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Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

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Old 01-24-2007, 02:57 AM   #1
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sealover HB Usersealover HB User
Question Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

I was just prescribed Vicodin (Hydrocodone/APAP) 5/500 tab (1 tablet 3 times a day) for my chronic pain in my foot. I delayed taking it for a few days because I have been worried about side effects like nausea. Finally, a couple of hours ago, I took my first pill, but I don't feel any relief of pain. I am starting to feel a little nauseated and weak.

How strong is a dose of 5/500? I don't know what 5/500 means? Is Vicodin stronger than Codeine? Can a person function while on Vicodin? Can a person drive safely while taking Vicodin?

I'm so tired of my chronic pain, and I am not thrilled with taking a narcotic pain med. I tried Ultram, but vomited. I am on Lyrica, but it makes me tired.

Thanks for any help. I now feel like vomiting .

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Old 01-24-2007, 04:18 AM   #2
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ozzybug HB Userozzybug HB Userozzybug HB Userozzybug HB User
Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

I'm really sorry you are feeling nauseous from the Vicodin. The 5/500 mg is a low dose, but unfortunately, the one main side effect is nausea. When I first started taking them, I would take them with a small amount of Coca-Cola and a couple or three of the peanut butter nab crackers and that helped quite a bit. Usually, the nausea will go away after taking the Vicodin a few times. It did for me anyway.

I do know that the 5/500 mg can be taken two at a time, but ONLY if your doctor prescribes it that way. Just taking one of them never really did much for me as far as releiving pain.

Give it a chance, but if you can't work through the nausea, or if it doesn't work itself out after some time, let your doctor know. There are so many things out there to help you.

Good luck! I hope you are able to get some much needed releif!

Last edited by ozzybug; 01-24-2007 at 04:19 AM.

Old 01-24-2007, 06:09 AM   #3
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Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Hi Sea Lover, Although Vicodin may not be considered one of the stronger meds in the pain management community, If you haven't taken it before, it is a strong med. How it effects you has more to do with previous exposure than trying to compare it to someone that's been taking 10 times that doses for several years. I remeber when Vicodin worked fine on pain, However if you foot pain is neuropathic,meaning nerve ralated. Nerve pain simply doesn't respond as well to opiate pain meds as other types of pain like broken bones, strains, dental work etc. Priorr to my first back surgery, Vicodin worked fine on my back but didn't touch the nerve/leg pain from bulging discs compressing nerves. My leg still felt like it was either on fire or I standing in a bucket of ice water. Nerve pain is the toughest pain to treat and it may take a combination of anti seizure meds, antidepressants and opiates to bring that pain under control.A tens unit ay help, Lidocaine patches may help, Slthough Lyryca sisn't help, there are a dozen other meds in the antis seizure and antidepressant class of meds that may heplp with nerve pain.

Another important factor is your expectations. Docs don't prescribe meds with the goal of making you pain free, the goal is to make pain tolerable enough so that you can continue on and learn to cope with what meds can't do.

There is no such thing as a med that has no side effects, but many side effcts like nausea and hot flashes do deminsh over time. How well we tolerate the side effects and whether or not the side effects are worth the relief the meds bring is a careful balancing act. Relieving enough pain to make walking more comfortable is a good thing, but if you can't walk more than 20 feet away from the toilet , than how much can someone really benefit from the med. Hopefully the side efects will deminsih and you will find a balance between relief and side effects and come to the understanding that the goal in PM isn't to be pain free, it's to be more functional.

If the meds themself become more impairing than your foot, it's hard to justify continued use, But it does take some people weeks or months to get passed some of the unpleaeant side efects. Yes, Hydrocodone is much stronger than codiene, that's why codiene comes in much higher mg strength than hydro, so the descrepency in strength isn't quite so extreme. The advantage of hydro over codeine is that it should cause less stomach upset than the codeine. Synthetics normally have less side effects or they are easier to tolerate than the opioid class "morphine & codeine".

There are meds to help with nausea, but if you can adjust on your own it's one less pill you have to take in order to make the pain more tolerable and the less side effects you will have overall. Even the meds for the side effects have side effects. Anti nausea meds can cause drowsiness , dry mouth, and can increase the strength of pain meds.

