of therapy, and alternative strategies to control your pain with your health care practitioner while taking hydrocodone. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family consumes or has consumed significant quantities of alcohol, uses or has used street drugs, has misused prescription medicines, has had an overdose, or has depression or another mental disorder. If you have or have previously had any of these illnesses, you are more likely to misuse hydrocodone. If you suspect you could develop an opioid addiction, go to your doctor right away and ask for advice.

How should Hydrocodone be used?

To use by mouth, hydrocodone is available as an extended-release (long-acting) capsule and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet. Once every 12 hours, the extended-release capsule is normally consumed. Once a day, the extended-release pill is normally taken. Every day, at the same time(s), take hydrocodone. Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully, and if there is anything you don’t understand, ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain it to you. Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking hydrocodone.

With lots of water, swallow the extended-release capsules or extended-release tablets one at a time. Each capsule or pill should be swallowed as soon as it is placed in your mouth. Before swallowing the extended-release pills, do not soak, moisten, or lick them. Your doctor will likely put you on a low dosage of hydrocodone and gradually increase it as required to treat your pain, no more than once every 3 to 7 days if necessary. After using hydrocodone for a while, your body may develop used to the drug. If this occurs, your doctor may decide to raise your hydrocodone dosage or prescribe an alternative pain reliever. Discuss how you’re feeling throughout your hydrocodone therapy with your doctor.

Stopping hydrocodone without consulting your doctor is not a good idea. Restlessness, teary eyes, runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, hair standing on end, muscle pain, widened pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes), irritability, anxiety, back or joint pain, weakness, stomach cramps, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, fast breathing, or fast heartbeat may occur if you suddenly stop taking hydrocodone. Your doctor will most likely progressively reduce your dosage.