Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Hydrocodone 10/325 (M367)



What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid drug, derived from the opiate codeine. The term “semi-synthetic” means that it is made by chemically altering a naturally occurring substance that comes from the opium poppy; in this case: codeine.

The reason that naturally occurring codeine is changed chemically to make hydrocodone is because hydrocodone is about six times more potent than codeine.

Is hydrocodone an opiate? No, it’s not because it is not a naturally occurring substance. However, regardless of the terminology, the hydrocodone drug class and addictive properties are the same as all the other opium-derived drugs, such as oxycodone, fentanyl> and heroin.

What Is Hydrocodone Used For?

What does hydrocodone do? Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid drug with two FDA-approved clinical uses:

  • Pain management
  • Antitussive (cough suppressant)

When used for pain management, hydrocodone is meant to manage moderate to severe chronic pain after other treatment options are found either inadequate or intolerable (e.g., due to an allergy). Guidelines from the CDC indicate that hydrocodone should be considered for use in three settings:

  • Chronic, non-cancer pain (pain lasting more than three months)
  • End-of-life care
  • Cancer pain

Unfortunately, hydrocodone has been over-used for pain, which contributed to the opioid epidemic.

Hydrocodone is available in various preparations for pain management:

  • Combination products with other medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Short-acting, immediate-release tablets
  • Long-acting, slow-release tablets and capsules

As a cough suppressant, hydrocodone is used alone or in combination with other medications for non-productive cough (i.e., a cough without phlegm coming up) in adults.

Dosage and Administration

Hydrocodone dosage is based on using the lowest possible amount to achieve reasonable pain control. The drug is taken every four to six hours, and the starting dose in adults is usually 2.5 or 5 mg per dose of the immediate-release drug.