Hydrocodone is an opioid or a narcotic that can elicit a euphoric, calm state that is very similar to the effects that morphine or heroin gives. It is thus very beneficial to those who suffer from chronic and long lasting pain. However, despite these obvious benefits, evidence points towards the direction of chronic addiction. Pure hydrocodone belongs to the Schedule II drug category, which simply means that it is controlled and use of the drug is highly restricted. However, there are only a few prescription drugs that are made of pure hydrocodone. Most of them available in the market contain only small amounts of hydrocodone mixed with non-narcotic ingredients, such as in Vicodin and Lortab. When so, they are classified to be under the Schedule III categories with expectedly fewer restrictions on distribution and use.
There are more than 200 pain killers marketed today that contain hydrocodone – Vicodin, Hycodan, Norco, Lorcet, Lortab, Hydroco, Vicoprofen and Xodol, among many others. They can vary from tablet, capsule to syrup in form. Common side effects of taking drugs with hydrocodone include light-headedness, nausea, drowsiness, vomiting, constipation and euphoria. Other less common side effects include mood changes, blood disorders, anxiety, lethargy, repressed or irregular respiration, rashes and difficulty urinating. Taking alcohol with hydrocodone can intensify drowsiness to a greater extent, and may even lead to toxic overdose.
Depending on the individual, many experts believe that addiction can occur from two to four weeks upon taking the drug at higher doses. It is habit-forming, and can consequently lead to physiological addiction with continued use.