Vicodin is a narcotic painkiller prescribed to patients for the purpose of easing moderate to severe pain. It is dispensed and taken by a patient in pill form.
Vicodin is a mixture of the drugs Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone. The two perform separate functions to achieve a high level of pain relief that neither could provide independently.
Acetaminophen is the less potent of the two and works by lowering stimulation of pain nerves in the brain. Acetaminophen is also found in many over-the-counter pain relievers available today.
Hydorcodone is known as an analgesic opioid. It attaches to receptors in the brain and nervous system; the same receptors used naturally by the body to help relieve pain.
There are three different strengths of Vicodin available. The levels that can be prescribed to patients are 5/500, 10/60 and 7.5/750.
The first number of each indicates how many milligrams of Hydrocdone are in each individual pill. The second number notes how many milligrams of Acetaminophen are in each pill.
Before a patient takes Vicodin, there are certain conditions a doctor should be made aware of. Taking the medication could be very harmful in certain situations.
Some of the primary conditions a doctor should be notified of are: thyroid problems, stomach/intestine problems, liver/kidney disease, breathing disorders and brain injuries. A woman this is pregnant or planning to get pregnant should notify the doctor as well.
Patients should not take any medication along with Vicodin without consulting a doctor first. Drinking alcohol should be avoided as well.
Mixing other medications or alcohol with Vicodin increases the chance of doing severe damage to the liver. Both combinations can also cause slow breathing and/or dangerously low blood pressure.
Vicodin is highly addictive, creating potential for patients to develop a habit. Therefore, those with current or prior substance abuse problems are typically advised not to take it.
Aside from easing pain, the pills also create a temporary euphoric feeling for many patients. Those taking it regularly may enjoy and/or get used to that feeling and start abusing the pills after the pain is gone.
The Vicodin abuse problem has created an illegal market for selling stolen and fraudulent prescriptions. Because of this, patients are advised to always keep prescribed pills in a safe place.
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