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Is Mixing Alcohol and Hydrocodone Dangerous?

A person who is addicted to hydrocodone and alcohol increases the risk that he or she will suffer several dangerous side effects. Hydrocodone is a semisynthetic narcotic analgesic that is typically prescribed to treat mild-to-moderate pain. Hydrocodone medications usually contain analgesics like acetaminophen, and they are sold under brand names such as Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, and Anexsia. Hydrocodone can be highly addictive. Alcohol is a depressant, which works on your central nervous system, and it is also highly addictive.

Did You Know?

Mixing alcohol and medications of any kind can be dangerous, because alcohol makes you drowsy and uninhibited, and hydrocodone only intensifies these effects. Sometimes the combination of these substances is not because someone is addicted to hydrocodone and alcohol. Mixing the two substances can be accidental, because many cold medicines can contain up to 10 percent alcohol. Hydrocodone and alcohol can interact dangerously even if they are not ingested at the same time, warns the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol Abuse

Hydrocodone may be prescribed for legitimate pain, but it is highly physically addictive. If someone is also addicted to alcohol, he or she may abuse both substances simultaneously. This abuse may come about because the person is so dependent on both substances that a tolerance has formed or because he or she is substituting one or the other to reduce the cravings or relieve withdrawal symptoms. An addiction to both hydrocodone and alcohol is dangerous and poses a serious risk of overdose or permanent side effects.

Did You Know?

The Independent Alcoholism Health Council reports that alcohol is a commonly abused substance, which, in the United States alone, was the main cause of 79,000 deaths in 2010. Many of these deaths were caused by mixing prescription drugs like hydrocodone with alcohol.

What are the Short and Long-Term Effects?

Hydrocodone is an opioid, and it acts on the opioid receptors in your brain. It is later flushed from your system through your liver. Alcohol leaves your body in the same way, as is acetaminophen, a pain medication often combined with drugs that contain hydrocodone. The result of these three substances combining in your liver can cause significant damage very quickly. In addition to liver damage, there are several more side effects of mixing alcohol and hydrocodone. Short-term effects may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Loss of inhibitions

The long-term dangers of mixing hydrocodone with alcohol include more serious side effects, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart failure
  • Amnesia
  • Blackouts
  • Coma

“It is never wise to combine any medication with alcohol.”
When someone is addicted to hydrocodone and alcohol, his or her central nervous system gets a double hit; this can cause it to begin to fail. Mixing the two substances leads to problems with the heart, brain, kidneys and liver. It is never wise to combine any medication with alcohol, but for a person who is addicted to hydrocodone and alcohol, the intense high may seem worth the risk, or his or her inhibitions may be so reduced that the risks no longer matter.

Drinking While Taking Acetaminophen

While mixing hydrocodone and alcohol may not always mean death, the effects of being addicted to alcohol and hydrocodone can be extremely risky. Hydrocodone contains acetaminophen, which carries its own unique risks when mixed with alcohol. Because alcohol can accelerate your body’s metabolism of the drug, mixing it with acetaminophen can cause several common side effects, such as:

  • Risk of acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity
  • Hepatitis
  • Hepatic failure that require liver transplantation
  • Impaired judgment
  • Reduced cognitive ability
  • Slowed breathing
  • Respiratory failure
  • Impaired psychomotor skills
  • Hypotension
  • Deep sleep
  • Coma

If you think you might be addicted to hydrocodone and alcohol, or you are using hydrocodone to cope with alcohol withdrawal effects, we can help.

Treatment Options for Mixing Drugs

“An inpatient treatment center can provide you with constant care and support.”
When a person becomes addicted to hydrocodone and alcohol, the potential for dangerous side effects of mixing the two substances becomes increasingly high the longer the addiction goes untreated. You have several treatment options available if you are struggling with an addiction to hydrocodone and alcohol. For example, an inpatient treatment center can provide you with constant care and support, which will help you work through the intense withdrawal symptoms of both substances.

If you want information about substance abuse treatment programs, we can help. Call us at . We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to discuss your treatment options.

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