“Medical Use, Abuse, and Popularity: Everything about Vicodin”

Vicodin is one of the many brand names that refer to the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It also goes by the name of Norco, and is an opioid. Hydrocodone is a pain reliever, while acetaminophen is a less potent medicine that boosts these pain relieving effects.

In the medical industry, it is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.

However, despite its medical uses, it has a high abuse potential. In fact, in 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel urged to remove Vicodin and Percocet from the market. They pointed at its high likelihood of overdose as the main reason for this decision. Liver damage and Vicodin-related deaths were also cited as concerns.

Medical Use and Presence in Popular Media

This combination drug can help people get through cancer pain, traumatic pain, and surgical pain. It comes as an oral solution as well as tablet formulation. It is considered a powerful pain relieving drug, which also happens to be habit-forming. For this reason, patients who are prescribed with Vicodin are urged to follow the doctor’s instructions carefully.

Do not take larger doses of this drug, and do not take it for longer than is recommended.

Because of its euphoric effects, it is popular amongst recreational users. Vicodin also sees frequent references in pop culture, particularly in rap and hip hop music. For example, Vicodin is referenced in Kendrick Lamar’s “A.D.H.D”, Lupe Fiasco’s “Mural”, and Future’s “Lay Up”.

The medical drama House MD also uses it as a central theme for the series, as the lead character Dr. Gregory House is addicted to it.

Vicodin Abuse and Common Side Effects

Vicodin is addictive. Its euphoric and relaxing effects can cause somebody to keep taking the drug to cope with stress, or to simply feel good. Physical tension is reduced, anxiety is lessened, and the user finds it easier to sleep.

However, when the drug problem escalates into something more serious, plenty of adverse health effects may follow.

Common side effects of frequent Vicodin use are: dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, and vomiting. Some users feel confused, anxious, moody, constipated, and itchy. There are rare cases in which severe skin reactions prove to be fatal. If you take Vicodin and you suddenly develop redness all over the body, stop taking it and contact your doctor immediately.

Seek medical assistance if you or someone you love experiences shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, hallucinations, convulsions, or liver problems.

Take note that this list of side effects is not complete. Effects may vary depending on the person’s health condition, drug history, and frequency of drug intake.

Vicodin Overdose and Withdrawal

Overdosing on Vicodin is possible. The symptoms of Vicodin overdose can be attiributed to the two substances that make up its formulation. Hydrocodone overdose can cause respiratory depression, coma, muscle limpness, low blood pressure, sudden loss of heart function, and even death.

High doses of acetaminophen may cause liver and kidney failure.

Some users abuse Vicodin continuously, and suffer long term effects. People who abuse it for a long time may develop dependence. This is the state in which the body has learned to adapt to the drug’s presence. This causes it to react negatively if the substance is not taken. It results in various withdrawal symptoms.

When attempting to stop the substance, the user may experience the following: agitation, trembling, nausea, insomnia, vomiting, and pain.

These withdrawal symptoms make it harder for the user to quit the drug. For those who have already quit, withdrawal might cause them to relapse. Because of this, professional treatment is necessary to help manage the symptoms.

The detox process if usually the first step in rehabilitation.

Vicodin Abuse Treatment

If you or your loved one is suffering from Vicodin addiction, you can start the path to recovery by looking for the right treatment facility. Look for one that is near, convenient, and well-equipped. Try to find out if the staff is well-trained, and research on the rehab facility’s success rating.

Once you find one that fits your needs perfectly, the patient will undergo a medical examination. This will assess their drug history and health, so that a good treatment plan can be devised.

The patient will then undergo a medically supervised detox. They will gradually lower the drug intake while managing the withdrawal symptoms. Medication may be used during this process. Some medications can help block the euphoric effects of Vicodin, or stop the person from craving it.

After the detox, rehabilitation and counseling may take place. Behavioral therapy is one of the best ways to help the person cope with life without drugs.

Group counseling fosters a supportive environment that lets the patient get comfortable with the idea of getting better.  It is also during rehabilitation that a person learns the underlying reasons behind addiction. They will be able to readjust to their life in society without fearing relapse.

With proper care and guidance, the patient will be able to live a sober, happy life once more.