Vicodin is a combination medication comprising of Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen (Paracetamol).
Hydrocodone belongs to the semi-synthetic Opioids class of drugs and is often called a Narcotic analgesic. It is used as a potent reliever of pain, moderate to severe in intensity. On the other hand, acetaminophen or paracetamol is a relatively weaker analgesic but when used in combination with Hydrocodone, potentiates its effects.
Besides its useful effects, like any other medication, this drug has its own list of untoward effects. Some of the common ones are given down:
• Nausea and vomiting
• Drug-drug interactions
Apart from the useful and harmful effects of Vicodin, another set of consequences of this drug are perhaps our center of attention. These include dependence, tolerance, and addiction. The Drug Enforcement and Administration, or DEA classifies Vicodin as a Schedule II drug. This is because Hydrocodone belongs to Opioids medications which are quite well known for their potential of producing tolerance, dependence, and addiction when used for longer periods of time. The dependence is physiological as well as psychological as opioids create various neurobiological changes in the bodies of their users over time. Due to these changes, Vicodin should not be stopped abruptly (cold turkey method) or the dosage should not be tapered by a significant level at once. Doing so can result in Withdrawal syndrome in a physically dependent user which is a group of signs and symptoms similar to a worse case of Flu. Runny eyes, runny nose, irritability, sweating, muscle cramps, body aches etc. are some of its chief manifestations.
Tapering Vicodin is a common but difficult task. It should be done according to a personalized tapering scheme under a strict supervision of trained and passionate health professionals. When a person plans to quit using Vicodin, he actually gets prone to potentially discomforting upcoming few days or weeks. Due to the strong probability of withdrawal symptoms and relapse, a proper medical detox is recommended. Some medications for example buprenorphine (Suboxone) or methadone can be a resort to switch to by the Vicodin addicts as they can reduce the withdrawal symptoms or intoxication as they learn to break free from Vicodin – ultimately tapering down off of the buprenorphine or methadone also.
Vicodin detox/taper schedule depends upon several factors that include the time period for which the drug was taken, in what dosage it was taken, and other individual factors like genetics, age, gender, family history, environment, tolerance level etc. The amount of drug taken by a patient is slowly and gradually decreased during a tapering process which can reduce or even completely ablate the probability of withdrawal symptoms. The longer the Vicodin has been taken, the longer the tapering schedule should be. Below given is an example of a slow opioid tapering schedule:
· There should be a 10% to 20% reduction in your daily dose every 1 to 2 weeks.
· Once you are at a 1/3rd of your initial dose, reduce the tapering to a 5% (or even less) decrement in your daily dose every 1 to 2 weeks.
· In case you have started to experience anxiety or strong withdrawal symptoms during the process, slow down the rate of taper or hold on a dose for longer than planned.
An example of Taper Plan for a person taking 100 mg dosage of Vicodin daily:
· During 1st week: Take 80 mg/ day
· During 2nd week: Take 60 mg/ day
· During 3rd week: Take 50 mg/ day
· During 4th week: Take 40 mg/ day
· During 5th week: Take 30 mg/ day
· During 6th week: Take 20 mg/ day
· During 7th week: Take 15 mg/ day
· During 8th week: Take 10 mg/ day
· During 9th week: Take 5 mg/ day
· During 10th week: Stop Vicodin completely
Like all the other treatment methods, tapering off Vicodin is a play of inches or, milligrams to be more precise which means that it is an incremental course. Some days, people going through this tapering process may face huge setbacks while the other days may bring slaking strides to them.
While several people may tend to taper off Vicodin on their own, it is best to perform it under the surveillance and guidance of a trained professional. Opioid addiction including Vicodin has perhaps decimated lives of millions of people. One big reason is their failure during taper trials due to the tormenting withdrawal symptoms that one experiences as he stops taking Vicodin. This leads to relapse and further addiction. At Indy, we offer top-notch, professionally managed taper and detox schemes through which we successfully help patients to taper off Vicodin and other similar drugs. Our facilities include complete inpatient and outpatient masterly planned detox, taper and rehabilitation programs, tailored according to an individual’s requirement followed by addiction treatment programs if needed. Once you have successfully reached your milestone of getting off Vicodin, you can live and enjoy your life to the fullest with your dear ones.