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Hydrocodone is a narcotic that is most widely known as Lortab, Vicodin or one of the many other brand names that the drug is commonly sold under.  The semi-synthetic opiate is prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain.  Hydrocodone is also sometime prescribed for persistent cough such as the cough that is associated with medical conditions including bronchitis or a chronic case of the common cold.

Side Effects of Hydrocodone

Various side effects may occur with the use of hydrocodone. Besides the dangers associated with the extended use of this drug, the following serious side effects should be addressed with your doctor immediately:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing

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The following side effects of taking hydrocodone are less severe but if they do persist or make taking the medication uncomfortable, you should talk to your doctor about a possible change in the medication you are taking:


Misusing hydrocodone is dangerous and can lead to addiction.

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness or inability to stay awake
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Rash, itching or hives
  • Mood swings or bi-polar like behaviors such as being abnormally happy or abnormally sad

Brand Names

Many different brand names exist for hydrocodone. According to the US National Library of Medicine, the drug is sold under a vast number of different generic and non-generic forms which include acetaminophen or ibuprofen in addition to the hydrocodone itself.  Some of the most common brand names include:

  • Tussionex
  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Entuss
  • Lorcet
  • Procet
  • Vicoprofen

Street Names

On the streets, hydrocodone may be described by recreational users as:

  • Hydro
  • Hydros
  • Vikes
  • Tabs
  • Loris
  • 357s
  • Watsons

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

The names mostly refer to the various brands of the drug with Watsons referring to Lortab and Vikes referring to Vicodin.  Watson corporation is the maker of Lortab which is why this name is often used and 357s refers to the small numbers found on the back of some hydrocodone medications.


Continued use of hydrocodone, especially taking the drug for recreational purposes, can lead to hydrocodone addiction.  Hydrocodone is a schedule III narcotic which means that it does have a smaller risk of causing addiction than many narcotics but that there are still inherent dangers associated with the drug being taken for recreational purposes.

Hydrocodone addiction can lead to physical dependence that is difficult to overcome. When the user stops taking hydrocodone, he or she will likely feel a number of withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating, diarrhea or discomfort.  Fortunately, for those who do become addicted to hydrocodone, treatment is widely available in both residential and outpatient settings.

10 Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction


Most of the time, hydrocodone addiction treatment can take place in an outpatient setting in which the user will attend regularly scheduled counseling and therapy sessions.  In more severe cases, there may be a need for inpatient treatment which consists of a hospital like, residential environment that provides around-the-clock monitoring and patient support.  If you suspect that hydrocodone addiction is a problem in your life or in the life of a loved one, contact a treatment professional immediately for help.

To learn more about hydrocodone abuse, addiction, and treatment options, call our toll-free helpline at (800) 407-7195(Who Answers?)

the Take-Away

Hydrocodone is a type of pain reliever that treats moderate to severe pain. When the drug is abused, severe side effects can occur.