Vicodin is the trade name for a drug that contains strong narcotic painkiller hydrocodone and a much milder, non-steroidal pain reliever acetaminophen. A central nervous system depressant, the drug relieves pain by blocking the pain receptors in the brain and causing its users to experience euphoria and relaxation.
Owing to its pain relieving and euphoria-causing properties, Vicodin is often subject to abuse and addiction. The hydrocodone component in Vicodin makes it potentially addictive. Hydrocodone is an opioid that works by binding to opioid receptors located in the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body. Once bound to these receptors, it blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. Opioids also interact with other brain chemicals like endorphins and create feelings of euphoria and sedation.
While on one hand, Vicodin use gives relief from pain, on the other hand, it also produces a variety of side effects, including the following:
- Upset stomach
- Slow heart rate
- Respiratory suppression
- Mood changes
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty urinating
When used too much or too often, its users can develop drug dependency characterized by intense drug cravings and drug tolerance characterized by the need to consume more quantity of the drug to achieve the same effects as before.