Home » Prescription Drug Abuse » Opioid Addiction » Vicodin Addiction: Side Effects, Withdrawal, & Treatment
Vicodin is a branded hydrocodone combination product developed for the treatment of moderate and severe pain.
The hydrocodone content of this potent opioid-based painkiller means that Vicodin addiction can easily occur.
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Vicodin was a branded formulation of hydrocodone that also contained acetaminophen. The pharmaceutical company Abbott discontinued manufacturing and distributing Vicodin in the United States in May 2012.
Each Vicodin pill contains two active ingredients:
Although Vicodin can be a highly effective painkiller, the medication also triggers a variety of potentially unpleasant side effects.
The most common of these adverse Vicodin side effects include:
If you experience any of these symptoms severely, or if symptoms persist, consult your physician.
When prescribed Vicodin for pain relief, you should never suddenly discontinue use without close medical supervision.
Seek immediate medical guidance if any of the following side effects present when using Vicodin tablets or capsules:
Vicodin, as with all combination medications containing hydrocodone, may trigger additional side effects.
Vicodin is administered for pain relief lasting for up to six hours, typically for acute pain following surgery.
Tolerance to Vicodin rapidly forms, meaning the substance has the potential for abuse and addiction – more on opioid use disorder below.
The hydrocodone component of Vicodin slows breathing and heart rates. This can trigger a life-threatening overdose.
The acetaminophen component of Vicodin can bring about liver damage and possibly acute liver failure in high doses.
Vicodin was previously a Schedule III controlled substance. In 2014, all hydrocodone products were reclassified under Schedule II of the CSA (Controlled Substances Act).
Vicodin has a four-hour half-life. The opioid will be eliminated completely from the system after between four and five half-lives.
The following factors influence how long Vicodin stays in the system:
Like all opioids, using hydrocodone in any form carries the risk of both abuse and addiction.
The primary reason for the reclassification of hydrocodone as a schedule II controlled substance is the powerful abuse potential of this semi-synthetic opioid. Any use of hydrocodone without a supporting prescription, and any use of hydrocodone other than as prescribed is considered hydrocodone abuse.
Why are medications like hydrocodone and Vicodin so addictive, then?
Vicodin is especially addictive due to the way tolerance rapidly forms. As tolerance develops, you will need more Vicodin to achieve the same effects, or you will need to use the medication more frequently.
Triggering a vicious cycle, continuing to use Vicodin is likely to cause physical dependence. When this occurs, you will need the medication simply to stave off withdrawal symptoms and to feel normal. Tolerance and withdrawal are both symptoms of opioid use disorder. Physical dependence on opioids often but not always accompanies opioid addiction.
Although hydrocodone addiction can come about quite quickly, hydrocodone addiction treatment typically delivers positive outcomes.
What should you look out for if you are prescribed Vicodin or another hydrocodone product and you’re concerned about the development of opioid use disorder?
All hydrocodone addictions are unique, and it can be challenging to establish when abusing this semi-synthetic opioid triggers addiction.
Hydrocodone addiction is clinically described as OUD (opioid use disorder). OUD is diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe according to the number of symptoms present. The diagnostic criteria are listed in American Psychiatric Association’s most current edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5-TR
If you are concerned about hydrocodone addiction, ask yourself the following questions based on your opioid use over the past twelve months:
The presence of two or three symptoms indicates mild OUD. If four or five symptoms present, this is diagnosed as moderate OUD. Severe OUD is characterized by the presentation of six or more of the above symptoms of hydrocodone addiction.
If you are concerned about your use of hydrocodone, speak with your healthcare provider, and request a diagnosis or referral for a diagnosis of opioid use disorder.
When you are ready to engage with treatment, we can help you from detox to discharge and beyond here at California Detox.
Vicodin withdrawal might be uncomfortable, but it is also a brief process. Most withdrawal symptoms will subside after seven to ten days.
This combination medication has a half-life of 4 hours. This will cause withdrawal symptoms to manifest about eight hours after the last dose of Vicodin. These symptoms are similar in presentation to the withdrawal symptoms of other opioid-based painkillers. These include:
Those addicted to hydrocodone typically benefit from a supervised medical detox before engaging with Vicodin addiction treatment. Hydrocodone withdrawal involves uncomfortable symptoms that present around eight hours after the last dosage and persist for seven to ten days.
At our licensed medical detox center here at Laguna Beach, FDA-approved medications can streamline hydrocodone withdrawal. You will also benefit from clinical and emotional care throughout detoxification.
At California Detox, we offer hydrocodone and Vicodin addiction treatment programs at all levels of intensity, including:
Whatever level of intensity you require, your treatment team will personalize your treatment plan using a combination of EBTs (evidence-based treatments) and holistic therapies. You will have access to these interventions:
For those with hydrocodone addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, we offered coordinated and integrated dual diagnosis treatment.
When you’re ready to move beyond hydrocodone addiction and to start building a firm foundation for sustained recovery, call admissions at 949.567.8790.