Liquid hydrocodone is a member of two categories of medications: opiate analgesics and antitussives. Opiate analgesics, otherwise known as narcotics, are used to relieve moderate to severe pain, while antitussives are used as cough suppressants. Studies show that the drug is almost as effective as morphine for relieving pain, and that it is equally effective, if not more so, than codeine for suppressing coughs.
In addition to being available in a liquid, it also comes in tablet, capsule, and syrup form. The recommended dosage frequency of the tablets, capsules, and liquid is every four to six hours, as needed, while the prescribed dosage frequency of the extended-release capsules and extended-release liquid hydrocodone is every 12 hours, as needed. The extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole, rather than chewed or divided. Before taking the extended-release liquid, it should be shaken thoroughly to evenly disperse the medication.
Before taking hydrocodone, patients should apprise their doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medication, as well as nutritional supplements they are taking. Physicians should also be made aware of all known drug allergies. Patients should reveal all of their medical conditions to the prescribing physician, as the drug may not be safe for certain disorders. Finally, the safe use of alcoholic beverages should be discussed, as this substance can intensify hydrocodone's adverse effects.
This medication can cause side effects, some of which can be very serious. Gastrointestinal problems include nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Drowsiness, dizziness, or anxiety may also occur. Other adverse effects of liquid hydrocodone include difficulty urinating, rash, and narrowing of the pupils. Notify your physician immediately if you experience chest pain, or slow or irregular breathing.
Overdosing can be fatal, so it is imperative to get emergency medical help if any signs of this are manifested. Symptoms include slow, shallow, or cessation of breathing; slow or stopped heartbeat; or cold, clammy, or blue skin. Other signs include narrowed or widened pupils, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
The use of liquid hydrocodone may cause tolerance, dependence, and addiction. To avoid this, patients should take the drug according to the directions, being careful not to increase the amount or frequency of the dose. It also shouldn't be taken for a longer duration than prescribed. Patients who have been on the medication for at least several weeks should not stop taking it abruptly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. The patient's physician will likely reduce the dose gradually.