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What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is one of the most common pain medications prescribed by clinicians and one of the most abused by patients. It is a relatively potent drug for moderate-to-severe pain control in postoperative patients, patients with trauma, or patients with cancer. The combination of hydrocodone with acetaminophen is much more efficacious in several randomized studies without any significant changes in adverse effects. 
What is its Origin?
Hydrocodone (hye” droe koe’ done) is a semisynthetic derivative of codeine or thebaine, natural alkaloids derived from the resin of poppy seeds (Papaver somniferum). It is well absorbed orally and has moderate opiate activity (approximately 6 times that of codeine), acting an agonist of the opiate receptor.
What are common street names?
Common street names for hydrocodone include: • fluff, tabs, vikes, hydros, and vitamin. 
What does it look like?
Most types of hydrocodone look like a small circular or oval pill with the strength/dosage directly imprinted on the tablet. Hydrocodone is an opioid analgesic painkiller, and it is frequently combined with acetaminophen (an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer).

Which drugs cause similar effects?
Other opioids such as OxyContin®, Vicodin®, codeine, morphine, methadone, and fentanyl can cause similar effects as hydrocodone.  

What is its legal status in the United States? Hydrocodone is a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act meaning that it has medical usefulness, but also a potential for physical and psychological dependency and abuse.

What is its effect on the mind?

Hydrocodone brings the much-desired relief and, as a side-effect for some, a pleasurable high that interacts with the brain’s reward circuitry. Both effects help to explain why it is easy to become addicted to or dependent on hydrocodone and other opiate drugs, even in situations where initial use was done according to prescribed parameters.

The brain’s reward circuitry mentioned above has a lot to do with dopamine. Dopamine is a highly-desirable chemical found in the brain. Hydrocodone works to make more dopamine available in the brain, which produces this positive feeling. Once someone experiences this feeling, they will likely repeat the same behaviors in order to re-experience it.

What is its effect on the body?

Repeated use of hydrocodone frequently leads to tolerance, so you will need to take more of the drug in order to get the same effect as your body becomes adjusted to the dose or frequency. Tolerance can develop remarkably quickly with these medications, becoming noticeable within a few doses taken, in some cases.

Tolerance can easily lead to addiction. Addiction entails problematic, compulsive drug use that negatively impacts multiple areas of your life. Despite the problems it creates, those locked in a cycle of compulsive drug use continue to seek out and abuse the drug in question.

Long-term effects of hydrocodone use can include a broad range of physical problems from acetaminophen toxicity and liver damage to  sensorineural hearing loss. 

What are its overdose effects?

Symptoms of hydrocodone overdose include:

  • Small pupils

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Drowsiness

  • Unresponsiveness

  • Slow or absent breathing

  • Pale, clammy skin

  • Blueness around the mouth or in the nail beds


Testing for Hydrocodone

Typically any drug testing panel that includes Opiates will included testing for Hydrocodone. This is mostly all drug test panels.

To perform the Hydrocodone drug test, you’ll need either a nail, hairurine or sweat patch sample from the individual you suspect of using. If you are an employer requesting the Hydrocodone drug test, you’ll want to make sure that you not only meet state guidelines and regulations but that you also meet those set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Be sure to look into their Regulated Drug Testing requirements. If you choose a hair test, you’ll be able to see Hydrocodone use dating as far back as 90 days. The analysis should provide an accurate sample so that you can determine if a loved one was using and, if so, the best way for you to go about seeking treatment on their behalf.

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