Acetaminophen/hydrocodone is a combination of two different pain-relief medicines with two different mechanisms of action. Hydrocodone is a narcotic (opioid) pain reliever while acetaminophen (non-opioid pain reliever) is a less potent pain reliever that enhances the effect of hydrocodone. Hydrocodone works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain while acetaminophen also reduces fever.
A combination of this medicine relieves moderate to severe pain such as back pain, pain, rheumatoid arthritis, cough, and many others.
This medicine is white, capsule-shaped with pill imprint “Watson 3203”, and belongs to the drug class narcotic analgesic combinations. Narcotic analgesics are effective at relieving pain, but can cause addiction, dependence, and tolerance when increasing the dosage for maximum pain relieving effect.
Acetaminophen and hydrocodone Side Effects
Report to your doctor if any of these symptoms worsen:
- anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness
- mild nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, constipation;
- headache, mood changes;
- blurred vision;
- ringing in your ears; or
- dry mouth
To prevent constipation, exercise regularly, increase water intake and fiber in diet. Consult your doctor first with use of laxative and stool softeners as these are stimulants. Rise slowly from a sitting or lying position to minimize dizziness/lightheadedness. Some patients rarely experience side effects and for some, symptoms just disappear having taken the medicine for a period of time.
Discuss with your doctor how to minimize side effects and some other symptoms that may not be present in this list.
Get medical help with allergic reactions such as rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Tell the doctor right away if you have these serious side effects:
- shallow breathing, slow heartbeat;
- feeling light-headed, fainting;
- confusion, fear, unusual thoughts or behavior;
- seizure (convulsions);
- problems with urination; or
- nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Acetaminophen/hydrocodone is an effective combination pain relieving medicine; however, use is limited by the dependence potential of the hydrocodone component and the possibility of liver toxicity with excessive doses of acetaminophen.
- Take only as prescribed and as directed. Do not exceed recommended dosage.
- Acetaminophen and hydrocodone can impair thinking and reactions. Avoid driving or activities that require you to be awake and alert.
- This drug is not recommended for use by children below 6 years old due to an increased risk of side effect such as slow or shallow breathing.
- Dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and weight in children.
- Pain medications work best if used at the first onset of pain. The medication may not work well if you wait for pain to worsen.
- Withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating, and muscle aches may occur. Do not immediately stop taking the medication without advice from your doctor and report these symptoms right away.
- This drug may not work well if used for a long time, talk with your doctor.
- Risk for drug-seeking behavior/addiction may be increased with previous alcohol and drug abuse.
- Inform the doctor the following before taking this medicine:
- Allergies to acetaminophen and other drugs.
- Some other allergies
- Medical history, medications taken and plans of surgery
- If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage while taking acetaminophen.
- Do not double dose in case of a missed dose. Take the medicine as soon as you remember. If the medicine is taken regularly, skip the missed dose if the next dosing schedule is near.
- Get help with overdose symptoms such as extreme drowsiness, sweating, pinpoint pupils, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), confusion, cold and clammy skin, muscle weakness, fainting, weak pulse, slow heart rate, coma, blue lips, shallow breathing, or no breathing.
- Hydrocodone is habit-forming, do not distribute, do not share with others and store in a secure place away from others.
- Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
There may be other side effects not mentioned in the list. Discuss with your doctor the advantages and disadvantages of taking this medication and how to properly take this medicine.
This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.