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Long Term Effects of Vicodin

Vicodin is a opiate pain reliever, and it is a brand name of the drug hydrocodone. There are other brands of hydrocodone, but Vicodin is the most commonly prescribed, and it is a mixture of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Opiates like Vicodin can be highly addictive, and there is a variety of potential long term effects from Vicodin use.

Long Term Effects of Vicodin on the Body

One of the most serious long term effects of Vicodin is liver damage. Acetaminophen in higher-than-recommended doses can begin to cause liver damage. Because Vicodin contains acetaminophen, there is the risk of liver damage, disease, and failure from long term Vicodin use, especially when taken in high daily doses.

Other long term effects of Vicodin can be related to the method a person uses to take the drug. Some people who use Vicodin to get high will snort or inject it. Snorting Vicodin can result in damage to the nasal passageways and potential loss of the sense of smell. Injecting Vicodin can lead to infections and permanent scarring at injection sites.

While uncommon, it is also possible to experience hearing loss from long term Vicodin use. Some people may also have an increased risk for arthritis.

Long Term Effects of Vicodin on the Brain

Vicodin affects a person’s brain in its pleasure center. Vicodin increases a person’s ability to feel pleasure, and it can cause a person to feel happy and euphoric. Long term effects of Vicodin can include damage to the pleasure center. This can lead feelings of depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, and mood swings. People may feel irritable or anxious, and in severe cases they may begin to experience delusions or hallucinations.

Other Long Term Effects of Vicodin

Vicodin is a drug that’s easy to become physically dependent on. If a person becomes addicted to Vicodin, they can experience all the long term effects that are associated with addiction, such as problems with relationships, work, money, school, or the law.

When a person becomes addicted to Vicodin, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, irritability, anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty concentrating.

The more a person takes Vicodin, the higher their tolerance for the drug will become. A higher tolerance means it will be necessary to take a higher dosage in order to feel the same effects, and a higher dose will increase the risk of long term physical and mental effects.

Factors Influencing Long Term Effects of Vicodin

The more Vicodin a person takes and the more often they take it will directly influence the severity of long term effects that they experience. A person’s body chemistry, weight, and any pre-existing conditions can also make a significant difference. If a person has pre-existing depression or anxiety, the long term effects of Vicodin on the brain can be more evident. If a person has liver damage or liver disease, Vicodin is more apt to cause liver failure or death.

Comments

  1. Darlene says

    Everyone of your long term effects assume the person is going to abuse the medication. The side effects of this drug is far less then most drugs on the market. Almost any medication can damage the liver. If this drug allows you to live a happy and fulfilling life why not? Only people who are not in chronic pain can not see the value in a medication that works. My biggest fear would that you would someday become immune to its effects.

  2. Darlene says

    Everyone of your long term effects assume the person is going to abuse the medication. The side effects of this drug is far less then most drugs on the market. Almost any medication can damage the liver. If this drug allows you to live a happy and fulfilling life why not? Only people who are not in chronic pain can not see the value in a medication that works. My biggest fear would that you would someday become immune to its effects.

  3. maria says

    I have been on a consistent dose for chronic pain for several years. I have never abused the drug. It seems as if it is assumed every patient will abuse it. Some of us with a evere pain can use it responsibly

  4. maria says

    I have been on a consistent dose for chronic pain for several years. I have never abused the drug. It seems as if it is assumed every patient will abuse it. Some of us with a evere pain can use it responsibly

  5. C___n says

    I agree with Darlene and Maria. I have had two back surgeries and suffered with chronic pain for 10 years. At that time there was no light at the end of my tunnel. I took vicodin everyday, four times a day for two years. SLOWLY my injured nerves started to heal. When I felt I could wean off, I never had a problem because I had used it for real pain and did not abuse it. Today I only need vicodin as needed when the pain increased due to some activity I have been doing. The doctors wanted to get me on anti depressants. I said, “I am not depressed, I am in pain, get rid of the pain and I won’t be depressed!” Taking this med for real pain was a breath of fresh air for me. When I took it to ease the pain, I could think, walk, even smile and feel hopeful. The addiction issue was not an issue when it came time to wean off because I used it out of necessity.