As far as driving, anyone taking pain meds or any med that is known to cause impairment and reaction time to slow is cause to be treated just like a drunk driver. If you take vicodin and do some fancy curb driving in front of a cop you will get a DUI or DWI, whatever your state calls driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance or one that impairs function. Even cold medecine can get you a DUI if you fall alseep at the wheel or rear end someone due to the drowsiness. You will go through the same process/prosecution that someone that drank and drove goes through if your cought. So be very careful each time they introduce a new med, adjust a dose and try to avoid driving untill side efecst like drowsinees deminish or any side effect that would distract you from driving deminsihes. Throwing up from Vicodin because you feel nauseated won't excuse you from a DUI if you rear end the person in front of you. It's a huge catch 22. The meds we take cause impairment, but the goal of the meds we take is to increase out level of function.

Personally I don't drive if my wife and I are together, there just isn't any point in taking the chance.

Give the Vicodin a chance, another key to PM is keeping pain under control, It's much easier to maintain a constant level of control than it is to bring an extremely high level of pain back down.

Good luck and give it time, Dave

Old 01-24-2007, 08:18 PM   #4
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kelsey1 HB Userkelsey1 HB User
Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

i would not drive at all til you have gotten used to the meds til you feel normal like you haven't even took a med,that what i do,i had a problem with this a couple of months ago,loook thought the treads great advice ,hope you feel better,kelsey

Old 01-27-2007, 01:29 PM   #5
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sealover HB Usersealover HB User
Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Thank you so much everyone for your responses to my message. Shoreline, you are extremely helpful with all the info you provided!

A question: Can you take Vicodin once in a while as pain flares up without withdrawal happening? You see, my pain varies depending on how much activity I do. Or do you have to take Vicodin on a regular schedule once you start the med? I understand that once you are taking it regularly, you are not supposed to suddenly stop taking it.

When I posted my message about Vicodin, I had to quickly finish that message because I felt like vomiting (Vicodin made me nauseated). Well, I didn't end up vomiting at all. Instead, I had to lay down in bed for a few hours until the side effects passed. It was weird because my body felt really heavy like I couldn't move, and my breathing was shallow...I couldn't even sense my heart beating (of course it was beating). Have any of you experienced side effects like that? I haven't taken another Vicodin since then, but I will try it again for my pain.

I definitely won't drive anytime soon while taking Vicodin as I am new to using it. In the future, if I experienced NO impairment in functioning while on Vicodin, then I would consider driving. But if Vicodin continued to cause side effects, there would be no way I would get behind the wheel of a car. I don't even drink and drive, so I'm a very careful driver.

The pain in my foot feels like nerve, muscle, and bone pain...I can't do my grocery shopping anymore without feeling like I'm going to collapse from the pain...this really stinks because I'm still young and I am dying to be able to walk like I used to before my injury, however, with time, my pain has gotten progressively worse. I don't personally know anyone my age with a pain issue that interferes with their life, so I feel alone.

I have been using Lidoderm patches on my foot for over a year...they help a little bit. I use heat therapy, too. My dose of Lyrica is only 100 mg total per day, and that is not a high dose at all...I've gained weight since starting Lyrica. I had been taking prescription Motrin, but now when I take it, I get acid stomach, so I can't take Motrin on a regular basis anymore. I tried Cymbalta (known to help with some pain), but the side effects were too annoying for me. I guess I would be willing to give Cymbalta another try.

I wonder if there is any pain med that is known to cause less side effects than other pain meds and is effective in significantly reducing pain. Sorry that I don't know too much about pain meds. I only know that Codeine has never worked well for pain I've had, and it makes me nauseated.

By the way, I recently read an article written by a man who took Vicodin following his surgery, and he said that with the first pill, he felt so much pain relief (I wonder what dose he was on), plus, the Vicodin made him feel euphoric. He ended up being addicted to Vicodin...he kept seeking the euphoric feeling and so kept taking more and more of the drug. He had to be treated for his addiction. This is not to say that what happened to him happens to everyone taking Vicodin. Some people become easily addicted to substances like alcohol, nicotine, opiates, etc. Anyway, when I took Vicodin, I certainly didn't feel anything like euphoria...I would have rather felt euphoric than sickly.

Okay, so I've yapped long enough. Thanks for reading and for your help.

Last edited by sealover; 01-27-2007 at 01:38 PM.

Old 01-31-2007, 03:42 AM   #6
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Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Make sure you eat a lot of food when taking Vicodin. Never take on an empty or half empty stomach. If you continue to get very sick, you may have a problem with codeine, call your doctor.
Take it only when you have pain.

Old 01-31-2007, 09:16 AM   #7
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deannette1 HB User
Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Hi Sealover,

I have been on Vicodin off and on for 5+ years for pain in neck & shoulder. I am 28yr female and taking it makes me feel very heavy and nauseated. I just recently had ACDF surgery 7 wks ago and again was prescribed it for pain management.I could only take it with Milk and definetly can not leave the house while on it. The 5/500 is a low dose but I have had the extra strength and that really puts me over the edge. However, it does take the pain away wants it gets in your system. I get worried all the time that I may get addicted to it but I try to alternate between tylenol and vicodin. Good luck!

