In the following sections, you’ll learn about the Norco side effects that that the majority of short and long term users tend to experience. You’ll also learn a bit about prescription opioids in general. Lastly, we’ll touch upon the discomfort of opiate withdrawal and the help that a medical detox can give.
First, we’ll need to see exactly what Norco is.
What is Norco?
It’s much easier to predict the side effects of any drug if you know a little about it. In short, Norco is the brand name of a prescription drug that combines hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a commonly prescribed synthetic opioid, and acetaminophen is nothing more good old-fashioned Tylenol with a longer name.
Typically, physicians prescribe this drug for moderate to severe pain. Like all prescription opioids, you should never use Norco for an extended period of time. This is because it can be habit forming very quickly, especially after you develop the inevitable tolerance that comes along with opioid drugs.
Norco is an opioid agonist, and as such, binds to opiate receptors in the central nervous system. It instigates a process that reduces the excitability of the neurons in the brain and spinal cord, thereby altering the person’s perception of pain. Opioid agonists can also induce feelings of euphoria, which can lead to abuse and eventually, addiction.
Norco also contains acetaminophen (Tylenol.) The exact mechanism that contributes to acetaminophen’s ability to relieve pain is unclear, but it is believed that it works by inhibiting the synthesis of chemical messengers known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced by the body in reaction to an injury or illness and help transmit pain signals and induce fever.
How Norco Affects the Body and Mind
Hydrocodone is a semisynthetic opioid that can be used to treat pain and suppress coughing. It can also induce feelings of euphoria and/or sedation, especially when combined with other drugs. Hydrocodone use can result in dangerous side effects, especially at excessive doses and/or when used along with other drugs.
Common side effects of Norco include:
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Sedation or drowsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Impaired cognition or physical movements
- Rashes and itching
If these side effects are intense, do not subside, or are otherwise worrisome, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Severe reactions to Norco can include:
- Slow, labored, or shallow breathing
- Stopped breathing
- Liver damage
- Low white blood cell count, increasing the risk of infection
- Low platelet count, increasing the risk of bruising and bleeding
- Inadequate hormone production by the adrenal glands
- Abuse, dependency, or addiction
Norco Withdrawal Symptoms
Those who use drugs that contain hydrocodone for extended periods can develop a dependency. If these people abruptly stop using hydrocodone, they can develop withdrawal symptoms.
Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms may include the following:
- Restlessness, irritability, anxiety
- Sleep disturbances
- Nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite
- Stomach cramps and diarrhea
- Muscle, back, and joint pain,
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Teary eyes, runny nose
- Chills, sweating, and goosebumps
When a person routinely uses an opioid-based drug such as Norco, they can develop a tolerance to that drug. Tolerance occurs due to the body’s propensity toward “repeated exposure=diminished response” regarding certain substances.
When a person’s body becomes accustomed to the presence of a substance, the person will need a larger or more frequent dose to feel the same effects as before. If a person with a high tolerance to an opioid stops taking them, they can lose their tolerance. If they later resume use at the same amount as before, they could experience a life-threatening overdose.
Norco Overdose Symptoms
Symptoms of hydrocodone and acetaminophen overdose may include the following:
- Slow, shallow, or stopped breathing
- Bluish-colored fingernails and lips (cyanosis)
- Confusion, dizziness, and lightheadedness
- Drowsiness or heavy sedation
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of consciousness, coma
- Cold, clammy skin
- Pinpoint pupils
- Muscle twitches or seizures
- Low blood pressure, weak pulse
- Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach or intestinal spasms
If you suspect someone is overdosing on Norco or another medication containing hydrocodone or any other opioids, please call 911 immediately.
The withdrawal symptoms related to short-acting opioids such as hydrocodone usually begin between 8-24 hours after the last use. Acute withdrawal symptoms can last between 4-10 days for short-acting opioids.
Early symptoms of opioid withdrawal can include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle aches
- Increased tearing and runny nose
- Sweating and chills
Late symptoms of opioid withdrawal may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramping
- Dilated pupils
Persons undergoing opioid withdrawal are especially susceptible to overdose because they may resume using opioids to stop the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. Relapse during the detox period is not uncommon and can be life-threatening.
Withdrawal from Norco is not usually dangerous, but people who become severely confused, distressed, or depressed may be at increased risk for intentional injury, death, or suicide. For this reason, persons attempting to recover from Norco abuse should seek treatment in a facility that offers a medically-supervised detox program.
Following detox, patients are urged to immediately enter an addiction treatment program on an inpatient, partial hospitalization, or outpatient basis.
Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction
Hydrocodone addiction is a potentially devastating condition that impacts not only the person suffering but also those who are closest to him or her. Fortunately, addiction can be effectively treated using an integrated, evidence-based approach that includes psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, psychoeducation, and group support.
Our expert medical and mental health staff demonstrate expertise and provide clients with the knowledge and tools they so desperately need to achieve sobriety and enjoy a long-lasting recovery.
You can reclaim the life you once had – the one which you deserve – and we can help! If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, please contact us immediately!