Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid developed from either of two naturally occurring opiates: codeine or thebaine, and it relieves pain by binding to opioid receptors in both the brain and spinal cord. When taken with alcohol, it can intensify drowsiness. It may interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAIOs), as well as other drugs that cause drowsiness.

Hydrocodone and formulas containing it are marketed, in varying forms, under a number of trademarks, including Anexsia, Biocodone, Damason-P, Dicodid, Duodin, Hycet, Hycodan (or, generically, Hydromet), Hycomine, Hydrococet, Hydrokon, Hydrovo, Kolikodol, Lorcet, Lortab, Mercodinone, Norco, Norgan, Novahistex, Orthoxycol, Panacet, Symtan, Synkonin, Vicodin, Xodol and Zydone. Hycodan was the original trade name.

Hydrocodone is often used to treat moderate to severe pain, and is also used as an antitussive to treat cough.

Some common side effects include dizziness, itching, lightheadedness, nausea, sweating, drowsiness, constipation, vomiting, and euphoria. Some less common side effects are allergic reaction, blood disorders, changes in mood, racing heartbeat, mental fogginess, anxiety, lethargy, difficulty urinating, spasm of the ureter, irregular or depressed respiration, and rash.

Hydrocodone causes many of the same side-effects as other opioids including euphoria, sedation and somnolence. Hydrocodone is one of the most common recreational prescription drugs in America. Common street names for Hydrocodone include: “hydros”, “dones”, “vics”, and “itchies”. Recreational hydrocodone use is particularly prevalent among teenagers and young adults because of the drug’s widespread availability.

Withdrawal symptoms may include, but are not limited to; severe pain, pins and needles sensation throughout body, sweating, extreme anxiety and restlessness, sneezing, watery eyes, fever, depression, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and extreme drug cravings, among others.

Hydrocodone abuse has been increasing over the last decade. From 1990 the average consumption nationwide has increased by 300%. In the same period there has been a 500% increase in the number of Emergency Department visits attributed to Hydrocodone abuse with 19,221 visits estimated in 2000. In 1997, there were over 1.3 million Hydrocodone tablets seized and analyzed by the DEA laboratory system.