With the opioid epidemic plaguing the US, it can be difficult to separate the good from the bad and the right from the wrong, especially when it comes to a combination of painkillers like hydrocodone and ibuprofen.
What’s most important is to stay informed and know as much as possible about any medication prescribed to you. For instance, it can be helpful to know what side effects to expect or which ones require a call to your doctor. Additionally, prior to taking any medication, you should always familiarize yourself with any associated risks.
Continue reading this article to learn what you should be aware of regarding hydrocodone and ibuprofen, including how to get help if you or someone you love is suffering from dependence on these medications.
What is Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen?
Hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller that relieves pain by affecting the central nervous system. It requires a prescription from your physician because of the risks associated with misusing or abusing this medication.
Unlike hydrocodone, ibuprofen can be purchased by itself over the counter and does not require a prescription from your physician. Ibuprofen is an nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which relieves pain, swelling, and inflammation while also reducing fever.
The combination of these two drugs is typically prescribed to relieve acute pain that is severe enough to require an opioid because over-the-counter pain relievers could not be tolerated. The combination of these medications should not be used for longer than ten days, and it is not recommended for use to treat rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.
The combination of hydrocodone and ibuprofen is available in the form of tablets in a variety of dosages and is sold under three different brand names in the US: Ibudone®, Repraxin®, and Vicoprofen®.
How do Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen Work?
Hydrocodone and ibuprofen can be a very effective combination when it comes to pain treatment. While the former alters how your body and brain perceive and respond to pain signals, the latter works to reduce fever and inflammation, which can also contribute to pain.
More specifically, hydrocodone works to relieve pain by binding to and activating opioid receptors in your central nervous system, blocking pain signals from traveling through the brain and spinal cord. This activity provides relief for both pain and coughs.
Ibuprofen works by reducing your body’s ability to produce prostaglandins, which are chemicals that promote fever and inflammation. With fewer prostaglandins in your body, you will experience less pain and inflammation, as well as a decreased fever.
Together, these medications can be a very powerful tool in combating severe pain for short periods of time. However, it should not be taken without a prescription from your physician and should be used only as instructed.
What Are The Side Effects of Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen?
In addition to the expected and needed effects of pain relief, there are several common yet unwanted side effects you can expect to experience while taking hydrocodone and ibuprofen. These include:
If this medication is abused or misused, an overdose can occur, which can even be fatal in severe cases. If you or someone you love experiences any symptoms of overdose, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.
The symptoms of hydrocodone and ibuprofen overdose include:
- Blurred vision
- Cold or clammy skin
- Mood swings
- Severe drowsiness/fatigue
- Severe abdominal discomfort
- Decreased heart rate
- Stiff back or neck
- Swelling of the lower legs, feet, fingers, or face
- Loss of consciousness
- Small pupils
- Discoloration of the skin (blue-grey)
Serious breathing issues are more likely to occur in older adults who are debilitated, have chronic breathing disorders or have the wasting syndrome. If you experience any side effects that cause any concern, you should contact your physician immediately for advice. If any of the side effects are life-threatening, make sure to contact emergency services right away.
What Drugs Should Not be Mixed with Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen?
Combining medications can be tricky. Certain medications should never be combined, while others can be combined in certain doses. Therefore, it is important for your physician to know about all other medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are taking. This is your best option for avoiding dangerous interactions and a potential overdose.
These opioid medications should not be taken in combination with alcohol, as this could lead to dangerous side effects or even death.
You should also avoid any medications that might contain ingredients similar to ibuprofen (such as aspirin, naproxen, and ketoprofen). Medications that might include these substances are typically used to treat pain, swelling, fever, and other cold/flu symptoms.
Starting or stopping other medications while taking opioids can sometimes result in symptoms of withdrawal, respiratory issues, or even death in more severe cases. It is especially important to tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following types of medications:
- Antifungal medications
- Blood pressure medications
- Heart medications
- Seizures medications
- HIV/Hep-C medications
- Cold/allergy medications
- COPD medications
- Other opioids
- Muscle relaxers
- Sleeping pills
- Depression/Anxiety medication
- Medication for Parkinson’s disease
- Migraine medication
This is not an all-inclusive list; not all possible drug interactions are listed here. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, be sure to speak with your physician about them.
Risks Associated with Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen
Since hydrocodone is an opioid, it also comes with all of the risks of opioid consumption. To reduce those risks, you should ask your doctor to prescribe you the lowest dose available for the shortest amount of time possible or explore other non-opioid treatment options.
After reviewing all possible outcomes with your doctor, you should decide together whether the benefits will outweigh the possible risks and side effects. The chances of experiencing a more serious side effect can differ from person to person.
Let’s explore some of these risks.
High Addiction Potential
When it comes to this medication specifically, the main concern around addiction comes from hydrocodone. Ibuprofen is not considered to be addictive, although excessive use can lead to some serious side effects.
