What is Vicodin?
Vicodin is an opioid pain medication that contains an amalgamation of hydrocodone and acetaminophen (paracetamol). Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medicine (opioids are called a narcotic). Acetaminophen or paracetamol is a comparatively less potent pain reliever drug that increases the hydrocodone effects. Vicodin helps treat moderate to moderately severe pain.
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How to take Vicodin?
Take Vicodin precisely as per the prescription. Read carefully & follow all the directions on the instruction sheets. Never take Vicodin in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Tell the doctor if you think that the medicine stops working well in relieving your pain. If you are feeling an increased desire to use this medication, inform your doctor. An overdose of Vicodin can adversely affect your liver or cause death.
Vicodin may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share it with someone else, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. Misuse of narcotic medicine like Vicodin can cause overdose, addiction, or death, especially in a child or someone taking it without a prescription.
If you need any medical test or surgery, prior inform the doctor that you are taking Vicodin. Your doctor may suggest you stop taking this medicine for a short time.
Do not suddenly stop taking Vicodin after long-term use, or you may face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Take medical help to stop using this medicine safely.
Store Vicodin away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Keep track of the amount of medicine in your bottle. Vicodin is a drug of abuse, so be aware of misusing it or taking it without a prescription.
Always check the bottle to ensure you are buying the correct pills (same brand and type) of the medication your doctor recommended.
What to know before taking Vicodin?
Don’t use Vicodin if you were taking an MAO inhibitor for the past two weeks. It can lead to a dangerous interaction. MAO inhibitors include tranylcypromine, rasagiline, selegiline, linezolid, isocarboxazid, and phenelzine.
You should avoid taking Vicodin if you are allergic to Vicodin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or hydrocodone, or if you were recently using sedatives, alcohol, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications.
Interaction of some medicines with hydrocodone can cause a severe condition known as serotonin syndrome. Ensure that your medical healthcare provider knows if you are using any medication for:
- Asthma (severe) or breathing problems; or
- Blockage in stomach or intestines
To ensure Vicodin is not harmful to you, inform the doctor if you have ever had:
- Liver disease;
- Sleep apnea, breathing problems;
- Kidney disease;
- A drug or alcohol addiction;
- Urination problems;
- A head injury or seizures; or
- Problems with your pancreas, thyroid, or gallbladder
Older adults are more likely to face breathing problems because of Vicodin.
Avoid using this medicine during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
What are the benefits of using Vicodin?
This combination of medicine helps relieve moderate to severe pain. It contains a non-opioid pain reliever, acetaminophen, and an opioid pain reliever, hydrocodone. Acetaminophen can reduce fever, and hydrocodone changes how your body feels and responds to pain.
What are the side effects of Vicodin?
Go for urgent medical help if you have an allergic reaction due to the use of Vicodin. Signs of an allergic reaction to an opioid like Vicodin may include trouble breathing, hives, swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue.
Opioid medicines like Vicodin can slow down or stop your breathing and cause death. Your caregiver or attendant should give you naloxone and call for medical help if you are hard to wake up, have blue-colored lips, or slow breathing with long pauses.
In rare cases, acetaminophen can cause a skin reaction (severe) that can be fatal. Stop using Vicodin and call your health care professional immediately if you have a rash or skin redness that spreads and causes blistering and peeling. If this happens, you should never retake acetaminophen.
Contact your medical health care professional instantly if you have any of the following severe side effects:
- A light-headed feeling;
- Sighing, noisy breathing, sleep apnea, shallow breathing;
- Seizure (or convulsions);
- Unusual behavior or thoughts, confusion;
- Missed menstrual periods, infertility;
- Easy bruising or bleeding;
- Sexual issues, impotence, loss of interest in sex;
- Low cortisol levels- worsening weakness or tiredness, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, nausea;
- Liver problems- yellowing of eyes or skin, dark urine, clay-colored stools, loss of appetite, itching, nausea, upper stomach pain; or
- High serotonin levels in the body- diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, loss of coordination, twitching, muscle stiffness, rapid heart rate, shivering, sweating, agitation, fever, hallucinations.
Severe breathing problems and attacks are more likely to occur in older adults and malnourished people with wasting syndrome or chronic breathing disorders.
Common side effects to Vicodin may include:
- Dry mouth;
- Blurred vision;
- Headache, drowsiness; or
- Upset stomach, constipation
It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Consult your medical health care professional for advice regarding side effects. Report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What to avoid while using Vicodin?
Vicodin may cause impairment in your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving any vehicle or operating any heavy machinery until you know this medicine’s effect on you. Severe drowsiness or dizziness can cause accidental falls or injuries.
Ask a medical health care provider before using any other allergy, cold, pain, or sleep medication. Acetaminophen (APAP) is available in many combination medicines. It can lead to a fatal overdose. Check the label before buying any medicine for cold, allergy, pain, or sleep.
Avoid consumption of alcohol because it may increase your liver damage risk while using acetaminophen.