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What should I know about Vicodin before taking it?

Before you start taking the pain medication Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen), you should know that it contains two powerful drugs, acetaminophen and the narcotic hydrocodone. Both can cause serious side effects, so never take more Vicodin, or take it more often, than your doctor has prescribed.

It's possible to become addicted to hydrocodone, especially if you have a history of addiction to alcohol or drugs (prescribed or illicit). Let your doctor know if you've ever had this problem before taking Vicodin.

Also be aware that you should avoid combining Vicodin with another medication that also contains acetaminophen. Taking more than 4,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen a day 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 from multiple medications. If you do take too much acetaminophen, seek medical help immediately, even if you feel fine.

Finally, you should know that Vicodin interacts with some other kinds of medications. Before you start taking Vicodin, give your doctor a complete list of your other medications (prescription and over-the-counter), supplements and other remedies.

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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.