What is hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medication.
Zohydro ER and Hysingla ER are extended-release forms of hydrocodone that are used for around-the-clock treatment of severe pain.
Extended-release hydrocodone is not for use on an as-needed basis for pain.
Hydrocodone can slow or stop your breathing. Never use this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Do not crush, break, or open an extended-release pill. Swallow it whole to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose.
Hydrocodone may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
MISUSE OF OPIOID MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Hydrocodone may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has taken this medicine during pregnancy.
Fatal side effects can occur if you use opioid medicine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use hydrocodone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- severe asthma or breathing problems; or
- a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
To make sure hydrocodone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- breathing problems, sleep apnea;
- a head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
- drug or alcohol addiction, or mental illness;
- urination problems;
- liver or kidney disease;
- problems with your gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid; or
- a heart rhythm disorder called long QT syndrome.
If you use opioid 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 opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks.
Do not breastfeed while taking this medicine. Hydrocodone can pass into breast milk and cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby.
How should I take hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Never use hydrocodone in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to take more of this medicine.
Hydrocodone side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to hydrocodone: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Opioid medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.
Stop using hydrocodone and call your doctor at once if you have:
- noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
- a slow heart rate or weak pulse;
- pain or burning when you urinate;
- confusion, tremors, severe drowsiness;
- a light-headed feeling, like you, might pass out; or
- low cortisol levels – nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are malnourished or debilitated.
Long-term use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.
Common hydrocodone side effects may include:
- constipation, nausea, vomiting;
- dizziness, drowsiness, feeling tired;
- headache; or
- cold symptoms such as the stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.