Hydrocodone Side Effects, Upsides, Downsides & How it Works

Hydrocodone is an externally administered medication. It is sold under a number brands with Norco and Vicodin being the most common ones. This chemical substance is a derivative of codeine and belongs to the group of semisynthetic opioid. It is also known as a narcotic analgesic.


Hydrocodone is mainly used to treat moderate to severe pain and induce analgesia. It is also prescribed as a cough suppressant in the liquid form as it has antitussive properties. It is widely used today and is available in many forms.

The medication may also be used for certain conditions not mentioned in this guide.


Side effects of Hydrocodone

Just like other medications, Hydrocodone too has some side effects. These range from mild to severe.

Some of the side effects that are considered to be mild in nature are as follows:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Constipation
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Dry throat
  • Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction like skin rashes, itching, etc.
  • Difficulty in urination; less or no urine production
  • Narrowing of the pupils



Most of the side effects tend to occur at the start of the treatment and perish within a day or two as it does not take long for the body to adjust and get accustomed to the presence of the medicine. However, they may persist and start to worsen triggering serious medical conditions. Therefore, seek medical help promptly if any side effect is experienced.

Some of the serious side effects include:

  • Irregular breathing
  • Chest tightness

Note that other side effects that have not been listed in this guide may also be experienced. Usually, doctors and pharmacists inform the patients about the side effects they are likely to experience at the start of their treatment.


How to use?   

The medicine is administered orally. You are strongly advised to follow the doctor’s instructions regarding the quantity and time of each dose. Take timely and balanced doses; neither overdose nor skip your doses to gain the most of the medicine.

Make sure to read the directions on the prescription label carefully, and follow them before taking your medications.



  • Neither use nor recommend it to someone without the recommendation of a doctor.
  • It reacts negatively with a few medications including serotonergic medications, opioids, and anti-anxiety agents. Thus, do not use Hydrocodone while taking these already, and ensure your doctor know about the medicines, if any, that you use.
  • It is not suitable for some people under certain circumstances. Therefore, give yours and your family’s medical history to your doctor.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages while taking Hydrocodone
  • If you become pregnant while taking it, inform your doctor immediately and seek an alternative. Hydrocodone has been known for birth defects as it is an opioid.
  • If you are nursing a baby, inform your doctor immediately as it may harm your baby.
  • Keep it away from children’s reach, heat, sunlight, and moisture.