You’ve most likely heard of Vicodin; and you probably even know what it does. What many don’t know, however, is the journey it’s been on over the past few decades as a narcotic prescription drug.


What Is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a brand name for a narcotic pain reliever. This drug, either in the form of a tablet, capsule, or liquid, is a combination of hydrocodone & acetaminophen. This same blend of medications is found in other similar brand-name pain relievers such as Lortab, Lorcet, Norco, Hycet, and Xodol.


Why Do People Use Vicodin?

As a pain relieving drug, Vicodin is designed to treat moderate to moderately severe physical pain. It is also known to suppress coughs and reduce fevers.


How Does Vicodin Work?

Like all pain relievers, Vicodin blocks the nerve cell receptors in your brain that cause the feeling of pain. In other words, it stimulates the nerves that are responsible for pain to increase your tolerance.

While Vicodin certainly has its benefits, it has been under a very watchful eye over the past decade or two due to its side effects and possible dangers.


Side Effects of Using Vicodin

In small doses, you are unlikely to experience any noticeable symptoms after using Vicodin. However, you should still use caution and avoid driving or using any other large types of machinery.

These side effects can range from mild to severe, depending on the person and how much Vicodin they’re using. Side effects may include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dependence & addiction
  • Liver failure

And because of the last two symptoms, people began to become very cautious about the use of Vicodin.


The History of Vicodin

Vicodin was first approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) in 1983. In 2011, the same organization requested that manufacturers limit the strength of all acetaminophen products. Vicodin, obviously, is one of the most popular medications that contains acetaminophen. So once 2012 came around, pharmaceutical companies had to make some changes to the way they manufactured Vicodin.

The dosage of acetaminophen in Vicodin was then limited, which made it difficult to replicate the effects and benefits of the drug. Many manufacturers either discontinued or reformulated their Vicodin (or similar products) after this request.


Why Has Vicodin Been Limited?

Vicodin was limited in 2011 primarily for containing a strong amount of acetaminophen, which is known to cause dependence, overdose, and even liver damage.


Is Vicodin Still Manufactured?

Technically, yes. However, it’s not the same. Vicodin was recently remanufactured with less acetaminophen, and can still be prescribed by a doctor.

There have been many reformulations to this drug, which now labels it a generic product at many pharmacies.


Alternatives for Vicodin

In addition to the generic form of Vicodin now available, you can talk to your doctor about what solution might be best for you if you are experiencing moderate to moderately severe pain.

There are many other types and combinations of pain relieving drugs out there; it may just take a couple tries to find out what’s right for you. To learn more about prescription narcotics, contact our team of substance abuse and addiction professionals at 267.209.7312.