Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opiate which means that the drug is synthesized from the opium poppy but does not occur naturally within the plant. This drug is used in the treatment of mild to moderate pain and has a medium analgesic quality that, when combined with ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can ease pain associated with mild injury or following certain medical procedures.
Hydrocodone is one of many widely prescribed opiates that carries a vast potential for abuse due to the euphoric effects that the user feels when under the influence of the drug. Hydrocodone, though not as widely prescribed as codeine, is considered much stronger than codeine and is widely abused throughout the United States.
The brand names that hydrocodone is marketed under vary quite widely. Most of the formulations are mixed with acetaminophen though the drug is sometimes paired with ibuprofen.
Some of the most common hydrocodone brand names include:
On the streets, most recreational hydrocodone users will refer to the drug based on either an abbreviated name such as Hydro or Hydros or based on the brand name itself. Some of the most common street names are those which relate directly to the brand or preparation of hydrocodone that is being sought such as:
- Vikes (a hydrocodone street name commonly used to describe Vicodin)
- Norco (the street name used to describe various formulations of Nocro 7.5 or 10mg tablets)
- Tabs (a term used to describe Lortab)
- Lori (also used to describe Lortab)
Hydrocodone is prescribed in the medical field for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. The strong analgesic qualities of hydrocodone are found to be very helpful when treating pain associated with fractured bones, surgical procedures and other moderately to severe cases of pain.
In rare cases, hydrocodone may be prescribed for the treatment of severe, chronic cough. The drug is often prescribed for patients who are suffering from chronic cough associated with bronchitis, however it should only be taken by adults as there are risks associated with providing hydrocodone to children under 12 years old.
The DEA labels hydrocodone as a Schedule III drug as long as the formulation of the drug contains no more than 15 mg of hydrocodone. In almost all cases, medications which are prescribed containing hydrocodone contain no more than 15mg so the drug is almost always considered a Schedule III narcotic. This means that the DEA believes that hydrocodone has a potential for abuse but the potential is not as severe as certain other opiates such as heroin.
When hydrocodone is used for an extended period of time there is a potential for addiction to occur. Hydrocodone addiction often leads to physical withdrawal symptoms when the user stops taking the drug and these symptoms can make discontinuing use of the drug a difficult and trying process. It’s important to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects associated with discontinued use of hydrocodone such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, anxiety or depression.