What Is Hydrocodone Used For?
Primarily, hydrocodone is used for relieving pain. It can be used for both short-term pain (such as pain following a surgery or dental procedure) and long-term pain control. Healthcare providers may also occasionally prescribe this medication as a cough suppressant. There are currently no uses approved for children, as the drug has not been adequately studied in this age group.
Hydrocodone is an active ingredient in many different prescription medications. It is most often used to treat pain, although it is sometimes also used as a cough suppressant.
For pain control, hydrocodone is used both for short-term pain (such as after a surgery or dental procedure) or for long-term pain control. Because it is a narcotic, many healthcare providers like to limit its use to the shortest period of time possible (see Hydrocodone Addiction for more information).
Hydrocodone medications are all combinations drugs; they contain hydrocodone plus one or more active ingredients. For pain medications, these other active ingredients include acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®). Cough suppressants may have a variety of different other active ingredients, such as antihistamines or even small amounts of medications designed to prevent people from taking more than prescribed.
Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic, opioid pain reliever. It acts similarly to codeine. It is effective at decreasing pain and relieving coughing, but also causes drowsiness, mood changes, and mental "clouding." It is thought that opioid pain relievers (such as hydrocodone) work by binding to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).