What Patients Should Know About Hydrocodone Withdrawal

Hydrocodone-RxHydrocodone is a type of prescription pain medication that has opiod properties. It produces the same effects as morphine and heroin. Its narcotic components make it prone to be misused. This drug is listed under Food and Drug Administration pregnancy category C as studies in animals show that the drug may cause adverse reactions onto the fetus.

The Medical History Of Hydrocodone

This drug was created in 1920 by Helene Lowenheim & Carl Mannich in Germany. The FDA approved the sale of this pharmaceutical product in the U.S.A. on March 23, 1943. Currently, the drug is used to alleviate moderate to severe episodes of pain and used as an antitussive to treat cough.

How Hydrocodone Works

Hydrocodone produces pain relief by binding onto the opioid receptors found in the spinal cord and brain. It would be best to avoid taking alcohol with this drug as it may cause further drowsiness.

It has also shown to cause adverse reactions when mixed with other CNS depressants. Studies show that it can potentially react with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

It should be taken only in prescribed amounts due to its addictive properties. Most importantly, a patient should slowly wean him or herself off the drug. It is very important that patients do not stop taking the medication suddenly; especially if they have used it for more than a few weeks as withdrawal symptoms are likely.

Vicodin_Lortab_Lorcet_brand_namesHydrocodone products that also include acetaminophen are the most commonly abused forms of the drug. These products are often referred to by their name brands and include Vicodin, Norco or Lortab.

While the withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant, they are usually not dangerous. Withdrawing is more common with patients who quit suddenly than those who work with a doctor to taper off use of the drug.

Symptoms may include nausea, diarrhea, sweating and insomnia. Tapering off the use of the medication to stop helps to keep the symptoms at bay. These types of withdrawals, unlike that of alcohol or other drugs usually do not cause one to experience life threatening symptoms.

Why Withdrawal Occurs

Hydrocodone withdrawal occurs because one’s body has grown accustomed to the drug’s effects. It may occur with legitimate use of the medication for chronic conditions as well as with abuse. Having withdrawal symptoms after a legitimate use of the medication is not a sign that one has abused the drug. It is common in those who abuse this medication.

The symptoms can be very unpleasant. Some find them so uncomfortable they start taking it again to prevent themselves from experiencing very uncomfortable effects. The best way to limit these symptoms is to avoid stopping the medication cold turkey.

Healthcare providers should provide a schedule that slowly decreases the rate of taking the medication to minimize the symptoms. Most health care providers are able to help users overcome them and are very willing to help stop the use of the drug.

Individuals who abuse this medication may develop both physical and psychological addiction. These individuals may need more help than can be provided by a family physician.

Drug treatment centers can help an addict to be free of this and other drugs. The facility can provide help with detox, and the symptoms. They can also offer group and individual therapy to deal with underlying causes of one’s addiction.

Whether one comes to a desire to quit of his or her own free will or circumstances cause a need to stop using hydrocodone, a rehabilitation center offers the professional help to overcome one’s drug problem.