January 30, 2023 AddictionAlcohol

The Dangers of Mixing Hydrocodone and Alcohol

In the United States, both alcohol and prescription medications are often misused. The risks of misusing each substance alone are significant, but the dangers skyrocket when the two are combined. Combining hydrocodone and alcohol is not safe.

It is a fact that using too many drugs or excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous to one’s health. However, even a tiny amount of alcohol can be deadly when used with prescription drugs.

Keep reading the article to understand the dangers of mixing hydrocodone and alcohol.

Explained text: long term use of hydrocodone with alcohol increases the chance of tolerance, misuse, and dependence

Key Takeaways

Mixing hydrocodone with other medications, such as alcohol, can be deadly, especially if you are recovering from alcohol intoxication.

  • In the United States, hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed medication.
  • Long-term use of hydrocodone with alcohol increases the chance of tolerance, misuse, and dependence.
  • There are multiple severe side effects of combining hydrocodone and alcohol.

If you suffer from Hydrocodone and alcohol abuse, seek professional help today. Contact the Indiana Center for Recovery team at (812) 289-7429 and get on the road to recovery.

Hydrocodone: Uses and Addiction Risks

Hydrocodone is the most often prescribed pain reliever in the US. Hydrocodone is an opioid-based pain reliever and cough suppressant that can help individuals recover from operations and illnesses.

It is commonly sold in tablet form under the brand name Vicodin. The drug may help people get back on their feet without pain, but its adverse effects can be pretty unpleasant.

People who take it may experience euphoria leading them to continue taking it even though they are not experiencing as much pain as before.

When someone uses hydrocodone for an extended period, the euphoria may fade as the body builds a tolerance to the drug.

It takes large amounts of the drug to get the same impact, and it never feels as good as the first time you consumed it. Prolonged use can lead to severe addiction, which can result in negative consequences on your physical and mental health.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

Hydrocodone is a semisynthetic opioid drug produced from codeine that is used to relieve mild to severe pain. Because of its efficacy, doctors wrote around 182 million opioid prescriptions in 2012.

Opiates depress the central nervous system, reducing respiration, heart rate, and other vital body processes in addition to alleviating pain. Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant that enhances the effects of opioids such as hydrocodone.

As a result, alcohol is involved in most opiate overdose deaths. Even if consumers know the risks, alcohol decreases fear and increases the odds of dangerous behavior, including substance abuse.

Inexperienced users of either alcohol or opiates may also be unable to accurately assess their level of intoxication. Moreover, they also may be unable to assess the time it requires for an oral hydrocodone tablet to begin acting; they may consume more if they do not feel anything.

This type of overdose can occur in multiple ways and is extremely deadly. At some point, the central nervous system gets so slow that an opiate user may have difficulty breathing. Also, they may feel that they must deliberately remember to breathe.

If they become unconscious, they may begin to breathe too slowly or cease breathing entirely. Brain damage from a shortage of oxygen can develop in minutes if this occurs. If help does not arrive promptly, the person may go into a coma or die.

Another increased risk of combining alcohol with hydrocodone is that this type of opioid is sometimes used with large doses of acetaminophen for improved pain relief.

Vicodin, a common prescription painkiller, contains hydrocodone and up to 750 mg of acetaminophen per pill – and those who abuse the medicine will often take more than one pill.

Acetaminophen is infamous for being toxic to the liver, and Vicodin abuse increases the risk of liver damage.

Because alcohol, particularly in large quantities, is harsh on the liver, an overdose containing both is likely to cause considerable stress to this vital organ. Liver failure can develop, a potentially fatal condition that needs a liver transplant for the victim to survive.

Side Effects of Mixing Hydrocodone and Alcohol

Both alcohol and hydrocodone have distinct effects on the body, but they both tend to slow it down and reduce response time.

Depressants are substances that function in this manner. When more than two depressants are used simultaneously, the undesired side effects may be amplified, leading to higher health hazards.

