Vicodin contains a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is in a group of drugs called opioid pain relievers. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.
Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone.
Vicodin is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.
Do not use Vicodin if you are allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or hydrocodone. Tell your doctor if you have ever had alcoholic liver disease (cirrhosis) or if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day. You may not be able to take medicine that contains acetaminophen.
To make sure you can safely take Vicodin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
- asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorders;
- liver or kidney disease;
- a history of head injury or brain tumor;
- low blood pressure;
- a stomach or intestinal disorder;
- underactive thyroid;
- Addison’s disease or other adrenal gland disorder;
- curvature of the spine;
- mental illness; or
- a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
Hydrocodone may be habit forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Never share Vicodin 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.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Vicodin is harmful to an unborn baby, but it could cause breathing problems or addiction/withdrawal symptoms in a newborn. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using Vicodin. Acetaminophen and hydrocodone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use Vicodin without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Vicodin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects while taking Vicodin:
- shallow breathing, slow heartbeat;
- feeling light-headed, fainting;
- confusion, fear, unusual thoughts or behavior;
- seizure (convulsions);
- problems with urination; or
- nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious Vicodin side effects may include:
- anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness;
- mild nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, constipation;
- headache, mood changes;
- blurred vision;
- ringing in your ears; or
- dry mouth.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.