  6. C___n says

    I agree with Darlene and Maria. I have had two back surgeries and suffered with chronic pain for 10 years. At that time there was no light at the end of my tunnel. I took vicodin everyday, four times a day for two years. SLOWLY my injured nerves started to heal. When I felt I could wean off, I never had a problem because I had used it for real pain and did not abuse it. Today I only need vicodin as needed when the pain increased due to some activity I have been doing. The doctors wanted to get me on anti depressants. I said, “I am not depressed, I am in pain, get rid of the pain and I won’t be depressed!” Taking this med for real pain was a breath of fresh air for me. When I took it to ease the pain, I could think, walk, even smile and feel hopeful. The addiction issue was not an issue when it came time to wean off because I used it out of necessity.

    • Steve says

      This is from someone that has chronic pain its s blessing for me and some people that don’t take it when you don’t need it . it help me get off my butt and get back to work pain is very depressing . and if there’s help out there go for it just don’t take it just because you can take if and when you need it . thank you for reading this I hope it helped you.

  7. Another Darlene says

    I have been taking generic Vicodin since June 2013: 10-325, 3 times a day, 4 times if we go out to dinner and dancing on a weekend. I am very worried about long term effects; however, my chronic pain is so consuming I am in tears daily. The pain is in my hamstrings of all places! I have had 2 rounds of physical therapy, acupuncture, injections, 2 massages daily by my husband, counseling for pain management and treatment for depression. No wonder I’m depressed! The Vicodin only takes the edge off and I fear the long term effects. Any advice anyone?

  8. Another Darlene says

    I have been taking generic Vicodin since June 2013: 10-325, 3 times a day, 4 times if we go out to dinner and dancing on a weekend. I am very worried about long term effects; however, my chronic pain is so consuming I am in tears daily. The pain is in my hamstrings of all places! I have had 2 rounds of physical therapy, acupuncture, injections, 2 massages daily by my husband, counseling for pain management and treatment for depression. No wonder I’m depressed! The Vicodin only takes the edge off and I fear the long term effects. Any advice anyone?

  9. steve says

    I am a Vietnam vetran. The VA has prescribed me Vicodin for 10 years. I take 8 – 500 mg. pills a day. I have been taking it for at least 6 years now. I am now 64 years old and do not have any bad side effects from it.
    I do not see any harm in taking meds for real pain. I hope this helps you feel at ease.

    • Steve says

      It really pissis me off that there’s medicine out there that they make so hard to get because of the so call pill mills that were out there . because of some people that want to make money off of the drug . it ruins it for the people that need it it’s not right but that’s the way it is anyway it’s just not right as far as i’m concern people that need it should be able to get it without going through a lot of bureaucratic baloney.

  10. steve says

    I am a Vietnam vetran. The VA has prescribed me Vicodin for 10 years. I take 8 – 500 mg. pills a day. I have been taking it for at least 6 years now. I am now 64 years old and do not have any bad side effects from it.
    I do not see any harm in taking meds for real pain. I hope this helps you feel at ease.

  11. Sandy says

    I agree with all of you! I have had chronic pain for 14 years and have been taking Vicodin for at least 12 years, if not more. I started with the 5/550 dose, then progressed to 10/660 after about 2 or 3 years. I was just switched to 10/325 a few months ago, but also take Morphine Sulphate once at night, and sometimes Dilaudid when the pain is just so unbearable I just can’t stand it. I am a little concerned, though, that for probably 4 or 5 years, I was taking the strongest dose up to 8 times a day until both my doctor and my pharmacist said I should not be taking more than 5 or 6. Since Vicodin is fast acting, I now break them in half so I can still take them 8 to 10 times a day without overdoing it. I also heard that they have now developed a slow-release Vicodin. Anyone know anything about that? My chronic pain is so complex that I really need something powerful that will keep me at a level balance throughout the day and especially at night. I wake up with a migraine and throbbing feet (tarsal tunnel and neuropathy in both), and once I’m up, on comes the back pain (herniated disc) and the intense all-over pain of fibromyalgia. And if I do anything physical, my arthritis flares up. Every joint that is arthritic is from some form of exercise accident….knee replacement from being tripped while roller skating on cement, shoulder from falling on uneven sidewalk, fingers from bowling, ankle from hiking and horseback riding, the other knee from bike accident, chest from allergies from being outside, tarsal tunnel in both feet from water aerobics. Sure, I’ve been depressed, but definitely not from Vicodin. It’s from not having any of my family or friends down here, being disabled and Social Security doesn’t believe me, and not being able to do the things I used to be able to do. All of us with chronic pain know what hell it is, and those who have never experienced it need to shut up and respect us who are suffering and have to listen to all the snide comments from those who think we are just looking for attention. I would switch places with a pain-free person in a heartbeat! Hurray for Vicodin!!

