In order to help manage pain effectively, yet not harm the body with toxic side effects in the process, Abbott Laboratories has made a drug that combines two potent analgesics, in low concentrations, which together will have effective analgesic properties, yet reduced toxic effects. The two main ingredients in Vicodin are hydrocodone (an opium derivative) and acetaminophen (paracetamol).

Hydrocodone relives pain by binding to the opium receptors on the brain and spinal cord. This way it alters the way the brain perceives pain, providing relief from both chronic and acute cases of pain. This opium derivative also has antitussive (cough suppressant) properties, which means that it suppresses the urge to cough when suffering from throat infections. Recent research shows that acetaminophen, the other analgesic in Vicodin, also acts on receptors on the spinal cord to help relieve pain. In addition to its pain reliving properties, acetaminophen also acts as an antipyretic (it lowers fever levels).

The other inactive ingredients present in vicodin are croscarmellose sodium povidone, colloidal silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, pregelatinized starch and stearic acid.

While vicodin is a very effective painkiller, it is important to remember that it is a substance that can be abused. Detailed in this article is information on the drug dosage, side effects, interactions, addiction and overdose, including how to get Vicodin and make use of this drug safely.

Buying Vicodin tablets and their dosage
Vicodin comes with 3 different strengths in order to relive different levels of pain. It therefore needs to be taken only on the prescription of a doctor who will prescribe the right strength based on individual needs.

• Vicodin drug includes 5 mg of hydrocodone narcotic plus 500 mg of acetaminophen component.
• Vicodin HP includes 10 mg of hydrocodone narcotic plus 660 mg of acetaminophen component.
• Vicodin ES drug includes 7.5 mg of hydrocodone narcotic plus 750 mg of acetaminophen component.

One dose(1 tablet) of vicodin is to be taken every 4 to 6 hours. And the daily dose should not exceed 5 tablets.

Generally Vicodin prescription medication is extremely safe to use. However, it is not recommended for children and the elderly who suffer from kidney and liver problems. This is because of the toxic effect of acetaminophen on these organs. Even normal adults should not exceed acetaminophen levels of over 4000 mg for the same reason. Also, Hydrocodone levels should be under 15mg per dosage, to avoid becoming addicted to the drug.

Vicodin Medication Interactions with other Drugs
Vicodin relieves pain by acting on receptors found in the brain and spinal cord, which is not something to be taken lightly. And that is the reason why, consuming this drug with other drugs is not very safe. Due to high acetaminophen levels in the medication, it is also better to stay clear from alcohol when taking this drug since alcohol only aggravates any liver damage caused by acetaminophen.

Taking Vicodin Pills Side effects
Since the analgesic effect of Vicodin is through the drug’s action on the brain and spinal chord, users experience mild psychological side effects such as being mentally tired, confused, anxious, lightheaded or even drowsy. Other side effects of this drug are constipation, urinary retention, respiratory depression and skin rashes. Chronic use of this drug may result in hearing loss as with many other opium derivatives.

Hypersensitivity to acetaminophen is another problem associated with this medication. If you are allergic to acetaminophen, then you should avoid the drug for pain relief.

Symptoms of hypersensitivity to acetaminophen include swelling of the face, throat and mouth, rashes, respiratory distress, vomiting and in rare cases anaphylactic shock.

This drug should not be taken during pregnancy, unless absolutely necessary. And taking this drug right before delivery is known to cause respiratory distress in the newborn. If taken during pregnancy, this drug could cause withdrawal symptoms in the unborn child.

Getting Addiction to Vicodin
One of the biggest problems associated with most opium derived drugs is addiction. Addition to vicodin is characterized by craving and seeking multiple doctors to get prescriptions (doctor shopping). Determining if a person is addicted to the drug is one of the biggest factors that a doctor must take into consideration before prescribing any opium derived painkiller.

Vicodin Pills Overdose
Overdose of Vicodin is a very serious condition, characterized by either hydrocodone or acetaminophen overdose. Overdose of acetaminophen, of over 4000mg per day could be fatal or cause severe liver failure. Hydrocodone overdose results in extreme sleepiness, lowered blood pressure, lowered heart rate, flaccidity of muscles, coma, circulatory collapse, cardiac arrest and death.

While the medication does have problems if misused, it is still a very effective painkiller. If proper dosage is taken, 85 percent of the acetaminophen is usually released in the urine within 24 hours, reducing any chance of liver damage and there is very little risk of addiction to hydrocodone. If used correctly, Vicodin can help manage pain, with very little toxic side effects.