As with any other opioid, prolonged use of hydrocodone can result in physical dependence or addiction. However, this medication is only intended to be used for ten days or less. If you use this medication at the correct dose and frequency for the proper length of time, there is a decreased risk of addiction and dependence.
If you already have heart disease, taking hydrocodone and ibuprofen puts you at a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. You are also at an increased risk of such an outcome if you continue to use this medication for an extended period of time.
You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any warning signs that might indicate heart issues. These can include chest pain and tightness, an irregular heartbeat, warmth of the skin, or unusual flushing.
Taking either of these medications for extended periods of time can result in kidney damage by decreasing blood flow to them. If you already have existing kidney damage or impaired kidney function, it is not recommended for you to take this medication in any amount.
Some signs of kidney damage from ibuprofen can include:
- Blood in urine
- Urgency to urinate frequently
- Pain in the mid back area (“flank area”)
- Decrease in urine output
Some people have no symptoms of kidney damage, but it can be detected through a blood test.
Harm to Newborns
It is not recommended to take hydrocodone and ibuprofen for long periods of time while pregnant, as doing so can lead to neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. This occurs when the drug is passed into an unborn baby’s system through the placenta and the unborn baby becomes dependent on the medication while in the womb.
This can also cause a baby to suffer from symptoms of withdrawal, such as poor feeding or sucking, fever, respiratory issues, seizures, and high-pitched crying, after birth. If unrecognized or left untreated, this condition can become life-threatening.
ANR Opioid Dependence Treatment
If you or someone you love has been struggling with opioid dependency, there is a solution that doesn’t involve the vicious cycle of cravings, withdrawal, and relapse. Here at ANR, we treat your substance use disorder at its biological root by using modern medical technology.
Since the 1990s, Dr. Andre Waismann has redefined the process of healing from opiate dependency by reevaluating the objectives and therapeutic goals of other outdated treatments, such as rapid detox.
The result of his work and research was the innovation of ANR, also known as Accelerated Neuro-Regulation. This treatment method has delivered unmatched results to over 24,000 patients all across the world. So, thanks to ANR, rapid detox, and traditional detox centers are a thing of the past.
On average, the ANR treatment typically requires a 36-hour hospital stay. During your stay, you will be sedated and monitored by an anesthesiologist and a team of critical care providers for about 4 to 6 hours. While you are under sedation, the physician will regulate the endorphins and opioid receptors in your central nervous system. Throughout your stay, your levels will continue to be monitored and adjusted if needed.
After your stay, you will need to attend follow-up appointments to ensure the best results.
When you undergo Accelerated Neuro-Regulation, you get to avoid the miserable symptoms of withdrawal, along with cravings and relapse. You can finally have confidence in your ability to quit for good if you make the decision to seek treatment at the nearest ANR Clinic!
If you find yourself taking hydrocodone and ibuprofen, it is important to decrease your chances of dangerous side effects, such as kidney damage or a heart attack, by taking the prescription exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Here are a few key points about this medication that are important to remember:
- Ibudone®, Repraxain®, and Vicoprofen® are all brands of hydrocodone and ibuprofen that are available in the United States.
- Hydrocodone and ibuprofen work together by reducing fever, inflammation, and pain while simultaneously preventing pain signals from traveling to your brain.
- Always make your physician aware of any other medications, vitamins, or supplements that you are taking to decrease your risk of a potentially dangerous drug interaction.
- Taking this medication, even as prescribed, is associated with several serious risks, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome, and more.
Hydrocodone and Ibuprofen FAQ
#1. What should I do if I miss one dose of hydrocodone and ibuprofen?
If you happen to miss a dose of this medication, follow the directions given by the pharmacy or your medical provider. Keep in mind that doubling your dose could result in a potential overdose.
#2. How long should I take hydrocodone and ibuprofen?
This combination of medications should not be taken for any longer than ten days. If it is used for longer periods of time, it can be habit-forming and potentially result in dependence.
#3. Can I take hydrocodone and ibuprofen if I am pregnant?
If taken after 20-week gestation, hydrocodone and ibuprofen can affect your baby’s kidneys as well as the amount of amniotic fluid in your belly. After 30 weeks of pregnancy, these medications can lead to heart defects in your unborn baby.
#4. Can I take other medication with hydrocodone and ibuprofen?
There are several drug interactions that should be avoided when you are taking hydrocodone and ibuprofen. Because of this, it is extremely important for you to tell your physician about all other medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are currently taking.
Dr. Waismann identified the biological roots of opioid dependency, Since then he has successfully treated more than 24,000 patients worldwide that are struggling with opioid addiction.
Throughout his career, he has lectured and educated health professionals in dozens of countries around the world to this day.