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Vicodin

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Vicodin

vicodin-iconVicodin is a combination of hydrocodone, an opioid that is derived from codeine, and acetaminophen, a non-prescription pain medication. While acetaminophen is much weaker than an opiate-based medication, it enhances the effects of hydrocodone. Vicodin is one of a number of brand names for this combination of medicines.

This medication is prescribed for the relief of most types of moderate to moderately severe pain, and also sometimes as a cough suppressant. The hydrocodone-acetaminophen combination is the most frequently prescribed opioid for pain in the United States, and Vicodin is one of the most commonly prescribed brands.

This prescription drug is a narcotic. It is listed as a Schedule III drug, even though hydrocodone is a Schedule II drug. This is because it is a combination drug that contains 15mg or less of hydrocodone. Even so, it still has significant potential to cause an opiate addiction.

Vicodin is taken orally. The pain relief effects generally last for three to six hours per dose. Some possible side effects include drowsiness, a feeling of euphoria, itchiness, nausea and constipation. Overdose can cause death or coma due to respiratory depression.

Street Names 

  • vikes
  • hydro (because they contain hydrocodone)
  • Watson or 387 (for the Watson 387 imprint on some prescribed pills).

Common Forms of the Drug

Vicodin is prescribed medically as a white pill. These pills are obtained illegally and usually sold on the street as-is, as oral administration is the most effective method of taking this medication.

Drug Class 

Vicodin is a combination of two painkillers. It is a combination of hydrocodone, an opiate painkiller that can become addictive, and acetaminophen, a milder and non-addictive painkiller that is available without a prescription. The acetaminophen enhances the pain relief qualities of the hydrocodone.

What is the DEA Schedule?

Vicodin is a Schedule II drug. It has legitimate medical use, and is considered generally safe when patients follow their doctor’s instructions in using it. However, it has significant addiction potential when patients take it too frequently or take larger doses than they should.

Common Forms of Use

In legitimate medical use, Vicodin is almost always prescribed as a pill to be taken orally. It can be abused in pill form, however, as oral administration is the most potent and effective route. Some users may crush it and dissolve it in the belief that this makes it more bioavailable, but there is little evidence to support this.

General Effects of Use

As with most of the opiate painkillers, Vicodin can provide a sense of euphoria and anti-anxiety qualities. It is also an extremely effective painkiller.

Negative Short-Term Effects

Vicodin users may experience a wide variety of short-term symptoms including nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, ringing ears, drowsiness, lightheadedness and anxiety. It can also temporarily reduce cognitive ability.

Negative Long-Term Effects

Liver damage is the most common long-term health complication of abusing this drug. Brain damage is also possible, inducing chronic anxiety, paranoia or even psychosis.

The Dangers of Vicodin Use

Addiction can develop quickly if Vicodin is abused, and overdose is also a constant risk. A Vicodin overdose can cause death by respiratory depression. The high acetaminophen content of this medication also presents an overdose risk. With high enough doses, acetaminophen toxicity can occur, and the most common complication of this is liver damage.

Drugs Vicodin is Commonly Mixed With

Vicodin is usually abused on its own, but if combined it will usually be taken with another opiate pain pill or with heroin (which is also opiate-based) or Xanax  in an attempt to increase the high. Some addicts who are on a management drug such as methadone make take Vicodin with it in an attempt to boost its potency.

Those who mix Xanax and Vicodin can experience weakened motor skills, lapses in judgement, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, and lack of concentration. More serious side effects of this combination include: overdose, lack of oxygen to the brain, coma, organ failure, brain damage, and even death. 

 Abuse and Addiction Rates

Vicodin is considered to have a substantial chance of causing an addiction if used improperly. It is often a “gateway” to an opiate addiction as it is very commonly prescribed for any type of pain. The various hydrocodone pills (including Vicodin) are the most commonly prescribed type of painkiller in the United States, with the country consuming over 90% of all that is produced in the world. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health has found that about 25,000 people abuse it for recreational use each year, and abuse of it has steadily risen over the past decade.

Signs of Vicodin abuse are common to those of any opiate drug. Users frequently become lethargic and drowsy while high, have pale skin, and have a loss of appetite that may lead to rapid weight loss.

The Best Treatment for Vicodin Addiction

Opiate painkillers exert a very powerful hold over those who have developed a physical dependency on them. An initial period of detox is necessary, usually followed by inpatient treatment lasting from 30 to 90 days. For severe addictions, a longer period of treatment may be needed. The best place to find this treatment is at a certified medical inpatient treatment facility. For more information about Vicodin addiction treatment, read more at Vicodin Rehab.

 

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