They are similar but not the same. It's true they are both made of the same materials but Vicodin comes in more than one strength. An example is Vicodin 5/500. That means it has 5 mg of hydrocodone (the pain killer) and 500 is the amount of acetaminophen (the anti-inflam part). Norco is a 10/325 tablet which is higher for pain killer but less damaging to your liver because it has less tylenol (acetaminophen). If you need to be on a pain killer long term then the Norco would be best unless you plan on doing routine liver panels (lab work) to monitor the damage being done, if any. Hope this helps.