Hydrocodone

Pronounced

"hye-droe-KOE-done"

Common brand names:

Hycodan

Uses

Hydrocodone is used to treat a dry, persistent cough. Hydrocodone is an opioid cough suppressant (antitussive) that affects a certain part of the brain, reducing the urge to cough. This medication is not usually used for coughs with a lot of mucus. Coughing is a natural response to help clear the lungs of mucus.

Opioid cough suppressants should not be used in children younger than 18 years. Children are at higher risk for serious (even fatal) side effects, especially breathing problems. Talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of this medication.

Cough-and-cold products do not cure colds. Cough due to a common cold often does not need to be treated with medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to relieve cough and cold symptoms, such as drinking enough fluids, using a humidifier, or saline nose drops/spray.

How to Use This Medication

Take this medication by mouth after meals, and at bedtime with food or milk, as directed by your doctor. Wait at least 4 hours between doses. Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.

If you have nausea, ask your doctor or pharmacist about ways to reduce it (such as lying down for 1 to 2 hours with as little head movement as possible).

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.

If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as restlessness, watering eyes, runny nose, nausea, sweating, muscle aches). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used hydrocodone for a long time (more than a few weeks) or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.

When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Though it helps many people, this medication has a risk for abuse and may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Tell your doctor if your cough does not get better in 5 days or if your condition gets worse.

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Information expires December 2020.