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What Are the Different Types of Hydrocodone Syrups?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Hydrocodone syrups combine the semi-synthetic opioid, hydrocodone, with other medications, such as chlorpheniramine or homatropine. This opioid acts as a cough suppressant, also called an antitussive, as well as a pain reliever. Patients who suffer from allergies and colds that cause congestion and coughing may use this drug for relief of those symptoms. Before using any hydrocodone syrups, patients should be aware that this narcotic drug can be addictive, and may also lead to serious, life-threatening complications.

Depending on the brand of the selected product, hydrocodone syrups may include homatropine, which is an anticholinergic drug. It works by drying up excess nasal secretions to reduce congestion. Other hydrocodone syrups may use chlorpheniramine, which is an antihistamine. This drug works by correcting allergic reactions and reducing the amount of mucus that the body produces to alleviate congestion.

Patients should follow all dosage instructions carefully. Taking too much of this medicine at once may lead to serious side effects. The specific amount of each dose will vary, depending on the brand, but patients will typically be instructed to take the syrup twice daily. They should use a medicine cup or spoon to measure each dose precisely, rather than using a household spoon. Those who experience an upset stomach following a dose should take subsequent doses with food.

Some side effects may occur with the use of hydrocodone syrups, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. Patients may experience a dry mouth, throat, and nose, or a thickening of the mucus in the throat or nose. They may also experience blurred vision, dizziness, and drowsiness, along with constipation, stomach upset, and nausea. Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability may also occur.

More serious side effects require a doctor's urgent care. Hydrocodone syrups may cause problems urinating, a rapid or pounding heartbeat, and severe dizziness or drowsiness. Redness of the face, problems breathing, and hives may also occur. Elderly patients in particular, as well as those with lung disease, may be more susceptible to dangerously slowed breathing. Heart palpitations, double vision, and problems with muscle coordination have also been reported.

Special precautions should be followed while using hydrocodone syrups. They should not be used on a long-term basis, because this can cause physical and mental dependence. These drugs may also interfere with the results of laboratory tests. Alcohol should be avoided while undergoing treatment. A pediatrician should be consulted before giving these drugs to a child, and extreme caution should be used for children younger than six years old.

Before using any hydrocodone syrups, patients should disclose their medical conditions, medications, and supplements. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should never use this drug without a doctor's approval. Hydrocodone may be contraindicated for use by those with seizure disorders, psychiatric problems, or heart problems, as well as any drug dependencies. Other medicines may interact with it, including narcotics, sodium oxybate, and barbiturates.

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