Vicodin Addiction & Abuse February 17th, 2022 Orlando Recovery Center
Drug Addiction Resources Vicodin Addiction & Abuse

Vicodin Addiction and Abuse in Orlando

If you are in an immediate emergency, call 911. If you are looking for more information on substance abuse treatment and it is not a medical emergency, call our 24/7 Vicodin Helpline at 407-680-1226.

Vicodin was a brand-name drug that contains a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The Vicodin brand has been discontinued, but a generic form of the drug is still available. The generic form is often referred to by its old brand name. As a Schedule II narcotic, Vicodin carries a high risk of abuse, addiction and dependence.

Table of Contents

What Is Vicodin Used For?

Vicodin was used to treat pain severe enough to require an opioid. The drug’s two components treat pain in different ways:

  • Hydrocodone: This opioid binds to the central nervous system’s mu opioid receptors. Opioids like hydrocodone can affect how someone senses pain and may change how pain signals are sent to the brain. 
  • Acetaminophen: This is an analgesic (pain reliever) added to improve Vicodin’s pain-relieving effects.

Vicodin Generic

Because Vicodin is no longer available as a brand name, it is sold as its generic equivalent: hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Several other brand-name medications include this combination, such as Lortab, Verdrocet and Xodol. Other discontinued brand names for acetaminophen and hydrocodone include Lorcet and Norco.

Vicodin Dosage

Vicodin was available as an oral tablet in several different doses, including

  • Hydrocodone 5 mg, acetaminophen 300 mg
  • Hydrocodone 7.5 mg, acetaminophen 300 mg
  • Hydrocodone 10 mg, acetaminophen 300 mg

Because the combination is available as generic acetaminophen/hydrocodone and as other brand names, it also comes in a variety of doses with different ratios of acetaminophen to hydrocodone. These include:

  • Hydrocodone 2.5 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
  • Hydrocodone 5 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
  • Hydrocodone 7.5 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
  • Hydrocodone 10 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg

The usual adult dosage of Vicodin was one to two tabs every four to six hours as needed for pain.

Is Vicodin Addictive?

As a Schedule II controlled substance, Vicodin carried a high risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. This is due to the presence of hydrocodone in the drug. Opioids like hydrocodone are highly addictive. When someone takes Vicodin, they may experience not only pain relief but also a euphoric or pleasant high due to the drug’s effects on the brain. This effect can trigger a reward response. When that happens, the brain is compelled to seek out whatever created the reward response, which is how addiction develops.

Before a doctor prescribed Vicodin to someone, they would go over the person’s full medical history. This includes the person’s history of substance abuse or addiction. Using Vicodin only for a short period of time and exactly as prescribed can lower the risk of becoming addicted, but that risk doesn’t altogether disappear. Along with addiction, a dependence on Vicodin can form. When someone’s dependent on Vicodin, they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug.

Vicodin Abuse Statistics

Vicodin is a significant part of the opioid epidemic in the United States. The opioid epidemic refers to the staggering number of overdose deaths related to the drug class. Statistics that illustrate the impact of Vicodin and other opioids include:

Vicodin vs. Norco

Vicodin and Norco are very similar drugs. They are both oral medications that contain hydrocodone and acetaminophen, and both are Schedule II controlled substances used for pain.

However, Vicodin has been discontinued as a brand name and is only available as a generic drug, while Norco is available as a brand-name and generic medication. In addition, they come in slightly different ratios of hydrocodone to acetaminophen.

Generic Vicodin doses

Norco doses

  • Hydrocodone 5 mg, acetaminophen 300 mg
  • Hydrocodone 7.5 mg, acetaminophen 300 mg
  • Hydrocodone 10 mg, acetaminophen 300 mg
  • Hydrocodone 5 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
  • Hydrocodone 7.5 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg
  • Hydrocodone 10 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg

Vicodin Side Effects

Vicodin’s side effects were similar to those of other opioids and include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Itchy skin

