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What should I avoid while taking Vicodin?

If you're taking the prescription pain medication Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen), you should avoid taking drugs that interact with it. It's particularly important to avoid taking more than 4,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen in a day, which can happen if you unwittingly take other acetaminophen-containing medication(s). Too much acetaminophen can cause serious side effects, including liver failure and coma. Check drug labels (they sometimes refer to acetaminophen as "APAP"). If necessary, ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you calculate how much acetaminophen you're receiving. If you do take too much acetaminophen, seek medical help immediately, even if you feel fine.

Vicodin suppresses the central nervous system (CNS). While you're on this drug, you may also need to avoid other medications that dampen the CNS. These drugs include other narcotic painkillers and certain antihistamines, antipsychotics and antianxiety agents. Used in combination, CNS suppressors can interfere with vital bodily functions such as breathing, which can be dangerous. Before you start taking Vicodin, give your doctor a list of your other drugs (prescription and over-the-counter), supplements and other remedies. Your doctor may decide that it's safe for you to take Vicodin along with a CNS-suppressing drug, but he or she may lower your doses accordingly.

You should avoid drinking alcohol if you're taking Vicodin. Alcohol is another CNS-suppressor, so it can increase side effects from the medication. Also, combining alcohol with acetaminophen increases the risk of liver failure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.