Vicodin is the brand name for hydrocodone combined with acetaminophen. Vicodin(Hydrocodone/acetaminophen) is prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain. This drug binds to opiate receptors in the brain to change the way the brain responds to pain. Vicodin produces effects including pain relief, relaxation, and euphoria to help people feel better after surgeries, injuries, and certain cancer treatments. Hydrocodone is an opioid like heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone, while acetaminophen is an analgesic commonly sold as an over-the-counter drug.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Vicodin if you are allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or hydrocodone, or if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications.
Do not use this medicine if you have taken a MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.
Some medicines can interact with hydrocodone and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
You should not use Vicodin if you have:
- severe asthma or breathing problems; or
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
To make sure Vicodin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- breathing problems, sleep apnea;
- liver disease;
- a drug or alcohol addiction;
- kidney disease;
- a head injury or seizures;
- urination problems; or
- problems with your thyroid, pancreas, or gallbladder.
Vicodin is more likely to cause breathing problems in older adults and people who are severely ill, malnourished, or otherwise debilitated.
If you use narcotic 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 habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Acetaminophen and hydrocodone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using Vicodin.