Hydrocodone Warnings and Precautions
There is a lot of information that you should be aware of before taking hydrocodone. Precautions and warnings include watching out for potential drug interactions, avoiding this medication during pregnancy, and being aware of the drug's abuse potential. You should talk to your healthcare provider before taking hydrocodone if you have liver or kidney disease, hypothyroidism, or an enlarged prostate.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Hydrocodone?
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking hydrocodone if you have:
- Lung disease of any sort
- A history of drug or alcohol dependence
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
- Liver disease, such as cirrhosis, liver failure, or hepatitis
- A head injury or high intracranial pressure
- Severe abdominal (stomach) pain
- Addison's disease
- An enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH)
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Warnings and Precautions for Hydrocodone
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking hydrocodone include the following:
- Hydrocodone is a narcotic medication with significant potential for abuse. It is not a good choice for people who have a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see Hydrocodone Addiction). Do not take the drug more frequently, longer, or at a higher dose than prescribed. If you feel you may be developing a problem with hydrocodone, please seek help from your healthcare provider.
- Hydrocodone can cause slow and irregular breathing, especially at high doses. In severe situations, this may be life-threatening. This may be especially dangerous in people with lung problems.
- This medication can cause problems in people with head injuries or high intracranial pressure. Hydrocodone should only be used with extreme caution in such circumstances.
- Hydrocodone can interfere with the diagnosis of many conditions that cause severe abdominal (stomach) pain.
- Like any other narcotic, hydrocodone can cause dizziness and drowsiness, and may increase the risk of falls in elderly people.
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how hydrocodone affects you. Your reflexes and reaction times may be significantly affected, even if you feel fine.
- Check with your healthcare provider before taking the drug if you have hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, an enlarged prostate, or kidney disease, as hydrocodone may not be the best choice for you.
- Narcotics such as hydrocodone are likely to cause constipation. This side effect does not go away as you continue to take the drug. Usually, laxatives are necessary to treat and prevent constipation due to hydrocodone (see Hydrocodone and Constipation).
- Hydrocodone can potentially interact with several other medications (see Hydrocodone Drug Interactions).
- Hydrocodone is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Hydrocodone and Pregnancy).
- Hydrocodone passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Hydrocodone and Breastfeeding).