Vicodin is a prescription pain reliever that contains acetaminophen and an opioid called hydrocodone. The medicine is used to treat moderate to severe pain and is taken by mouth. Three different strengths are available, and patients should talk to their doctor about the dose best for their needs. Most patients are advised to take one tablet every four to six hours as needed to control their pain, and the maximum dose should not exceed six tablets per day. Individuals who have been prescribed the lowest-strength tablet can typically take one or two tablets every four to six hours, and they should not take more than eight tablets per day. Vicodin is only intended for short-term use, and patients could develop physical dependency if they use the medication for a prolonged period. Patients should speak with their doctor about how to taper their Vicodin dose when discontinuing the drug.
The uses, side effects, precautions, and potential medication interactions associated with Vicodin are discussed below.
How It Works
Vicodin is part of a group of medications called combination narcotic analgesics. These pain relievers combine an opioid pain reliever with a non-opioid pain reliever, and the combination provides more effective pain relief than either medicine would when taken on its own. The acetaminophen in Vicodin increases the effect of the drug's hydrocodone component. Acetaminophen is believed to block a particular kind of cyclo-oxygenase enzyme found primarily in the brain. When this enzyme is blocked, prostaglandin synthesis does not take place. The hydrocodone in Vicodin works by binding to mu-opioid receptors, which stop pain signals as they travel to the brain.
Get the full details on the uses and benefits of Vicodin next.