  12. Bob Rozelle says

    I have been taking Vicodin for 2 1/2 years to treat severe bone pain. I have MGUS and the Hematologist says that that is no symptoms to MGUS. I bet to disagree with him. The pain is unbearable at times. I need that break from the pain even for a short period of time.

  13. Dana Archer says

    I am 74 years old and have taken vicoden for 19 years (10/325). I have had two surgeries for sciatic and arthritis pain and neither were helpful. It is most insulting at times to be referred in general as an abuser by the media or by the medical community. I have never exceeded the original dosage of 6 pills per day, and am grateful for the relief from pain which allows me to live an active life.

  14. micheal says

    I have had severe pain 7 to 8 yrs. i am taking twice a day 10/325 hydrocodone which allows me to work and be somewhat content, meaning functional. prior to this it was pain patches, 10 to 12 ibuprofen a day and still in pain.To me the right to access a medication that allows someone to function is greater, than a concern that someone is an abuser. Seems its punish all to control the dishonest.

  15. Farley says

    I had a crush vertebrae in the lower lumbar and the sciatica I also am 66 years old 5 foot 11 and weighs 340 pounds if I don’t take for an NAR cassettes or vicodin a day then I really can’t function if I take one every 6 hours with an occasional half then I can live a normal life without any pain if I don’t take any and it’s really hard for me to even walk the pain in my back my hip my joints my knees my ankles is excruciating the Vicodin or the narcos sets frankly relieve the pain I don’t get high off of it I don’t take it as a sedative I take it so I can have a normal life and I don’t

  16. Farley says

    I’ve been taking the Vicodin for 7 years and as long as you have plenty of acidophilus and take plenty of fiber even an occasional laxative to make sure your boweisfunction daily you’re fine if you don’t have normal digestion or do you get constipated it can be very dangerous and live in lead t so it’s very important that you take a lot of fiber even fiber pills or gels and maybe a Senna type laxative type laxative

  17. Diane says

    I have been taking vicodin for 5 years. I am not addictided nor have i ever been. A doctor once told me you are either the type of person who will abuse a drug or the type who wont. i wont, i dont like taking pills but have had no choice. I have been determined to get off the meds from the begining and its taken me 5 years, of trying every exercise in the book to free my back from the pain it has been in. i finially did yah. But i have a few adhesions and a hernia in my stomach all from the pills. I also feel pain and pleasure different. needless to say i have a high tolerance for pain while taking them, and i tend to be covered in black and blues because of this. yes if you are in pain never feel like your doing anything wrong by taking pain meds just be warry they will come at a cost. i have managed to get my pain under control. this is my second time around doing this. I had my L5 removed replaced and 3 screws 13 years ago so pain will probably always be part of my life so im planning for the long haul. the less i take the less side effects ill have to deal with.

  18. Ron Brown says

    Stumbled onto this site and glad I did. I have been taking 10/325 Hydrocodone for about 5 years, originally prescribed at 8 a day, have never taken more than 4. I too break them in half and take more often. I still live with constant pain but life it more tolerable with it than without it. I am in need of a multi level lumbar fusion (6+) and we all know the general results of those. Might eventually wipe out my liver but between now and then, I will enjoy what quality of life I have as long as I have.
    If it were not for the fuzzy brain side affect, I would probably never consider the alternatives but for now will keep on keeping on.