The following are the most common side effects:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Alcohol overdose
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Slowed breathing
  • Unstable heart rate

Moreover, the effect on the liver is an extra concern of this simultaneous use. As previously stated, alcohol causes liver damage over time.

In certain mixture pharmaceutical formulations, like Lortab, Norco, and Vicodin, hydrocodone is combined with acetaminophen, which has been linked to serious liver problems when taken in excess.

Taking acetaminophen and drinking alcohol together reduces the threshold for liver damage caused by acetaminophen.

Signs of Hydrocodone and Alcohol Overdose

When you take hydrocodone and alcohol together, both substances intensify each other’s effects. When the effects of these substances impact you, your body will show signs you are suffering from an overdose.

The following symptoms are the most common signs of overdose:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory problems
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Poor coordination
  • Limp body
  • Pale skin
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blue fingernails or lips
  • Unstable pulse rate
  • Coma

Treatment for Hydrocodone and Alcohol Addiction

Giving up alcohol or hydrocodone on its own may be a very unpleasant process. Because of the intense withdrawal symptoms linked with alcohol, withdrawal can be serious and lethal when the two are combined.

Withdrawing from mixed-substance use may result in body pain, agitation, sweating, insomnia, confusion, and restlessness.

Because of the potential effects, many people will be required to detox under the watch of medical professionals. Due to cravings and the danger of relapse, detoxing under medical care will give benefits over the long term with safety.

After detox, the focus can shift to rehabilitation, with numerous stages of addiction therapy available, including:

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is a short-term treatment used to stabilize physical and mental illness. Inpatient programs typically run between one and three months and are closely monitored. Daily therapies will include group and individual counseling, primary care, and support to live a sober life.

Outpatient Therapy

The outpatient treatment contains a wide range of modalities, with treatment times varying from 1 hour weekly to 6 hours daily.

Therapy will cover relapse causes and prevention measures. Outpatient therapy is a great choice for people with a strong support system at home and is often used after residential therapy.

Moreover, many people in recovery attend informal support groups, like 12-Step meetings. These support groups enable patients to get help from others who are dealing with the same challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I have a glass of wine if I’m taking hydrocodone?

No, it is not advised to consume alcohol if you are taking hydrocodone. Hydrocodone abuse damages your health, but when mixed with alcohol, the outcomes can be fatal. Combining the two can result in multiple health issues ranging from hearing loss and loss of motor function to heart failure and coma.
Both medications are depressants that impair your central nervous system. When this system fails, your heart rate and breathing rate may decrease to exceedingly hazardous levels. It may increase the chances of unconsciousness and coma.

Can you take pain medicine with alcohol?

Alcohol and pain relievers are a deadly combination, so avoid mixing them. Not only are you at a higher risk of overdosing, but combining pain medication and alcohol can seriously depress your central nervous system. Mixing pain relievers with alcohol can result in aggressive behavior, failures in judgment, and physical side effects like dizziness, cardiac changes, unconsciousness, and more.

Why is it a danger to drink alcohol if you’re taking Oxycodone?

The combination of alcohol and Oxycodone is quite harmful. Both medications act as CNS depressants. Alcohol, like painkillers, causes a person’s breathing to slow down. The respiratory system may be overloaded when the body strives to endure the effects of both medicines. In fact, the mixture of alcohol and Oxycodone is likely to result in respiratory depression, which is defined by limited or no breathing.
If ignored, respiratory depression can quickly cause brain damage and death. Researchers discovered that even a small amount of alcohol combined with one oxycodone medication could cause respiratory issues.

How long should I wait to drink alcohol after taking Percocet?

Percocet has a half-life of about 3-5 hours. The half-life of a substance in the human body is the time it takes for it to decline by half. Percocet takes four to five half-lives, or around one day, to completely depart the body. As a result, it is advised to wait at least one day after taking Percocet before consuming alcohol.
The risks of combining alcohol and Percocet are very deadly. It is not recommended to consume both drugs simultaneously.