Vicodin is commonly prescribed for pain relief. Vicodin is a combination medication that contains both the opioid drug hydrocodone and the analgesic acetaminophen, which is also found in Tylenol. There can be serious side effects related to both of Vicodin’s drug components. Doctors often prescribe it on an as-needed basis, rather than using a strict dosing schedule. There are, however, maximum dosages that should not be exceeded. For regular strength Vicodin, the general guideline is to take one or two tablets every four to six hours, with the maximum dosage of eight tablets in a 24-hour period.
Vicodin Overdose Risks
High doses of acetaminophen can cause serious liver damage, so complications may arise if Vicodin is taken along with other acetaminophen products such as Tylenol. The total amount of acetaminophen consumed in a day should not exceed four grams, so users should check all their medications for acetaminophen content. Acetaminophen may be found in a variety of drugs including cold, allergy and sleep medications. Acetaminophen may also be abbreviated as APAP on medication labels.
The hydrocodone portion of Vicodin acts as a sedative. Vicodin overdose symptoms can be dangerous and may include the following:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Muscle weakness
- Slowed heart rate
- Respiratory depression
These overdose risks can be multiplied if Vicodin is combined with alcohol or other drugs.
Vicodin Tolerance, Dependence and Addiction
For those who have been prescribed Vicodin for pain, it is common for the drug to become gradually less effective over time. This can occur because the body adapts to the drug’s chemicals and develops a physical tolerance. Drug tolerance can also develop for users who abuse the drug recreationally.
Tolerance is a sign that the body’s chemical balance has been altered in response to the drug’s effects. As these changes continue to occur, tolerance can lead to dependence. Once a drug dependence is established, withdrawal symptoms will appear if the drug use is ceased. Dependence can lead to addiction, which causes users to experience cravings for the drug and an inability to control their drug consumption.
Finding Help for Vicodin Addiction
If you think you may have taken an overdose of Vicodin, seek medical attention immediately. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to Vicodin, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about Vicodin addiction and treatment options. Please call now.