Hydrocodone is an effective antitussive (anti-cough) agent, and as an opiate it is also an effective analgesic for mild to moderate pain control. Five mg of this drug is equivalent to 30 mg of codeine when administered orally. Early comparisons concluded that hydrocodone and morphine were equipotent for pain control in humans. However, it is now considered that a dose of 15 mg (1/4 gr) is equivalent to 10 mg (1/6 gr) of morphine. Hydrocodone is considered to be morphine-like in all respects.

There are over 200 products containing opioid in the U.S. In its most usual product forms this opioid is combined with acetaminophen (Vicodin, Lortab), but it is also combined with aspirin (Lortab ASA), ibuprofen (Vicoprofen), and antihistamines (Hycomine). Both tablet and liquid forms of this opioid are available (e.g., Tussionex)

Hydrocodone is in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. Preparations containing hydrocodone in combination with other non-narcotic medicinal ingredients are in Schedule III. Vicodin, hydrocodone in combination with acetaminophen, is a commonly abused version of hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States and is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other licit or illicit opioid.

Vicodin, as with all narcotic analgesics, can be habit forming—causing dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms if not used as it is prescribed. Even when used as prescribed, the following effects are possible:


Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, sedation, vomiting, and constipation.Hydrocodone


Allergic reactions, blood disorders, mood changes, mental cloudiness, anxiety, lethargy, urine retention, ureteral spasm, irregular breathing, respiratory depression, and skin rash.


Bluish tinge to skin, cold and clammy skin, extreme sleepiness progressing to a possible state of unresponsiveness or coma, heart problems, heavy perspiration, kidney problems, limp muscles, liver failure, low blood pressure, nausea, slow heartbeat, troubled or slowed breathing, and vomiting.

More information in the Prescription brochure and Prescription Chart.

Other Sources

Drug Identification Guide

CDC Facts

CDC Addiction Info

CDC Overdose Stats

CDC Substance Treatment

Whitehouse Drug-Free Communities

Samhsa Workplace Programs


Federal Register Codification

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