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When more than the prescribed amount of hydrocodone was taken.
To learn about hydrocodone overdose and prevention.
Again, an overdose is a life-threatening emergency and 911 should be contacted immediately if symptoms are present.
How to Avoid an Overdose
Medications that contain hydrocodone are intended for use only by the patient for whom they are prescribed.
Individuals who are prescribed hydrocodone medications should strictly adhere to the dosing regimen prescribed by their doctor and should not allow others to use them whether for pain relief or recreational purposes.
One can learn about the risks involved with using hydrocodone by asking their doctor and reporting any serious side effects experienced when using hydrocodone.
Patients should not attempt to increase the dose of hydrocodone in the event that the prescribed
dose does not provide adequate pain relief.
Those who experience chronic or severe pain are at greater risk for overdose due to the potential of exceeding the amount prescribed, and concerns about medication strength or effectiveness should be expressed to a doctor.
Hydrocodone should never be taken for recreational purposes or to get "high" which also increases the risk of overdose.
Consuming alcohol and other drugs when using hydrocodone may also increase the risk of overdose (and, additionally increases the risk of acetaminophen toxicity).
Hydrocodone Overdose Treatment
Due to the dangers of respiratory arrest, restoring oxygen supply through CPR, ventilator, or by reversing respiratory symptoms with medication is the first priority.
Increased awareness of opioid overdose nationwide has led to the use of "opioid overdose toolkits" by first responders and other medical professionals.
These toolkits provide instruction for emergency treatment and include naloxone--an opioid antagonist medication that is administered by injection and:
Reverses the symptoms of an overdose.
Prevents brain damage and death from respiratory arrest.
Having a valid prescription for hydrocodone doesn't preclude the possibility of overdose.
At the emergency room, treatment may include:
Additional supply of oxygen.
Gastric suction or "stomach pumping."
Use of activated charcoal inside the stomach:
Absorbs the drugs ingested.
Prevents further absorption and damage.
Prevents or reduces acetaminophen poisoning.
Emergency room personnel will continue to monitor symptoms of overdose with appropriate therapies until the risk of severe and permanent harm and death has reduced.
If acetaminophen toxicity is suspected, an 'antidote' medication called Mucomyst (acetylcysteine) can be administered to mitigate the extent of liver damage.
Recovering from Hydrocodone Overdose
Recovery from a hydrocodone overdose depends on the amount of medication taken and how soon medical attention is received.
Rapid reversal of symptoms, particularly respiratory arrest, lowers the potential for permanent damage and an individual may return to normal functioning within a few days if the overdose was treated in time.
Hydrocodone overdose cannot be treated without proper emergency medical care.In cases of opioid medication abuse or dependence there is help available following an overdose in the form of:
Remember that hydrocodone overdose cannot be treated without proper emergency medical care and to always contact 911 or the local emergency number if an overdose is suspected.
An overdose can be very traumatic and leave you with many questions about what happens next.
If you feel that you may be overusing hydrocodone or you are unable to stop using, help is available. Contact
1-888-993-3112Who Answers? today for treatment information and to started on the path to recovery.
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National Institutes of Health (2014). Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen Overdose. Medline Plus, U.S National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002670.htm
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