  19. Roy Dobbs says

    Some of the folks on here have been doing the same drug for 5+ years and they are not getting any better all that is happening is the pain is masked for the time being. Some say they’ve been doing it for 5 or 7 years and that they aren’t hooked, hell I have friends that have been doing dope for 30 years and they ain’t hooked , get real folks, you know damn well if you don’t do your pills every few hours you will be going through withdrawals, you can fool yourselves but not me. If any of you took any real responsibility for your lives you would research alternatives to all these drugs that are just killing you slowly, you would learn how to change your diet by going to a nutritionist and going to a Naturopath Doctor that will try to keep you off of that Big Pharma crap. WE all can only blame ourselves if we put all of our health issues in the hands of a conventional (Pill Pusher) and expect to get well, you need a Healer not a conventional Doctor. I already know none of you will take the initiative to change because the drugs have made most of you lethargic and your brain isn’t functioning at it’s full potential because it is clouded by these drugs.Good luck with Vicodin but I wouldn’t be making any long term plans for the future because there is a good chance you will not make it at the rate you are going. Peace, Roy

    • Ron Brown says

      Life is killing us all slowly. I am personally staring down the barrel of a 5 level lumbar fusion that has been diagnosed by at least a dozen neurosurgeons and orthopedics. Bone on bone, no room left for nerves to function without pain. I have two choices (and yes I have tried every alternative at least twice), have it fused or take pain killers. Look up the expected outcomes of 5 level fusions, for now I will take the hydrocodone as needed. I may be hooked, I can live with that but given the alternatives, in my mind, it’s the lesser of evils.

    • SilverFox says

      Roy, please see my recently posted comment. I sincerely hope that one day you’ll have to deal with chronic pain so you learn humility and compassion. Until then JUDGE NOT LEST YEA BE JUDGED!!!

  20. says

    I have had a long life of pain. What really gets to me is how the surgeons that perform these surgical procedures do not stick by you through your struggle. If your insurance company changes or god forbid you end up on disability with medicaid, somehow these Gods (surgeons) will no longer treat you. I think this is where the system fails us as patients. If they go for those big bucks in the beginning and the bucks shrink they don’t want any part of what they started. The surgeon that did my 2 lumbar surgeries is long gone. I felt confident in him being young and experienced, I thought he knew what my results would be. As soon as my insurance changed bye bye mable. The same with the surgeon that did my cervical surgery. I am now on medicaid and that surgeon will not see me. My heart is broken, I really thought they both cared and they were in this business for the right reasons. What a fool i am. Its all about the money bottom line. Being on medicaid is a huge difference from my younger years. I was a hard worker and I always enjoyed helping others. I hate vicodin but I have to rely on it to get through my daily life. I am ashamed to say i am on a narcotic. I am so glad I found this website. Its sad to read the cold hearted comments with such smart alec comments. I feel for all the people in the same boat I’m in..I wish I had a jaqcuzzi to live in.

  21. Donald R Vineburg says

    I have been taking one half a dose to relieve pain from arthritis and whatever else bothers one approaching the age of 82. I volunteer daily at an elementary school, and if I am in severe pain in the morning I take 1 entire pill then, even though it makes me “loopy.” and then try to avoid the 1/2 pill in the evening. I cannot take Ad\vil type pain killers, because I have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. While I am with the fifth graders each morning (3 hours) I barely notice my pain except when get up from my chair.

    Would like comments.

  22. says

    I have metal on my leg i am n pain but i think i take to much my back hurts my chest i have anexity depression please help me what do i do i dont know if i have liver promnlems

  23. says

    Ive been taking hydracodone for over 15 years sure theres going to be withdraw symptoms if u follow the doctors orders and take your medicine.for exampleif you take it every 6hrs and only every 6hrs you should never be wanting more,but will experience withdrae symtoms within 12hrs fom last dose.

