Vicodin

Chat with Pharmacy Staff

Question

What is Vicodin?

Answer

Vicodin (hydrocodone/APAP) is a combination of two pain relievers: hydrocodone, a narcotic, and APAP (an abbreviation for acetaminophen), a non-narcotic. It is useful in treating pain caused by multiple situations, including recent dental procedures, surgery, bone and muscle injury, severe headache and severe cough.

Lower doses may be needed in children, elderly and people with liver and kidney disease. It should not be taken in combination with additional Tylenol or acetaminophen.

How does Vicodin treat cough?

Coughing rids your body of irritants in your lungs, airway and throat. Just before you cough the irritant out, your respiratory system sends a signal to your brain telling your abdominal and diaphragm muscles to contract and push sending a burst of air out of your lungs. Coughing once in a while is fine to clear your throat, but chronic coughing can cause discomfort. Vicodin (hydrocodone/APAP) can help reduce a cough by slowing down the actions in the brain that lead to coughing.

How does Vicodin treat migraine headaches?

Vicodin (hydrocodone/APAP) treats migraine pain by causing the brain and central nervous system to not perceive the pain and increase the pain threshold.

What should I know about Vicodin before taking it?

You should know that taking Vicodin (hydrocodone/APAP) in excess can lead to mental and physical addiction. Also, the longer you take the drug the more likely you are to build up a tolerance to it; meaning that the previously prescribed dose will no longer be as effective as it was at first. Before starting the medication tell your doctor if you have a history of liver or kidney problems, an underactive thyroid gland, Addison's disease, an enlarged prostate or narrowing of the urethra. Your doctor should also know if you have a history of alcoholism, substance abuse, seizures, head or brain injuries or psychiatric problems. Elderly people, people with lung conditions and those with poor health in general should use Vicodin with caution, since it can slow breathing. It can also cause problems diagnosing and treating certain abdominal disorders.

View Walgreens.com pain relief and management products.

Back to Pharmacist FAQs

If you're looking for more specific answers to specific questions, ask a Walgreens pharmacist here.

DISCLAIMER:
Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a Walgreens.com pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.