Hydrocodone is a short-acting semisynthetic opioid that is used as a pain reliever and an antitussive drug. The opioid analgesic Hydrocodone may be prescribed to adults and adolescents aged 18 or older for: 1. relief of moderate to medium pain; 2. alleviation of coughing attacks and sputum coughing up in ARD.
A large number of brand and generic Hydrocodone products are presented at the international pharmaceutical market. Patients can be prescribed one of several Hydrocodone dosage forms, including:
- Oral suspension
- Immediate-release capsules
- Extended-release tablets
Expressed analgesic effect of Hydrocodone is based on the opioid receptor agonism, which is involved in the transmission and perception of pain signals. Hydrocodone action activates opioid receptors in the CNS, thus:
- Suppressing the transmission of pain signals.
- Slowing the flow of nerve impulses to the CNS.
In addition, Hydrocodone is capable of reducing psycho-emotional stress, caused by pain, thereby improving patientís mood.
Hydrocodone dose for monotherapy of acute and chronic pain is selected individually, depending on pain intensity:
- The analgesic effect of Hydrocodone develops over about 15-20 min after the administration and lasts about 4 hours.
- Prolonged-action forms of Hydrocodone work within 12 hours (or more), thereby reducing the number of analgesic doses.
The initial dose of Hydrocodone is 20 mg per day. Subsequently, the daily dose of this analgesic is gradually increasedby 10-20mg every three to five days. Hydrocodone dose should be increased until the patient gets an adequate analgesic effect, taking tolerance in consideration.
The maximum daily dose of Hydrocodone should not exceed 120mg. Hydrocodone is used as a powerful analgesic only when non-narcotic pain killers fail to stop pain.
It should be noted that Hydrocodone is mostly used in combined medications. Today, Hydrocodone can be found as part of dozens of prescription and non-prescription combined drugs, including:
- Zyfrel, Norco, Vicodin (Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen)
- Vituz, Tussicaps (Hydrocodone and Chlorpheniramine)
- Vicoprofen, Reprexain (Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen)
- Flowtuss, Obredon (Hydrocodone and Guaifenesin)
- Rezira (Hydrocodone and Pseudoephedrine)
The advantages of Hydrocodone-based combined drugs include low risk of physical dependence. Furthermore, combined drugs with Hydrocodone depresses the respiratory center to a smaller degree.
Combined analgesics, based on Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen, or Hydrocodone/Ibuprofen may be used for the treatment of chronic pain, associated with inflammatory rheumatic diseases in adults and elderly.
Medications, based on Hydrocodone with Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine or Guaifenesin are very effective as antitussives and nasal decongestants. Some of them (including Tussicaps), can be used in the treatment of acute cough attacks in pediatric patients (children aged 6 years and older).
Note, however, that children should use Hydrocodone only under the supervision of a health care provider and in compliance with the recommended dosing regimen.
Like other oral opioids, Hydrocodone can cause undesirable side effects. By influencing the opiate receptor activity, Hydrocodone can cause constipation and disrupt the flow of bile and pancreatic juice into the intestine. Other adverse reactions of Hydrocodone are drowsiness, anxiety, sleeplessness, mental clouding, and arrhythmia.