  24. Yolanda Santos says

    Hi …. My name is Yolanda ….. I take vicoden …. Once a day at nite around 7 pm …. After mkt shopping taking dog to dog park cuz I can only walk short distance cuz pain will restart right away …. So I sit at dog park & let my dog play…. I bring up groceries which is. V hard & start to clean & cook a meal do some laundry & I
    Done ….. Have to lay down with use of heating pad …. Only at times when I have had a bad fall …,which puts me in hospital do I take two pills for short while …. Then go back to one pill a day …. I thank God 4 vicoden it let’s me live a some what normal life !!!! I do not believe I am an abuser !!!! Just I lots of pain & need a little relief to rest & sleep …..God bless all who r in pain …. Use it responsibly & it will help u carry on !!!!!

  25. scooter says

    I have been using vicodin for 15 years now with no problems. They are not nearly as effective as when i first started taking them so i now have to crush them up and snort them to get the desired buzz, and sometimes even dissolve in vodka and inject directly into my subclavian vein with a used needle i found in the gutter. All in all though, i dont find them to be addictive, and even if it is, its my body so mind youre own business.

    • Darlene says

      You are either a fake or just making fun of the people who just want to share their stories. If you really do the things, you say you do, you need serious help.

  26. Photon says

    I’ve been on Vicodin for a year now, the prescription being for two 10/325’s daily. This is for a pair of back conditions, one being a spinal stenosis at L4, and the other, a deteriorated disc farther down. Both have been described as ‘severe’ by the examining physicians. I find that often, two tabs per day is not nearly enough, and that on other days, I require no Vicodin at all. I titrate the Vicodin against the pain within safe limits as established by the drug’s manufacturer, and therefore average three tabs per day. Of course, this means that a 30-day supply lasts for only 20 days, but I use this to my advantage. A 10-day hiatus from the drug means living with pain which can be completely debilitating at times, but it also means that dependence will be at least partially reversed by a rebound in the production of endorphins and enkaphalins, and that tolerance – not the same as dependence – to the drug, will be diminished. When I am resupplied with the drug, its effectiveness is enhanced, over the last time that I took it. I much prefer this, as opposed to an ever-increasing dosage without respite, but this regimen is not for those who will not be accomodating to the painful and debilitating downside that it often entails. For me, it’s simply a worthwhile tradeoff, and the Vicodin can’t physiologically own me. In addition, and this is somehow rarely mentioned, for chronic pain which is not at a debilitating level, the brain is capable of a neuroplastic response over the long term which results in the pain neurotransmitters being directed away from the mu-receptors, resulting in a reduction of felt pain. Lastly, there is a third element of the usage of opioids that affects a great many people – addiction – but that is a psychological component, not a physiological one. It is simply a voluntary submission to hedonism in a quest for life in La-La Land. And, long story short, if my own condition at L4 is not resolved to a point where it is livable without Vicodin in another 6 months, then I will elect for an endoscopic corrective surgical procedure. This is not without risks, but I will prefer it to an escalation in the usage of drugs, which ultimately carry greater risks and still do not deal with the underlying pathology. Different stroke for different folks…

  27. SilverFox says

    I’ve been taking vicodin 5/325 for about 3 years. I’m 65 years old and I crushed a disk in my neck in a ski jumping accident at age 25. I’ve dealt with chronic pain for years and I’ve had one cervical fusion and a recent Radiofrequency Abalsion. I was taking just 2 or 3 pills a day before the RFA, but my recovery left me with worse pain. Now I take 4 or 5 a day just so I can continue working as I don’t have the funds to retire. Driving and using the company issued laptop cause me great pain, but I have to push through it for at least a few more years. I don’t think I could continue without the vicodin. I’ve quit for as long as two weeks while on vacation and the withdrawal was not that bad. I thank God that this medication works reasonably well for me and I resent the self righteous comments by Roy Dobbs. I don’t know how old you are Roy, but if you live long enough you will probably have to deal with chronic pain that your Naturepath homeopathic sugar pills and your special diet simply won’t touch. I wager you’ll change your tune once you walk a mile in shoes that hurt your feet, your back, your hands, your neck, your head and you callous brain. Unfortunately, until then the world will just have to endure or ignor your ignorance. May God teach you compassion, Roy. Until he does, SHUT UP!
    For many of us Vicodin, if used responsibly, greatly improves our quality of life and we don’t need to be judged by fools like you.

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