What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a narcotic drug found in many different prescription medications. Many people may wonder, "What is hydrocodone used for?" The medication is primarily used for relieving pain but is also occasionally used as a cough suppressant. It is important to know that as a controlled substance, hydrocodone has a significant potential for both psychological and physical dependence and abuse.

An Overview of Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is a narcotic, opioid (morphine-like) active ingredient used in many different prescription pain and cough medications. It always comes in combination with one or more other active ingredients such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®); hydrocodone is not available by itself.
(Click What Is Hydrocodone Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

How Does It Work?

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic, opioid pain reliever. It acts similarly to codeine. Hydrocodone 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).
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