hydrocodone - acetaminophen

By Teva Pharmaceuticals

What side effects are possible with this medication?

A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. A side effect may be mild or severe, temporary or permanent, but does not occur in everyone. Not everyone will experience side effects, and which side effects a person experiences cannot be anticipated. If you develop any of these side effects (or any other side effects not listed here) or they change in intensity, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice on managing them and on the risks and benefits of the medication.

The most frequently reported side effects include:

  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or feeling faint
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Other side effects include:

  • anxiety
  • constipation
  • decreased white blood cells
  • decreased platelets (blood-clotting cells)
  • difficulty urinating
  • fear
  • impairment of mental and physical performance
  • itching
  • mental clouding
  • mood changes
  • psychic dependence
  • restlessness
  • skin rash
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Click here to learn about serious side effects that can potentially occur with any medication. These examples are provided for information purposes only and are not meant to be exhaustive. Always consult your doctor for sound medical advice specific to your particular medication and treatment.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone at 1-800-332-1088.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Abdominal conditions: People with abdominal problems should be closely monitored by their doctor while taking this medication as it may make these conditions harder to diagnose and monitor.

Breathing: People sensitive to this medication or taking it in high doses may experience shortness of breath or irregular breathing.

Cough reflex: Hydrocodone suppresses the cough reflex. People with lung disease or people using hydrocodone - acetaminophen after surgery should be closely monitored by their doctor.

Dependence and withdrawal: Physical dependence, psychological dependence, and abuse have occurred with the use of hydrocodone. If you have been using this medication regularly for a prolonged period and no longer require it for treatment, your doctor will likely want you to reduce the dose gradually over a period of 1 to 2 weeks rather than stopping it suddenly.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Hydrocodone may impair the mental or physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous tasks such as driving a car or operating machinery. Use appropriate caution. Do not perform these tasks until you know that this medication does not impair your ability to do them safely.

Head injury: People with head injuries should be closely monitored by their doctor while taking this medication as it may worsen their condition or affect their breathing.

Other medical conditions: People with hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, an enlarged prostate, a narrow or blocked urethra, bleeding, impaired breathing, or debilitated patients should be monitored by their doctor while taking this medication as it may worsen these conditions.

Kidney and liver function: People with severely impaired kidney or liver function should be closely monitored by their doctor when using this medication.

Tolerance: Hydrocodone may lead to tolerance when used for long periods of time. Tolerance means that your body gets used to the medication so that more medication may be needed to produce the same pain relief. Do not change your dose or the way you are using this medication on your own. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, stop taking it immediately and call your doctor. As with all narcotics, if this medication is taken in high doses shortly before delivery, it may cause breathing problems in the newborn.

Breast-feeding: Acetaminophen passes into breast milk in small amounts. If taking hydrocodone - acetaminophen is considered essential, your doctor will ask you to stop breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children.

Seniors: It is unknown if seniors respond differently from younger patients. Seniors should be monitored by their doctor when taking this medication and start at a lower dose, as preexisting medical conditions may increase the risk of side effects.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between hydrocodone - acetaminophen and any of the following:

  • alcohol
  • anaesthetics
  • antihistamines (e.g., chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine)
  • barbiturates (e.g., secobarbital)
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (e.g., tranylcypromine, phenelzine, moclobemide)
  • other narcotic analgesics (e.g., codeine, morphine)
  • phenothiazines (e.g., perphenazine, thioridazine)
  • sedatives and tranquilizers
  • tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, desipramine, imipramine)

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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