Vicodin Symptoms, Signs & Side Effects

The opioid epidemic impacting the nation has been front in center in Colorado, and one of the drugs that’s part of this scary battle is Vicodin. Vicodin is one of the more recognized and well-known prescription opioids combining hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The following outlines the side effects of Vicodin, the signs of Vicodin addiction, and signs of a Vicodin overdose.

Vicodin Side Effects

When someone takes Vicodin, it impacts their opioid receptors, which is how it diminishes the sensation of pain, but in this way, people may also feel high from using this prescription drug. When someone takes opioids, it slows down the functionality of their central nervous system, which is where most of the noticeable side effects of Vicodin stem from.

Whether you take Vicodin because of a prescription, or you take it recreationally, you may experience certain side effects.

Common Vicodin side effects include:

  • Seeming sleepy or lethargic
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Sense of relaxation or well-being
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Weakness

There may also be more severe Vicodin side effects possible which include slowed breathing, feeling like you’re going to faint, altered judgment, confusion, extreme drowsiness and loss of consciousness.

Vicodin Addiction: Symptoms, Signs, & Side Effects

Side Effects of Vicodin Abuse

The Vicodin symptoms above stem from the short-term use of the drug, and they can occur whenever it’s taken, whether for pain by a legitimate prescription or recreationally. The side effects of Vicodin abuse and Vicodin side effects in the long-term are similar but include others as well.

When you abuse Vicodin or take it in the long-term, it can lead to the development of a tolerance, and this can happen relatively quickly. Tolerance means that you need to take more and more Vicodin to feel the same effects. Over time, as tolerance develops the euphoric high of the drug often disappears.

Vicodin side effects in the long-term can also include addiction. Vicodin is a powerful opioid that changes the neural pathways of the brain, and this is what fuels the chronic disease of addiction.

Since Vicodin is a combination drug that includes an opioid and acetaminophen, there are other side effects as well. Acetaminophen can be harmful to the liver in large doses, when combined with alcohol or when taken regularly. Vicodin side effects in the long-term can include jaundice, urinary problems, liver damage or liver failure because of the acetaminophen.

Vicodin Addiction Signs

For people in Colorado, there is probably a lot of unfortunate familiarity surrounding the use of Vicodin and other opioids. It’s a problem officials in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and statewide are working to address, but at the individual level, you may wonder what the signs of an addiction to Vicodin are.

The following are some of the Vicodin addiction signs:

  • One of the initial symptoms of Vicodin addiction that become apparent is using more Vicodin than what’s prescribed or taking it more often, even when the person has a prescription
  • If someone is abusing Vicodin or addicted and has developed a tolerance, if they stop using it suddenly they will go through withdrawal symptoms
  • Symptoms of Vicodin addiction can create changes in a person’s behavior. For example, they may start isolating themselves from friends or family, or their performance at school or work might decline.
  • When someone is addicted to Vicodin, they may try to stop using it and find that they’re unsuccessful.
  • Many of the symptoms of Vicodin addiction are related to how the drug is obtained. Someone who is addicted might change prescriptions, steal, buy or trade Vicodin without a prescription, or doctor shop for multiple prescriptions.

Crushing it up and snorting it or taking it any other way than how it’s intended to be used is one of the Vicodin addiction symptoms.

Vicodin Addiction Symptoms

When someone first starts taking Vicodin if it’s for legitimate pain relief their doctor will often start them on a very small dose, and then gradually move that dose up if it’s required. This can alleviate some of the symptoms of Vicodin, including the euphoric high that can lead to addiction, but there may still be some of the common Vicodin symptoms like nausea and vomiting.

When someone abuses Vicodin or uses it recreationally, the symptoms are likely to be more noticeable.

Over the long-term, some of the symptoms of Vicodin abuse can include a lower tolerance for pain, changes in mood, anxiety, irritability, and problems dealing with stress. People who use Vicodin regularly also tend to be either fatigued or sleepy often, and they have memory problems.

Signs of a Vicodin Overdose

Vicodin is a combination drug that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen, and overdose is possible because of not only the opioid component of the drug but also the acetaminophen.

When someone overdoses on an opioid drug, they may display the following symptoms:

  • Extreme drowsiness or nodding off
  • Making gurgling or snoring sounds
  • Slowed breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Bluish tint to lips or nails
  • Seeming extremely confused or disoriented
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Weak pulse
  • Seizures
  • Coma

With acetaminophen, there’s also a risk of overdose that can lead to liver toxicity. The signs of a Vicodin overdose related to acetaminophen can include dark urine or trouble urinating, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes, and ultimately it can lead to liver failure.

If you believe someone is experiencing the signs of a Vicodin overdose, it’s extremely important to contact emergency services immediately.

Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone contact Colorado Poison Center for online assistance.

If you recognize the signs of Vicodin addiction in yourself or someone else, there are treatment resources in Colorado including for people of Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and from around the state. One option is The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake. The Recovery Village also has out-of-state national facilities to help treat a Vicodin addiction as well.