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Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone addiction is a growing crisis in the United States. While illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin remain in the headlines many individuals may be surprised to know that hydrocodone addiction could lurk right behind them as one of the most widely-abused drugs of addiction. In fact, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration believes hydrocodone may be the most abused prescription drug in the country. Nationwide, its use has quadrupled in the last ten years, while emergency room visits attributed to hydrocodone abuse soared 500 percent.

Hydrocodone is a narcotic that can produce a calm, euphoric state similar to heroin or morphine--and despite such important and obvious benefits in pain relief, evidence is pointing to chronic addiction. Pure hydrocodone is a Schedule II substance, closely controlled with restricted use. But very few prescription drugs are pure hydrocodone. Instead, small amounts of hydrocodone are mixed with other non-narcotic ingredients to create medicines like Vicodin and Lortab. This means they can be classified under Schedule III with fewer restrictions on their use and distribution.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal

Hydrocodone is a narcotic that can produce a calm, euphoric state similar to heroin or morphine--and despite such important and obvious benefits in pain relief, evidence is pointing to chronic addiction. Pure hydrocodone is a Schedule II substance, closely controlled with restricted use. But very few prescription drugs are pure hydrocodone. Instead, small amounts of hydrocodone are mixed with other non-narcotic ingredients to create medicines like Vicodin and Lortab. This means they can be classified under Schedule III with fewer restrictions on their use and distribution.

Subject to individual tolerance, many medical experts believe dependence or addiction can occur within one to four weeks at higher doses of Hydrocodone. Published reports of high profile movie stars, TV personalities and professional athletes who are recovering from Hydrocodone addiction are grim testimony to its debilitating effects.

If a regular hydrocodone user stops taking hydrocodone, he or she will experience hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms within six to twelve hours but, the withdrawal symptoms are usually not life-threatening. The intensity of hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms depend on the degree of the addiction. For example, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms may grow stronger for twenty-four to seventy-two hours and then gradually decline over a period of seven to fourteen days. The duration of hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms varies greatly from person to person.

Hydrocodone Withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • intense cravings for the drug
  • irritability
  • nausea or vomiting
  • muscle aches
  • runny nose or eyes
  • dilated pupils
  • sweating
  • diarrhea
  • yawning
  • fevers
  • chills
  • inability to sleep
  • depression
  • Hydrocodone Overdose

    Hydrocodone is abused for its opiate-like effects. It is equivalent to morphine in relieving abstinence symptoms from chronic morphine administration. The Schedule III status of Hydrocodone-containing products has made them available to widespread diversion by "bogus call-in prescriptions" and thefts. Three dosage forms are typically found (5, 7.5, and 10 mg) and their behavioral effects can last up to 5 hours. The drug is most often administered orally. The growing awareness and concern about AIDS and blood-borne pathogens easily transmitted by syringe needle use, has made the oral bioavailability of Hydrocodone attractive to the typical opiate abuser.

    A Hydrocodone overdose happens when you consume more Hydrocodone than your body can safely handle. An overdose of Hydrocodone can be fatal. Hydrocodone is found in multiple prescription drugs including Lortab, Lorcet, and Vicodin. If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency treatment immediately.

    Symptoms of a Hydrocodone overdose include:

  • bluish tinge to skin, fingernails, and lips
  • cold clammy skin
  • extreme sleepiness
  • heavy perspiration
  • limp muscles
  • nausea & vomiting
  • slowed heartbeat
  • slow and labored breathing
  • shallow breathing
  • pinpoint pupils
  • spasms of the stomach and/or intestinal tract
  • low blood pressure
  • drowsiness
  • seizures
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • loss of consciousness
  • coma
  • confusion
  • tiredness
  • sweating
  • Hydrocodone Side Effects

    Hydrocodone is an effective antitussive (anti-cough) agent, and as an opiate it is also an effective analgesic for mild to moderate pain control. Five mg of Hydrocodone is equivalent to 30 mg of codeine when administered orally. Early comparisons concluded that Hydrocodone and morphine were equivalent for pain control in humans. However, it is now considered that a dose of 15 mg (1/4 gr) of Hydrocodone is equivalent to 10 mg (1/6 gr) of morphine. Hydrocodone is considered to be morphine-like in all respects.

    Hydrocodone abuse is an increasing trend in non-chronic pain suffering persons. The abuser of these drugs has been shown not to be the inner city youth, but instead a famous actor, a suburban real estate agent, or your next door neighbor. First time abuse of these drugs has been surging, most commonly with the oxycodone and Hydrocodone type painkillers. The two differ slightly in their chemical makeup but have a similar effect on the body.

    Hydrocodone side effects include but are not limited to:

  • anxiety
  • constipation
  • decreased mental & physical performance
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty urination
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry throat
  • emotional dependence
  • exaggerated feeling of depression
  • extreme calm (sedation)
  • exaggerated sense of well-being
  • fear
  • itching
  • mental clouding
  • mood changes
  • nausea & vomiting rash
  • restlessness
  • sluggishness
  • tightness in chest