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Health Guide

Hydrocodone (By mouth)

Hydrocodone Bitartrate (hye-droe-KOE-done bye-TAR-trate)

Treats severe pain. This medicine is a narcotic pain reliever.

Brand Name(s):

Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to hydrocodone, or if you have severe breathing problems, or stomach or bowel blockage (including paralytic ileus).

How to Use This Medicine:

Long Acting Capsule, Long Acting Tablet

  • Take your medicine as directed. Your dose may need to be changed several times to find what works best for you. Take this medicine at the same time each day.
  • An overdose can be dangerous. Follow directions carefully so you do not get too much medicine at one time.
  • Swallow the capsule or tablet whole with water. Take one tablet at a time, with enough water so you can easily swallow it as soon as you place it in your mouth. Do not presoak, lick, or wet the tablet before you place it in your mouth. Do not crush, break, chew, or dissolve it.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as usual. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Store the medicine in a safe and secure place. Do not throw unused medicine in the trash. Ask your pharmacist about the best way to dispose of medicine you do not use.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days.
  • Some medicines can affect how hydrocodone works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Carbamazepine, erythromycin, ketoconazole, lactulose, mirtazapine, phenytoin, rifampin, ritonavir, tramadol, trazodone
    • Diuretic (water pill)
    • Medicine to treat depression
    • Phenothiazine medicine
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine. Do not take any medicine that contains alcohol.
  • Tell your doctor if you use anything else that makes you sleepy. Some examples are allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, and alcohol. Tell your doctor if you are also using buprenorphine, butorphanol, nalbuphine, pentazocine, or a muscle relaxer.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, breathing or lung problems (including apnea), heart failure, heart rhythm problems (such as congenital long QT syndrome, slow heartbeat), adrenal problems, digestion problems, pancreas problems, or a history of depression, head injury, seizures, or drug or alcohol abuse.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • High risk of overdose, which can lead to death
    • Respiratory depression (serious breathing problem that can be life-threatening)
    • Increased risk of heart rhythm problem (such as QT prolongation)
    • Serotonin syndrome (when used with certain medicines)
  • This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or lightheaded. Do not drive or do anything that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. Sit or lie down if you feel dizzy. Stand up carefully.
  • This medicine can be habit-forming. Do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor if you think your medicine is not working.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly. Your doctor will need to slowly decrease your dose before you stop it completely.
  • This medicine may cause constipation, especially with long-term use. Ask your doctor if you should use a laxative to prevent and treat constipation.
  • This medicine could cause infertility. Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you plan to have children.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Anxiety, restlessness, fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, twitching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Blue lips, fingernails, or skin
  • Extreme dizziness, drowsiness, or weakness, slow heartbeat, seizures, and cold, clammy skin
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Severe confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Severe constipation, stomach pain, or vomiting
  • Trouble breathing or slow breathing

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild constipation, nausea
  • Mild drowsiness or sleepiness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 10/4/2017
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