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Headache & Migraine Medications

Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone


Type of medication: Prescription, narcotic analgesic


  • overdoses of acetaminophen are very toxic and dangerous
  • daily use is highly likely to cause to rebound headaches, and lead to chronic daily headaches
  • daily use over extended periods has been show to cause liver damage
  • hydrocodone is habit forming and should only be used under close supervision if you have an alcohol or drug addiction.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

  • FDA pregnancy category C. This means that its effects on an unborn baby are not known. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant.
  • This drug combination passes into breast milk and may harm a nursing infant. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Other medical conditions:
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of narcotic analgesic and acetaminophen combinations. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Alcohol and/or other drug abuse, or history of
  • Brain disease or head injury
  • Colitis
  • Convulsions (seizures), history of
  • Emotional problems or mental illness
  • Emphysema, asthma, or other chronic lung disease
  • Hepatitis or other liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Underactive thyroid—The chance of serious side effects may be increased
  • Enlarged prostate or problems with urination
  • Gallbladder disease or gallstones—Some of the effects of narcotic analgesics may be especially serious in people with these medical problems
  • Heart disease—Caffeine (present in some of these combination medicines) can make some kinds of heart disease worse

Other medications:
Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, both prescription and over-the-counter.

  • Before taking this medication, be especially sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs:
    • a barbiturate such as amobarbital (Amytal), secobarbital (Seconal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton)
    • carbamazepine (Tegretol)
    • phenytoin (Dilantin)
    • isoniazid (Nydrazid)
    • rifampin (Rifadin)
    • sulfinpyrazone (Anturane)
  • Do not take acetaminophen and hydrocodone if you have taken an MAOI)such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. Dangerous side effects could result.
  • The most serious interactions affecting acetaminophen and hydrocodone are with those drugs that also cause sedation. Dangerous sedation may occur if acetaminophen and hydrocodone is taken with antihistamines; antidepressants; anticholinergics such as belladonna (Donnatal), clidinium (Quarzan), dicyclomine (Bentyl, Antispas), hyoscyamine (Levsin, Anaspaz), ipratropium (Atrovent), propantheline (Pro-Banthine), and scopolamine (Transderm-Scop); phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), fluphenazine (Prolixin), thioridazine (Mellaril), and prochlorperazine (Compazine); and tranquilizers and sedatives. Do not take any of these drugs with acetaminophen/hydrocodone without your doctor's approval.
  • do not take any of the following medicines together with acetaminophen for more than a few days, unless under doctor's supervision: Aspirin, Diclofenac (Voltaren), Diflunisal (Dolobid), Etodolac (Lodine), Fenoprofen (Nalfon), Floctafenine (Idarac), Flurbiprofen (Ansaid), Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Indomethacin (Indocin), Ketoprofen (Orudis), Ketorolac (Toradol), Meclofenamate (Meclomen), Nabumetone (Relafen), Naproxen (Naprosyn), Oxaprozin (Daypro), Piroxicam (Feldene) 

  • The drugs listed above may reduce the effects of acetaminophen and/or increase the risk of damage to your liver. You may require a lower dose or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol taken during therapy with acetaminophen can be very damaging to your liver.
  • Be aware of the acetaminophen content of other over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
  • Acetaminophen may cause false urine glucose test results. Talk to your doctor if you are diabetic and you notice changes in your glucose levels while you are taking acetaminophen.

Potential side effects:

  • Stop taking acetaminophen and hydrocodone and seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following:
    • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives)
    • slow, weak breathing
    • seizures
    • cold, clammy skin
    • severe weakness or dizziness
    • unconsciousness
    • yellowing of the skin or eyes
    • unusual fatigue, bleeding, or bruising
  • Continue to take acetaminophen and hydrocodone and talk to your doctor if you experience any of these less serious side effects:
    • constipation
    • dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite
    • dizziness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
    • muscle twitches
    • sweating
    • itching
    • decreased urination
    • decreased sex drive

Brand Names:


  • Allay
  • Anexsia
  • Anolor DH
  • Bancap-HC
  • Co-Gesic
  • Dolacet
  • Dolagesic
  • Duocet
  • Hycomed
  • Hydrocet
  • Hydrogesic
  • Lorcet
  • Lortab
  • Margesic-H
  • Oncet
  • Panacet
  • Panlor
  • Polygesic
  • Stagesic
  • T-Gesic
  • Ugesic
  • Vanacet
  • Vendone
  • Vicodin
  • Vicodin ES
  • Zydone


More information:

  • Arghhhhh! Rebound Headaches!
    You have a headache. Taking medications is one of the logical things to do. There is something to consider before you take that medication though -- the dreaded rebound headaches. They're caused by taking medications too often. Sometimes just taking a drug for two or three consecutive days can cause rebound. 

Material on this page is for informational purposes only,
and should not be construed as medical advice.
Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications.


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