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What Factors Affect Hydrocodone Dosage?

By B. Chisholm
Updated May 17, 2024
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The main factors affecting hydrocodone dosage are what it is being used for, such as the clinical indication, the severity of the condition, response of the patient and tolerance of potential side effects. Hydrocodone is a potentially addictive drug and should be used only under the supervision of a health care professional for as short a period of time as possible. It may be used as a cough suppressant or to treat pain, often in combination with other analgesics, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol. The drug and combination preparations are available in most countries by prescription only and may be known by different trade names, according to manufacturer.

Hydrocodone is an opioid analgesic which is used to treat pain and as an antitussive, or cough suppressant. As a painkiller it is most often found in combination with other analgesics, in the form of oral tablets or capsules. When used as a cough suppressant it is most often found as a tablet or syrup, also in combination with other active ingredients.

When establishing the dose of hydrocodone, the treating doctor will assess the patient and take into consideration their clinical history and severity of the pain being treated. Tolerance may develop to hydrocodone if used over a long period of time necessitating an increase in the hydrocodone dosage. The doctor will also monitor response and increase or decrease the dose accordingly.

When taking a product containing hydrocodone, it is important to remember that first, different preparations contain different amounts of hydrocodone and second, that increasing the hydrocodone dosage means the other active ingredient’s dosage is also increased. This may cause toxicity, overdose or severe adverse effects, not only to the hydrocodone but to the combination ingredients too. The hydrocodone dosage in children is different to adults and, again, should not be used without the supervision of a health care professional.

Regardless of the hydrocodone dosage used, it may cause adverse effects. Some of the unwanted side effects that have been reported include sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and respiratory depression. Should these occur, medical help should be sought immediately. Driving and the operating of heavy machinery should be avoided if taking a preparation that contains hydrocodone.

The prescribed hydrocodone dosage should never be increased or the interval between doses shortened without involvement of the treating doctor. There is both a risk of dependence and overdose with hydrocodone. Medicines must be kept locked away out of reach of children to prevent accidental overdose, and should an overdose of any medication occur, urgent medical attention should be sought.

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