How should I take Vicodin?
Take Vicodin exactly as prescribed. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never take this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. An overdose can damage your liver or cause death. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Vicodin if you are allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or hydrocodone, or if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other medications. Do not use this medicine if you have taken a MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days.
Some medicines can interact with hydrocodone and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
To make sure Vicodin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- liver disease, cirrhosis, or if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day;
- a history of alcoholism or drug addiction;
- diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, bowel obstruction, severe constipation;
- kidney disease;
- low blood pressure, or if you are dehydrated;
- a history of head injury, brain tumor, or stroke;
- asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorders; or
- if you use a sedative like Valium (diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Tranxene, Versed, Xanax, and others).
Vicodin is more likely to cause breathing problems in older adults and people who are severely ill, malnourished, or otherwise debilitated.
This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Acetaminophen and hydrocodone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using Vicodin.
Hydrocodone may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share Vicodin with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction.
If you need surgery or medical tests, tell the doctor ahead of time that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Do not stop using Vicodin suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using Vicodin.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Hydrocodone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
Always check your bottle to make sure you have received the correct pills (same brand and type) of medicine prescribed by your doctor.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since Vicodin is taken as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of acetaminophen and hydrocodone can be fatal.
The first signs of an acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, sweating, and confusion or weakness. Later symptoms may include pain in your upper stomach, dark urine, and yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
Overdose symptoms may also include extreme drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, cold and clammy skin, muscle weakness, fainting, weak pulse, slow heart rate, coma, blue lips, shallow breathing, or no breathing
What should I avoid while taking Vicodin?
Vicodin may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Vicodin will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, allergy, pain, or sleep medication. Acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as APAP) is contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much acetaminophen which can lead to a fatal overdose. Check the label to see if a medicine contains acetaminophen or APAP.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage while taking acetaminophen.
What other drugs will affect Vicodin?
Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:
- drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing – a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, sedative, tranquilizer, or antipsychotic medicine; or
- drugs that affect serotonin levels in your body – medicine for depression, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with acetaminophen and hydrocodone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.