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Vicodin is one of the brand names for a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The acetaminophen (Tylenol) is added to boost the effectiveness of the hydrocodone.
• Vicodin contains 5 mg hydrocodone and 500 mg acetaminophen.
• Vicodin ES contains 7.5 mg. of hydrocodone and 750 mg of acetaminophen.
• Vicodin HP contains 10 mg of hydrocodone and 660 mg of acetaminophen.
The generic hydrocodone/acetaminophen (also labeled hydrocodone apap) should also have two numbers following the drug name that tells you the dosage – for example, 5/500 or 500/5. The lower number is always the dosage of hydrocodone and the larger number is the dosage of acetaminophen. The higher the hydrocodone dosage, the stronger the medication is.
Hydrocodone bitartrate is just the full scientific name for hydrocodone so the information above applies to it as well.
In the U.S., hydrocodone is not available by itself. It is most commonly combined with acetaminophen, but is available with either ibuprofen or aspirin as well. The same guidelines apply – the lower number is the amount of hyrocodone and the higher number is the amount of ibuprofen or aspirin.
What is the mechanism by which hydrocodone is made more effective with the addition of acetaminophen?
I also do not understand why it (hydrocodone) needs to be combined with another substance? Why can't patients obtain it by itself, and add their own aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen? I tried to get this by itself for an ailing parent, and as I recall, it could be obtained like this from a compounding pharmacist, but Medicare/supplementary insurance would not then cover it, as it would as Vicodin. Seems like a scam to me, and a person could certainly be trashing their liver/kidneys with all of that acetaminophen.