Hydrocodone also known as vicodin or Hycodan, is a semi-synthetic opioid synthesized from an opioid alkaloid (codeine). It could also be described as a narcotic and/or an opiate (a narcotic analgesic which directly depress the Central Nervous System) as it is derived from the poppy plant (Papaver somniferum).
Opiates is a term used sometimes for the close relatives of opium (codeine, morphine and heroin) whereas opioids is used to used to describe the whole class of drugs including the synthetic opiates like oxycontin.
Hydrocodone is employed in the treatment of moderate to severe pain as well as an antitussive to manage cough. The onset of its analgesic effect is between 20 to 30 minutes with duration of about 4 to 8 hours.
Opiates cause a sense of wellbeing or euphoria in many people; the major cause of its addictive tendencies. When used as a pain medication, many subjects develop tolerance (decrease in subject’s reaction to specific drug or drug concentration where an increased drug concentration is required to achieve a desired effect). Consequently, addiction sets in.
Withdrawal from a drug or a group of drugs is an expected process of regaining the normal state of the body system. Opiate withdrawal could be extremely uncomfortable though not life threatening in cases where it is not a withdrawal from a combination of drugs. Withdrawals take place as the human brain compensates for the effect of the opiate on the Central Nervous System.
Hydocodone (opiate) withdrawal process may comprise tapering the drug doses and weaning oneself slowly from the medication. This will minimize the onset of all symptoms associated with opiate withdrawal. The withdrawal process, whichever process, is best carried out with a physician’s consent to ensure safety and proper treatment of underlying symptoms.
Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms includes confusion, tremor, chills, abnormal skin sensations, sneezing, sore throat, stiff nose, severe drowsiness, drowsiness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, seizures, changes in mood, abdominal pain, sweating, strong craving for drugs, yawning, muscle pain, back pain, insomnia, anxiety, low energy, agitation, painful urination, weak or shallow breathing, lightheadedness, constipation, dry mouth, itching, headache.
Visiting a rehabilitation centre that offers prescription drug treatment program is a good way of handling hydrocodone misuse and its symptoms. Also, outpatient treatment centre could be helpful as they provide counseling and other services to affected subjects.
Heroin also known as diacetylmorphine is a highly addictive drug with euphoric, anxiolytic and analgesic central nervous system effects. It is derived from morphine alkaloid and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the controlled substances Act of 1970. Heroin has no acceptable medical use in the United States.
However, many people believe it treats their anxiety state, alleviate worries and other stress conditions. It can be injected, smoked, sniffed, used as suppository or orally ingested.
Regular use of heroin will lead to tolerance where the subject in question will likely need to use a higher concentration of the drug to achieve the same effect given by a small dose of heroin. On the other hand, continuous use of higher doses of heroin will lead to physical dependence and addiction. This will lead to onset of the several withdrawal symptoms if high drug dose is not reduced or stopped.
Heroin withdrawal could cause symptoms such as restlessness, muscle pain, bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, kicking movement, drug craving. Though less dangerous compared to alcohol or barbiturate withdrawal, sudden heroin withdrawal should be avoided especially in dependent users who have poor health. This could be fatal.
Furthermore, proper withdrawal procedure should be followed in cases where addiction to opiates and its analogues need to be stopped. Also, adequate treatment of underlying withdrawal symptoms should be observed during this process.
Subutex, Suboxone, Depade are approved in the U.S for the treatment of opioid dependence. Dolophine is also effective in the treatment of heroin withdrawal symptoms. They can be used alone or combined to achieve synergism in the treatment of heroin withdrawal symptoms. Behavioral approaches are also relevant in curbing opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms.