August 28, 2010 Kim Goldman

Among seniors in high school, Vicodin was the second drug with the most reported use, Marijuana being the first. Vicodin (AKA Vikes, Hydro, Lors, Norcs, and Watson-387, the imprint on the generic pill) is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, usually associated with cancer, surgery, or serious injury.

When this narcotic is used for a long time, your body may get used to them so that larger amounts are needed to relieve pain.  This is called tolerance to the medicine. Also, when narcotics are used for a long time or in large doses, they may become habit-forming (causing mental or physical dependence).  Physical dependence may lead to withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medicine.

What does it look like?

Most common: white, scored, oblong tablets, imprinted with “Vicodin,” “Vicodin ES,” or “Vicodin HP,” depending on dose. Other forms include capsules and a liquid sold under such trade names as Hycodan®, Lorcet®, Lortab®, Tussionex®, and Tylox®.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects cannot be anticipated.  If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Vicodin.

Less Common:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Anxiety
  • Blood disorders
  • Constipation
  • Decreased mental and physical capability
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Drowsiness
  • Fear
  • Hearing loss
  • Itching
  • Mental clouding
  • Mood changes
  • Restlessness
  • Skin rash
  • Slowed breathing
  • Sluggishness

More Common:

  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of Overdose:

  • Blood disorders
  • Bluish tinge to skin
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Extreme sleepiness progressing to a state of unresponsiveness or coma
  • General feeling of bodily discomfort
  • Heart problems
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Kidney problems
  • Limp muscles
  • Liver failure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Troubled or slowed breathing
  • Vomiting

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine

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