Norco Side Effects & Warnings

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on December 21, 2022

Norco, the discontinued brand name for the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, may cause a number of common side effects, such as constipation, as well as more serious side effects like respiratory depression.

The combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen (brand name Norco) is a prescription opioid medication used to help treat those suffering from mild to severe pain. 

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Norco is a Schedule II controlled substance. Because of this, Norco has a high potential for abuse, and abusing the drug can lead to severe side effects. 

In addition, there are a number of warnings to be aware of before taking Norco.

Side Effects Of Norco

Prescribed for pain relief, Norco binds to opioid receptors in the brain, affecting the central nervous system (CNS) and creating sedation. However, other side effects may occur as well.

Common Side Effects

Some of the common side effects of this prescription medication may include:

  • constipation
  • drowsiness
  • anxiety
  • lightheadedness
  • sedation
  • euphoria
  • dry mouth
  • loss of appetite

Withdrawal Symptoms

If a person abruptly stops taking Norco, they may experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some of the withdrawal symptoms a person may experience include:

  • cravings for the drug
  • mood changes
  • increased blood pressure
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • chills
  • sleeping problems
  • irritability

Norco Warnings

Those who take Norco may experience a number of side effects. However, there are also warnings to know before taking this pain medication, so be sure to review the drug information that comes with the medication before taking Norco.

Drug Interactions

Other prescription drugs containing hydrocodone and acetaminophen such as Lortab, Vicodin, and Lorcet should be avoided while taking Norco. Serious drug interactions can occur when certain substances are combined with this strong opioid drug.

To avoid allergic reactions such as hives and to avoid breathing problems due to taking multiple CNS depressants at the same time, be sure to avoid:

  • vitamins or herbal supplements
  • antihistamines
  • benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, or Ativan
  • muscle relaxants
  • alcohol when taking Norco
  • other opioids such as codeine or oxycodone
  • certain over-the-counter medications which contain pain relievers such as ibuprofen

In addition to these substances, it’s important to avoid certain antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Consult the medical advice of your healthcare provider before taking Norco. Serious adverse effects can occur in those with medical conditions or those struggling with drug abuse.


Those who have certain health conditions should speak with their primary healthcare physician before taking Norco. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid Norco, as the drug may pass from mother to child causing health problems for both.

Other important aspects of your medical history that could lead to adverse effects when using Norco include:

  • those with a history of kidney disease
  • those with liver disease who may experience complications such as liver damage or liver failure
  • those with a history of a head injury
  • those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or a condition which results in trouble breathing
  • those with certain mental health conditions who experience depression or anxiety

Norco Overdose

If a person takes high doses of Norco or abuses the drug in any way, it can result in a person suffering from a life-threatening overdose which may require urgent medical help. 

Serious side effects of a Norco overdose may include:

  • clammy or cold skin
  • seizures
  • mental confusion
  • tiredness or unusual sleepiness
  • tremors
  • shallow breathing or respiratory depression
  • coma

If an overdose is suspected, seek medical attention immediately. Naloxone, a potentially life-saving medication used to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, may be administered by loved ones, first responders, or at the hospital.

Norco Addiction

If abused over a long-period time, Norco use can lead to substance use disorder or addiction.

Norco addiction is defined by continuing to use the drug despite harmful consequences to a person’s health and social life. If left untreated, Norco addiction can lead to worsened side effects and an increased risk of overdose.

To learn how we treat prescription drug abuse and addiction on an inpatient basis, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration — Hydrocodone
  2. Food and Drug Administration — Norco
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse — What Are Prescription Opioids?
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen Overdose
  5. National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus — Hydrocodone Combination Product

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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