Old 01-31-2007, 12:37 PM   #8
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RetiredDirector HB UserRetiredDirector HB User
Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Hi Seaover...There are a lot of people that are affected just the way you are on Hydrocodone. Like others, I would suggest talking it with food (even a small snack will do) or try milk. Actually, almost anything in your stomach will help the nausea.

As far as not getting the pain relief you need, Hydro comes in doses up to 10/325. The first number is the mg of Hydrocodone in the pill and the second is the amount of apap (or Tylenol), so you're taking 5 mg of Hydro and 500 of apap. No mater what the Hydro dose is, you are better off usually taking the least amount of apap as possible. It can cause problems with the liver at high doses. Max amount is 4,000 mg per day, if taken once in awhile, but more like 2,800 mg if it's a daily intake. If you can get use to the present dose, maybe you can have you doctor increase your med to the 10 mg Hydro.

You are right on too, about driving while on the medication. Especially until you are use to taking it. Dave (Shoreline) is absolutely correct with his mention of DUI (DWI) by the police. They really don't look at prescribed medication any different than they would if you had consumed alcohol and you are impaired. Best bet is to let someone else drive, if possible.

Last edited by RetiredDirector; 02-04-2007 at 09:14 PM.

Old 02-04-2007, 06:05 PM   #9
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sealover HB Usersealover HB User
Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Hi everyone,

Thanks for making it clear to me that I should take Vicodin on a full stomach and for explaining the dose I'm on.

When I took my first Vicodin pill, I made sure I had a full stomach, but about an hour and a half later, I felt nauseated & weak. I took an over-the-counter nausea relief syrup, but it didn't help much. I hate feeling really nauseous because I can't function too well, so it makes me reluctant to try Vicodin again...though, I will give it another shot (I'm planning on starting on half a pill). This is why I can't understand why there are people who abuse Vicodin and desire this med so much...I guess everyone is different with what their bodies will tolerate and what side effects they feel.

My pain is tough to treat because it is on the bottom of my foot where I bear all my weight into. So my foot is always being irritated when I walk or stand. Because of this, I don't know if there is any pain med that will reduce my pain enough to make walking long distances possible while still allowing me to be coherent .

Thanks again for all the help and info!

Old 02-15-2007, 08:43 PM   #10
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kilocdt09 HB User
Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Sea Lover
I can certainly understand your problem with the lack of help provided by the medication. I am enlisted in the Army and pretty much dont stop moving around from five in the morning till eleven at night. I have a laundry list of problems with my knees, not to mention a number of herniated/bulging discs in my back. I have been on and off of prescriptions such as Vicodin for three or four years now, and at 19 years old, thats a long time. My suggestions for the nasuea dont differ much from what everyone else has said, take the medication only on a full stomach until your body has adjusted to its presence. After a while, your body will stop trying to reject the medication, which is what is happening when you throw up. Milk, as previously mentioned, is your best friend. It coats your stomach and keeps the nasuea under control, usually. I'd suggest drinking a glass every hour, starting an hour before you take the medication. I might also suggest asking your doctor to lower the Acetomenaphen, or the APAP, which ever term you use, its simply Tylenol. What was your initial injury that started this pain, and do you have any other problems which tend to cause you even the slightest pain daily, as this may detract from the effectiveness of the medication.

Old 02-16-2007, 10:57 AM   #11
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Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Once again, Shoreline is right on! It takes TIME. I have been on hydrocodone for years, but when I started in the "as needed" way of taking it I had to take it with milk and food and the nausea was worse feeling than the original pain! I had a antinausea med called phenergen for nausea I felt when I got my migraines so my doc told me it was ok to take the phenergen to help out with the nausea fron the vicodin and it was magic no more nausea. As time went on I did notice a decrease in vicodin pain relief when I took it with food. That was all a long time ago, so time WILL help. I was also told by a pharmacist to take my ibuprofen (motrin) and vicodin with soda pop as the soda puts the pills in the part of your digestive system that absorbs it the quickest and usually lessening or eliminating the upset stomache. If you really need your motrin, I found the soda a saving grace plus for some reason I couldnt take prescription ibuprofen (nausea) but I could over the counter, maybe because they are only 200mg and coated, but I take 4 pills (at one time) to eaqual what the doc says I need. I hope this helps!
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Old 02-16-2007, 11:14 AM   #12
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TraveltoSL HB User
Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

Hi Sealover,

I was wondering if you have gone to a Podiatrist to get checked for a Neuroma? This is a non-cancerous tumor that attaches itself to the nerves in your foot and makes it excruciating to walk on. I had this back in 2004 and my Dr. believed in trying 2 cortisone injections only before doing the surgery to remove it. He didn't believe in getting many injections since he said if the first two don't work, it's rare that any more would make a difference.

