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Hydrocodone 2017-03-06T11:30:23+00:00
  • Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone Addiction and Abuse

Hydrocodone is one of the most frequently prescribed opioids in the United States according to the Drug Fact Sheet from the Drug Enforcement Agency. It is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other licit or illicit opioid. Hydrocodone addiction and abuse is a major epidemic that affects almost every region of the US.

It is used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain and its potency is similar to morphine. Hydrocodone’s effect on the mind is like other opioids which induces euphoria, sedation and alters the perception of pain.

Common Street Names for Hydrocodone

  • Hydro
  • Norco
  • Vikes

Take Our Treatment AssessmentThere are numerous brand and generic hydrocodone products and are most frequently prescribed in a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen for example; Vicodin, Lorcet and Lortab.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, Hydrocodone can be obtained from illicit internet sources, altered or fraudulent prescriptions, doctor-shopping, drug theft, and from friends or acquaintances.

Drug Classification

The chemical structure of Hydrocodone is related to that of codeine and morphine. Hydrocodone can be broken down into 8 different combinations of Hydrocodone and other medications.

  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate
  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Acetaminophen
  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Chlorpheniramine Maleate
  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Homatropine Methylbromide
  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Ibuprofen
  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate and Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride
  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate, Chlorpheniramine Maleate and Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride
  • Hydrocodone Polistirex and Chlorpheniramine Polistriex

According to the Drug Enforcement Association Hydrocodone is Schedule II narcotic that is marketed in multi-ingredient Schedule III products. The Schedule III drug products have accepted medical use in treatment and have a moderate to low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

History and Trends in Hydrocodone Addiction and Abuse

According to Nora D. Volkow, M.D from the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, the total number of opioid pain relievers prescribed in the United States has skyrocketed in the past 25 years. The number of prescriptions for opioids such as hydrocodone have escalated from around 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013 showing the United States as their biggest consumer globally. This accounts for almost 100 perfect of the world total for hydrocodone.

Side Effects of Hydrocodone

Long term use can lead to dependence and Hydrocodone addiction. Hydrocodone side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Depressed respiration
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Muscle pain
  • Back pain
  • Cold symptoms
  • Headache

Serious side effects of hydrocodone may cause serotonin syndrome symptoms such as:

  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Shivering
  • Fast heart rate
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Twitching
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction and Abuse

Hydrocodone addiction symptoms may include visible signs and behaviors along with believing that they must have the drug to participate in daily tasks or to get through the day.

Hydrocodone addiction signs and symptoms may include:

  • Financial problems due to the drug
  • Visible mood changes
  • Isolation
  • Exaggerated pain symptoms
  • Lying about injury
  • Going to the doctor frequently to request refills
  • Visiting more than one doctor for additional prescriptions
  • Changes in relationships with friends and family
  • Focusing on the use of hydrocodone more than daily activities
  • Neglecting work

Hydrocodone addiction and abuse signs and symptoms may also include the patient taking more or higher doses of the drug than advised, mixing hydrocodone with other drugs and alcohol, the feeling of inability to function without the drug along with attempts to obtain the drug illegally.

Withdrawal Symptoms for Hydrocodone Addiction and Abuse

Long term use may lead to hydrocodone addiction and large doses of the drug in combination with acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Withdrawal symptoms may peak 32-72 hours after the last dose and clear up to 10 days after which are closely monitored during hydrocodone addiction treatment.
Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased pulse
  • Agitation
  • Cold flashes
  • Yawning
  • Involuntary leg movements
  • Mood changes
  • Drug cravings

Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction and Abuse

When people first quit taking opioids, such as hydrocodone, they feel withdrawal symptoms quickly, which may be severe. Hydrocodone addiction and abuse treatment may use medications during the detoxification stage to help ease cravings and other physical symptoms that could trigger relapse. Treatment can take up to a month or longer depending on the amount of time the person was taking the hydrocodone as well as the dosage, providing medically supervised detox during withdrawal symptoms. Hydrocodone addiction treatment centers focus on getting the patient clean and away from temptations and distractions. Treatment helps individuals move away from harmful behaviors, cope with cravings while addressing life issues that may exist due to the use of the drug, leading the individual to recovery.

It is possible that Buprenorphine is used in the treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction because it is a partial opioid agonist. This means it makes the patient feel normal while tricking the brain into thinking it is receiving the opioid allowing withdrawal symptoms to lay low. Buprenorphine is a long acting drug meaning it stays in the body for a while but does not have a high abuse potential.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of Hydrocodone addiction, please call White Sands Tampa at 1-877-640-7820.

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