Vicodin and Alcohol

Mixing Vicodin and alcohol can be dangerous. The acetaminophen component of Vicodin and its generic equivalents can cause severe liver damage when mixed with alcohol. Further, both hydrocodone and alcohol are central nervous system depressants that slow down the central nervous system. Due to the drug interaction between them, it can be dangerous to use hydrocodone and alcohol together. Mixing them can increase the risk of overdose and cause side effects like:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with thinking and judgment

Vicodin Overdose

Vicodin isn’t dangerous solely because of its potential for addiction and dependence. One of the primary risks of using any opioid is overdose. When opioid receptor sites are affected by hydrocodone, it can slow down the central nervous system’s functionality. The central nervous system controls essential functions such as breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

If a person takes a dose of Vicodin that’s higher than what their central nervous system can handle, their breathing may slow to a dangerous or deadly level. There is also a risk due to the presence of acetaminophen. At normal doses, acetaminophen is considered a safe medication. At higher doses, it can cause liver damage, including acute liver failure.

A hydrocodone overdose is a medical emergency. If you suspect someone is overdosing, administer the opioid reversal agent naloxone and seek emergency medical attention by calling 911.

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Vicodin Withdrawal

If you take Vicodin or its generics on a regular basis and suddenly stop, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms. This is because Vicodin can cause physical dependence. When you are physically dependent on Vicodin, your body becomes used to its presence and adapts to the drug. If you stop taking the drug or significantly decrease your dose, your body will need to adapt, which leads to withdrawal symptoms.

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

Vicodin can cause withdrawal symptoms similar to those of other opioids. These symptoms can start between eight and 24 hours after the last dose and can last up to 10 days. Symptoms include

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Diarrhea

How Long Does Vicodin Stay in Your System?

Vicodin was a short-acting drug that wears off quickly, and was typically dosed every four to six hours as needed. However, it can linger in your system for longer than that. The length of time Vicodin can be found in your body depends on what is being tested:

  • Urine: Traces of Vicodin remain in your urine for up to three days after the last dose.
  • Blood: Vicodin can be found in your blood for up to 8.8 hours following the last dose.
  • Saliva: Vicodin can be detected in saliva for up to two days after the last use.
  • Hair: A 1.5-inch sample of hair can show the past 90 days of Vicodin use.

In addition, other factors can influence whether Vicodin shows up on a drug test. These include:

  • Your dose of Vicodin
  • How often you take Vicodin
  • How you take Vicodin (for example, by mouth versus snorting the drug) 
  • Your age 
  • Your body composition 
  • Your sex
  • Any other health conditions you have 
  • Whether you take any other medications 
  • Your hydration and nutritional status 

Vicodin Detox

Vicodin detox is the process of cleansing your system of Vicodin or its generic forms when you stop taking the drug. Because withdrawal symptoms can be hard to overcome on your own, it’s safest to undergo Vicodin detox in a supervised setting, such as a medical detox facility. 

In a medical detox facility, you receive around-the-clock care from doctors and nurses who can give you the most comfortable detox possible and treat withdrawal symptoms as they arise. In addition, medication-assisted treatment with methadone or buprenorphine may be used as medically appropriate.

Vicodin Addiction Treatment

Detox is just the first step in treating a Vicodin addiction. It is important to undergo a rehab program after detox, as research shows that it takes at least 90 days of treatment to reduce your risk of relapse.

Rehab can take place in a variety of settings, and you can choose the setting that best meets your needs. These include:

  • Inpatient rehab: Also known as residential rehab, inpatient rehab involves living onsite at the facility so you can focus full-time on your recovery
  • Partial hospitalization program: This program is a transition step between inpatient and outpatient rehab that involves more unstructured time between sessions.
  • Intensive outpatient rehab: During this type of rehab, you stay in a sober living environment but routinely return to the facility for treatment each week.
  • Outpatient rehab: In outpatient rehab, you live in a supportive environment and continue your rehab, but you spend less time in treatment than in an intensive program.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Vicodin, help is available at the Orlando Recovery Center. Contact us today to learn more about Vicodin addiction treatment programs that can work well for your situation. 

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Addiction can be challenging to overcome, especially without professional help. The Orlando Recovery Center provides comprehensive rehab programs that can help you achieve long-term recovery.

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.