My symptoms came on fairly suddenly and felt this awful shooting pain whenever I would walk on my foot....definitely felt like nerve pain...not a muscle cramp...I'm sure you can understand....the first weeks it would come and go throughout the day and I had no clue what it was....after it started being constant and I couldn't put ANY pressure on my foot whatsover for two days since the pain was unbearable, that is when I went to a Podiatrist.

He did the cortisone injections one week apart and then after it didn't work by the second week, he scheduled surgery....

They did not put me completely under general anesthesia but what I think they call "twilight" anesthesia....I certainly "felt" like I slept through the whole thing and don't remember anything except the "whoo hoo" medicine I call it right before they wheel you back, and then slowly becoming more coherent afterwards....

It took about 45 minutes....they remove the tumor plus surrounding nerves that it is attached to and then once you recover for a few hours, they send you home....I had a bandage around my foot and crutches for a week with no pressure on the foot the whole week. So, I rented a bunch of movies, books, friends over, etc. and kept my foot propped up. After the stitches came out after a week, I could start walking on it and regained full mobility by the second week.

But besides the surgery site pain which I only took a few Vicodin the first few days mainly to sleep because of the throbbing....but then nothing needed after that besides Advil....

Now I have no problems whatsover....the only weird part is that because they took out some nerve endings..I don't have feeling in a part of my "pad" on my foot but that doesnt' hinder me in any way...Walk, run, hike, bike, etc...everything is great.

So, just wanted to see what Dr.s you have seen as it's very odd for them to keep letting something go for over a year and just keep offering you Vicodin and strong medicine without some answers as what to do...

Again, Neuromas are very common and believe me, it's WONDERFUL when it is taken out and fixed and you can get back to normal. (whatever that is for us....LOL)

My suggestion is finding a good Podiatrist who will treat what is actually wrong and help fix the problem instead of just giving you meds to mask the pain....I hate to see you suffer if something can be easily fixed...

A quick side suggestion with the nausea, as I have a sensitive tummy too for all the pain medicine I take since after my 3rd cervical fusion front/back this last to go to a vitamin store to get some really good ginger root to put drops in your water, tea, etc....also eating ginger cookies and tea....It's really a wonderful natural standby that truly helps with nausea.....I, too, hate that feeling as it can ruin your whole day....

Hope you can get some help soon with a good Dr. to find out what is wrong...


Old 02-16-2007, 12:09 PM   #13
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Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

I forgot to mention how much peppermint helps I carry peppermints around with me everywhere they are my first line of defense against nausea. Chamomile tea with peppermint is fantastically relaxing also.
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Old 02-16-2007, 12:41 PM   #14
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Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med

I've never gotten over the nausea from Hydrocodone. It always makes me feel queasy and sick and has never done much of anything for pain relief. It's the only narcotic that I can't tolerate. A friend of mine (that I don't hang around with anymore because I can't trust) loves it and says that it makes her euphoric too .

I do remember how nauseating my first dose of Percocet was though (it was just after I had my Wisdom teeth removed). I felt so nauseaus that I lied down on the floor and slowly crawled to the toilet where I made gagging noises and spat up mucus for the next half an hour. After thirty to fourty minutes the nausea and sick feeling went away and I felt both pain relief and a somewhat intense warm feeling and sense of well-being, but definitely not euphoria. The next thing I did was put the TV on, then crawled into bed where I slept for the rest of the day and into the night. The pain lasted for almost two weeks because I apparently got dry socket and the muscles in the back of my mouth/jaw tightened up quite a bit.

Last edited by Fibbles; 02-16-2007 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Fixed my spelling

Old 02-28-2007, 01:24 PM   #15
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Re: Vicodin (Hydrocodone) first time taking this med


If you are trying to regulate your dosage, consider using a liquid form of hydrocodone like Lortab Elxir or the generic Hydrocodone/APAP 7.5 mg/500 mg per 15 ml. The liquid absorb more quickly and you can get a more precise dose to the milliliter.

The first time that I used the liquid form was over a year ago for a tonsillectomy and septomoplasty. It made my recovery much smoother.

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