Hydrocodone is available only in combination with other ingredients, and different combination products are prescribed for different uses. Some hydrocodone products are used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Other hydrocodone products are used to relieve cough. Hydrocodone is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics and in a class of medications called antitussives. Hydrocodone relieves pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. Hydrocodone relieves cough by decreasing activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing.
Hydrocodone must be used with caution in children. Extended-release products containing hydrocodone should not be given to children younger than 6 years of age and should be used with caution in children 6 to 12 years of age. Talk to your doctor about the risks of giving hydrocodone to your child.
You will take hydrocodone in combination with at least one other medication, but this monograph only provides information about hydrocodone. Be sure to read information about the other ingredients in the hydrocodone product you are taking. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Hydrocodone comes as a tablet, a capsule, a syrup, a solution (clear liquid), an extended-release (long-acting) capsule, and an extended-release (long-acting) suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. The tablet, capsule, syrup, and solution are usually taken every 4-6 hours as needed. The extended-release capsule and the extended-release suspension are usually taken every 12 hours as needed. If you are taking hydrocodone on a regular schedule, take it at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand.
Swallow the extended-release capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.
Shake the extended-release suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly. Do not mix the extended-release suspension with other medications or with other liquids such as water.
If you will be using hydrocodone solution, syrup, or extended-release suspension, do not use a household teaspoon to measure your dose. Household teaspoons are not accurate measuring devices, and you may receive too much medication or not enough medication if you measure your dose with a household teaspoon. Instead, use a properly marked measuring device such as a dropper, medicine spoon, or oral syringe. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you need help getting or using a measuring device.
Call your doctor if your symptoms are not controlled by the hydrocodone product you are taking. Do not increase your dose of medication on your own. You may receive a dangerous overdose if you take more medication or take your medication more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Hydrocodone may be habit-forming. Take hydrocodone exactly as directed. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor. Call your doctor if you develop a strong desire to take more medication than prescribed.
If you have taken hydrocodone for several weeks or longer, do not stop taking the medication without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking hydrocodone, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient, available for certain hydrocodone combination products.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
This medication is usually taken as needed. If your doctor has told you to take hydrocodone regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. Then wait at least 4 hours before taking your next dose of the tablets, syrup, capsule, or solution, or at least 12 hours before taking your next dose of the extended-release capsules or extended-release solution. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
abnormally happy or abnormally sad mood
narrowing of the pupils (black circles in the center of the eyes)
slowed or irregular breathing
Hydrocodone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
Store hydrocodone in a safe place so that no one else can take it accidentally or on purpose. Keep track of how many tablets or capsules or how much liquid is left so you will know if any medication is missing.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
narrowed or widened pupils
slow, shallow, or stopped breathing
slowed or stopped heartbeat
cold, clammy, or blue skin
loss of consciousness
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Hydrocodone is a controlled substance. Prescriptions may be refilled only a limited number of times; ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 05/15/2013
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.