Vicodin Side Effects & Warnings

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on January 3, 2023

Vicodin is a prescription opioid that can lead to various side effects ranging from sedation and loss of appetite to more serious effects such as liver failure. There are also numerous warnings for those taking Vicodin, including drug interactions and allergic reactions.

Hydrocodone/acetaminophen (brand name Vicodin) is an opioid pain reliever. This prescription drug is used to help treat those suffering from severe pain but may create a number of side effects. Additionally, there are warnings to know when taking this strong pain medication.

Vicodin provides pain relief by acting as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Hydrocodone binds to opioid receptors in the brain which create sedation and relief from pain.

Side Effects Of Vicodin

Before taking Vicodin, seek the medical advice of your healthcare provider. Vicodin is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has high abuse potential and can lead to physical dependence.

Vicodin may produce a number of common and serious side effects.

Common Side Effects

Some of the common side effects of Vicodin, as stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), include:

  • drowsiness
  • sedation
  • constipation
  • lightheadedness
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • mood changes
  • tiredness

More serious side effects of Vicodin may take place, including liver damage. Those with liver disease should avoid Vicodin, as liver failure can occur.

Withdrawal Symptoms

A person may experience withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop the medication after developing physical dependence. This can result in withdrawal symptoms like:

  • severe cravings for the drug
  • difficulty sleeping
  • vomiting
  • increased yawning
  • tremors
  • severe stomach pain
  • fast heart rate
  • muscle pain
  • weakness

Vicodin Warnings

There are a number of warnings to know before taking Vicodin. Be sure to read the drug information that comes with the medication.

Drug Interactions

Before combining other medications or substances with Vicodin, speak with your healthcare provider. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the following substances may interfere with Vicodin:

  • supplements or vitamins
  • alcohol
  • over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen
  • muscle relaxants
  • similar medications including Norco, Lortab, and Lorcet
  • benzodiazepines
  • carbamazepine, rifampin, or phenytoin
  • other prescription medications that contain oxycodone

In addition to this, those struggling with mental illness should avoid antidepressants such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). 

If you have a mental health condition, speak with your doctor before taking any medications for depression or anxiety.


Other problems may take place including allergic reactions that may result in hives, a rash, and itching. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid this opioid medication, as the drug may potentially pass from mother to child through breast milk.

Those suffering from conditions which cause breathing problems such as sleep apnea or chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) should avoid Vicodin. Those who take Vicodin may experience trouble breathing if any underlying condition exists or if the drug is abused.

Vicodin Overdose

Those who abuse Vicodin by taking high doses, snorting, plugging, smoking, or injecting Vicodin may have an increased risk of developing a life-threatening overdose. Symptoms of a Vicodin overdose may include:

  • shallow breathing or respiratory depression
  • excessive sleepiness
  • low blood pressure
  • cardiac arrest
  • coma

If you suspect that yourself or a loved one are suffering from an overdose, seek medical help immediately and contact 9-1-1 as soon as possible. At the hospital, doctors may administer Narcan (naloxone) to help reverse the effects of opioid overdose.

Vicodin Addiction Treatment

For those of you struggling with substance abuse, consider finding a treatment center in Ohio to begin your road to recovery. At Ohio Recovery Center, we offer a number of inpatient treatment programs that include:

To learn more about our treatment options, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. Food and Drug Administration — Vicodin
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone Combination Projects
  4. National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen

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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