Hydrocodone Lorcet Lortab Warning Signs & Side Effects
Despite its sometimes seemingly harmless, and often beneficial association, hydrocodone can actually carry some risks including various side effects. These side effects typically occur when the drug (usually a combination drug of hydrocodone and something else) is abused by the patient, or someone who is attempting to intentionally abuse the drug. That is why it is important to be aware of the hydrocodone warning signs and side effects to help know what to look for in a potential case of addiction. Keep reading to learn more about these warning signs of hydrocodone addiction and the side effects that can result.
What is Hydrocodone and How Does it Work?
Hydrocodone is opioid based, but is also partially lab created. The opioid works by controlling certain receptors in the brain that govern pain, which is often why the user describes a feeling of euphoria after taking the drug. The analgesic potency of hydrocodone is similar to Morphine. When Hydrocodone is used as a medication it is typically used as a combination drug, most frequently used with cough suppressants like codeine and acetaminophen.
It is included with many prescription name medications namely – Vicodin, Lortab and Lorcet. Other combination drugs include – ibuprofen (Vicoprofen), aspirin (Lortab ASA) and antihistamines (Hycomine). Because hydrocodone is used in so many combination prescriptions, it is currently the most commonly prescribed drug in the United States.
Hydrocodone Addiction Warning Signs:
Because hydrocodone is commonly prescribed by doctors, it only stands to reason that it can easily find its way into the hands of those looking to abuse the drug illegally. Because of its opioid base, hydrocodone can be used to help users get high – just like other opioid medications like morphine, fentanyl or illegal drugs like heroin.
When opioid-based drugs like hydrocodone are abused too frequently for an extended period of time, it can result in changes to the brain. These changes impact the pain receptors. The desire to feel pain free, or euphoric, grows stronger and more difficult to appease with each use. This is how addiction begins. It requires more of the drug in more frequent intervals to achieve the same high.
The American Society for Addiction Medicine and the National Institute on Drug Abuse now state that opioid dependence has become a chronic brain disease, and in many cases can become fatal if left untreated.
Warning signs of a Hydrocodone Addiction include:
- Drowsiness and excessive tiredness. Those who are addicted to opioids like hydrocodone might act excessively drowsy at certain points during the day, as if in a pattern, not at typical times of day (morning/night) when a person might act tired. Because of this, they might have an unwillingness to hang out, participate in fun family/group activities.
- Inability to concentrate/lack of motivation. The user might find themselves struggling at work or school or even with menial household tasks. Because of the impact the opioid has on the brain, it can make it difficult for the user to concentrate.
- Social behavioral changes. The user might withdraw from activities they once used to enjoy in place of hiding and doing drugs.
- Changes in appearance. Unlike with many other drugs, it can be difficult to visually tell if a person is addicted to opioids. However, pinpoint pupils can be a sign someone is high on opioid drugs. Head nodding, intense calm and slurred speech are also visual signs of an opioid addiction.
- Practices of increased secrecy. With any drug addiction, the user often begins hiding activities, money problems/transactions, their whereabouts and tend to fly under the radar to avoid getting caught getting high, buying drugs or taking part in doing drugs.
Hydrocodone Side Effects:
Side effects for hydrocodone use range from common to rare but severe. The rare, but severe, side effect more likely result when the drug is being abused by the user. Common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Fluid retention
- A false sense of well being
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Involuntary muscle spasms
- Loss of appetite
- Low energy
- Excessive sweating
Severe side effects include:
- Narcotic addiction
- Acute liver failure
- Giant hives
- Adrenal gland problems
- Decreased white blood cell count
- Hearing problems
- Decreased blood platelets
- Risk of hepatitis infection from intravenous drug use
Illegal Use of Hydrocodone:
- Persons who may be abusing hydrocodone medications might be more likely to ingest it orally rather than intravenously like other commonly-abused opioid medications.
- Hydrocodone can be found illegally through illicit internet sources, by “doctor shopping,” as well as through friends and family who might have a legitimate prescription for the medication and through the typical street drug-dealing market.
- Street names for hydrocodone drugs include: Hydro, Norco and Vikes. Tablets, capsules and syrups are typically how drugs containing Hydrocodone are administered for both prescribed medical purposes and for the street drug version.
If you, or someone you know, is abusing a drug like hydrocodone, or a drug that contains hydrocodone like Vicodin, Lortab or any of other brand names for hydrocodone, be sure to seek the help of a medical professional right away to begin the path to addiction recovery.