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With hydrocodone, severe pain is a thing of the past. Hydrocodone has proven to be effective in treating people with severe pains. However, it is only used to treat people who are expected to need medication to relieve severe pain around-the-clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications. Hydrocodone extended-release tablets or extended-release (long acting) capsules should not be used to treat pain that can be controlled by medication that is taken as needed. Hydrocodone is in a class of medication referred to as opiate (narcotic) analgesics. This drug operates by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.

How to use hydrocodone

Hydrocodone comes as an extended-release (long acting) tablet and extended-release (long acting) capsule to take by mouth. The extended-release capsule is normally taken once every 12 hours. The extended-release tablet is normally taken once daily. It is very important to take hydrocodone around the same time(s) every day. Always make sure that you follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and feel at ease to ask your medical health care provider to explain any part that you do not understand.

Swallow the extended-release tablets or extended-release capsules one at a time with plenty of water. Always make sure to swallow each tablet or capsule immediately you put it in your mouth. Avoid presoaking, licking, or wetting the extended-release tablets before putting them into your mouth.


It is very important to stick to what your doctor recommends in terms of dosage. Your doctor will likely start you on a low dose of hydrocodone and may gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 3 to 7 days if needed to control your pain. Prolonged intake of hydrocodone makes your body to become use to the drug. In such cases, your doctor may increase your dosage or recommend another medication to control your pain. Whatever the case, always avoid taking self-decisions when dealing with this medication. Always talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment with hydrocodone.

Never stop taking hydrocodone without talking to your doctor else you might experience sudden withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Teary eyes,
  • Restlessness,
  • Runny nose,
  • Yawning,
  • Chills,
  • Hair standing on end,
  • Muscle pain,
  • Sweating,
  • Widened pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes),
  • Irritability,
  • Anxiety,
  • Back or joint pain,
  • Weakness,
  • Stomach cramps,
  • Nausea,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Vomiting,
  • Fast heartbeat,
  • Fast breathing,
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or
  • Diarrhea.

Your doctor will likely decrease your dose gradually so as to prevent such symptoms.

What to do if you forget a dose

If you forget a dose, do not try to catchup but simply skip the missed dosed and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Never take more than one dose of hydrocodone extended-release tablets in 24 hours or hydrocodone extended-release capsules in 12 hours.

Side effects of hydrocodone

Just like any other medication, hydrocodone may cause side effects. Quickly contact your doctor if any of the following symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • Dry mouth,
  • Stomach pain,
  • Tiredness,
  • Headache,
  • Muscle tightening,
  • Difficult, frequent, or painful urination,
  • Back pain,
  • Ringing in the ears,
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep,
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, or
  • Foot, leg, or ankle swelling.

It is important to note that some side effects can turn to be more serious. If you happen to experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, instantly call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment:

  • Chest pain
  • Agitation, hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist), fever, sweating, confusion, fast heartbeat, shivering, severe muscle stiffness or twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Inability to get or keep an erection
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Swelling of your eyes, face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Changes in heartbeat
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing


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