Hydrocodone is a common prescription painkiller that’s used in various combination medications, including Hycodan. Painkillers (also referred to as narcotics) are among the most commonly prescribed and, unfortunately, also the most commonly abused substances on the market. Due to the ongoing opioid epidemic that started over a decade ago, it’s important to be aware of the side effects of painkiller medications as well as their risks. For this reason, our Massachusetts inpatient drug rehab is sharing more on Hycodan side effects and potential for abuse.
What Is Hycodan & How Does It Work?
Hycodan is the brand name of a combination medication containing the opioid hydrocodone and an anticholinergic drug called homatropine. The generic name for Hycodan is hydrocodone bitartrate and homatropine methylbromide. This medication is prescribed to treat ailments such as coughing and moderate pain.
Hydrocodone is a form of codeine, which is a drug that’s part of the opioid class. Although it’s known as a pain reliever, hydrocodone is also an opioid cough suppressant (antitussive) that works directly on the cough center in the brain to alleviate the individual’s symptoms. This allows a person who may be suffering from a severe cold or upper respiratory infection to get better sleep.
The homatropine in Hycodan syrup is included primarily to prevent overdose. It’s also meant to block the action of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (ACh) at synapses (space between nerve cells) in the central and peripheral nervous system. Homatropine, therefore, inhibits the parasympathetic nervous system by selectively blocking the binding of ACh to its receptors in nerve cells.
Together, hydrocodone bitartrate and homatropine methylbromide effectively alleviate cough as well as moderate pain. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the use of any medication containing an opioid like hydrocodone comes with certain risks.
Hycodan Side Effects
Hycodan cough syrup, as well as tablets, are meant to treat symptoms like runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, and sinus congestion caused by allergies or the common cold. As with any medication, certain side effects might be inevitable, at least early on, until the body becomes accustomed to taking the drug.
The most common side effects of Hycodan include:
- Coordination problems
- Dry mouth
- Fast or irregular heart rate
- Lack of energy
- Nausea and/or vomiting
In certain cases, more serious side effects can occur when taking Hycodan, such as:
- Blue-colored lips
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty waking up
- Extreme drowsiness
- Fast heartbeat
- Limp feeling
- Little or no urination
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle stiffness
- Noisy breathing
- Severe constipation
- Shallow breathing
- Slow breathing with long pauses
- Stomach pain
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Worsening tiredness or fatigue
Because Hycodan contains the opioid hydrocodone, the risk for central nervous system depression is higher. This particular drug acts as a depressant on the body to reduce nerve activity, alleviating nerve cell communication that contributes to symptoms like severe cough as well as pain when used in other medications.
Is Hycodan Addictive?
Hydrocodone is the opioid ingredient in Hycodan. As we previously mentioned, opioids are among the most commonly prescribed and abused drugs in the medical field. This is because of their impact on the reward center of the brain. Not only do opioids like hydrocodone block pain signaling by attaching to mu-Opioid receptors throughout the body, but they also activate the reward center, stimulating the response of dopamine.
Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that the brain naturally balances and releases when we’re exposed to or experience pleasurable stimuli, such as eating or having sex. Opioids, particularly when misused, can artificially stimulate or force the release of dopamine in the brain, producing a euphoric and pleasurable high. This feeling is what encourages users to continue their drug-taking behavior.
Over time, the brain becomes reliant on opioids like hydrocodone to release dopamine, inhibiting its natural ability to stabilize the chemical on its own. This effect is what contributes to physical dependence and addiction. Addiction is considered a progressive and chronic disease that is treatable with professional care.
Therefore, Hycodan is addictive and should only be taken as prescribed. You should also avoid drinking alcohol while taking Hycodan or any other opioid medication, as combining depressants with alcohol or combining multiple depressants can increase the risk of overdose as well as the possibility of developing a substance use disorder.
Help for Hycodan Abuse
Those addicted to Hycodan may misuse it by taking it with alcohol or taking higher doses than prescribed. Ingesting a high Hycodan dosage increases your risk of overdose, which produces life-threatening symptoms, the most severe being respiratory depression. Some individuals may also crush and snort Hycodan tablets, which can also raise the user’s chances of overdosing or experiencing other medical complications.
The good news is that no matter how severe your addiction is, our rehab in Massachusetts is here to help. We offer medically monitored detox and opioid addiction treatment, among other services that can help you or a loved one safely recover from withdrawals and learn how to live a sober life.
Call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today at 570-536-9621 for more information about our Massachusetts substance abuse treatment. You can also send us your contact information, and one of our team members will reach out to you.