Each Vicroprofen pill contains two active ingredients: hydrocodone and ibuprofen. When these two elements work together, they can bring about a great deal of pain relief. But the pills are designed to deliver that relief for a very short period of time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors shouldn’t provide Vicoprofen pills for longer than 10 days. That’s because each dose is hard for the body to process, and people who keep taking the pills for longer periods of time tend to face very serious side effects.
Addiction is among those side effects. Each little Vicoprofen pill contains an element that tends to spark chemical changes inside the brain ,and when those changes are in place, it can be difficult to control how much of the drug you might take, and how often you might be tempted to take that drug.
It’s the hydrocodone element inside of Vicoprofen that concerns people who work in the addiction field. That’s because this ingredient can be habit-forming, say writers at Drugs.com, even if you’re taking the pills per the instructions of your doctor.
Hydrocodone is an opioid medication, and that makes it one of the most addictive substances available in the marketplace today. The drugs in this class have a number of different receptors they can attach to throughout the human body. Some receptors are in the brain, some are in the spinal cord, and some are in the intestines, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. All of these receptors make hydrocodone intensely powerful. With one little dose, a user can have a whole-body experience.
And often, that experience is very pleasurable. Opioids like hydrocodone force the cells to pump out huge amounts of a chemical known as dopamine. Typically, this chemical is produced in small amounts in the brain, and that production only occurs when something pleasant is happening. With hydrocodone, that process is hijacked, so people feel a wave of pleasure, even though nothing intrinsically rewarding is happening.
The body isn’t designed to endure this kind of pleasure on a constant basis, and when it’s forced to do so due to drugs, cells can burn out or malfunction. Receptors for pleasure can turn inward or turn off altogether, and the body might deplete the stores of raw materials it needs in order to push through a signal of pleasure.
All of this chemistry can have an emotional impact. Without the natural ability to produce a signal of pleasure, the brain can go into episodes of deep and profound depression that seem permanent, unless more drugs are provided.
In fact, the brain cells might seem as though they simply cannot function unless more drugs are provided.
When the damage is so extreme that it can force you do choose drugs even when your conscious mind no longer wants to do so, an addiction has taken hold. And that’s a process that could take place with any opioid medication. But research suggests that medications with hydrocodone are a little more likely to cause addiction than other medications that have different opioid ingredients.
For example, in a study in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, researchers provided several different kinds of pain medications to test subjects, and they measured how often these people abused the medications they were given. While only 2.7 percent of these people abused tramadol medications, 4.9 percent of these people abused hydrocodone. Researchers say that this medication is just too good at producing euphoria, and as a result, it’s too easy to abuse it.
Addictions like this tend to be cumulative, meaning that someone who has an addiction can develop a tolerance to the drugs he/she has been taking. That could mean that someone with a Vicoprofen addiction might attempt to stay ahead of the tolerance by:
- Taking bigger doses of the drug
- Taking the drug more often
- Chewing the drug to make it work faster
- Snorting the drug to provide an instant high
Sometimes, though, all of these steps aren’t sufficient. When that happens, people might be forced to choose a stronger drug. According to a USA Today analysis, many people who start by taking prescription painkillers move on to taking heroin. The drug works in the same manner, but it’s a little stronger, so addicts need to take less. And, in many neighborhoods, heroin is cheaper, the reporters suggest. Multiple doses of heroin can cost $60-$100, while one dose of a painkiller on the illicit market can cost twice or three times that much.
While the hydrocodone element of Vicoprofen can certainly be dangerous, it’s not the only cause for concern. Each little pill also contains ibuprofen, and while this medication is widely available and sometimes even considered benign, it’s not designed to be taken at high doses for long periods of time. And that’s just the sort of pill-taking pattern people with addictions might follow.
Ibuprofen is processed by the liver, and while the body is certainly capable of handling standard doses of this painkiller, high doses can put a huge strain on this very vital organ. It can begin to malfunction, and that could make overall digestion difficult. In some cases, the liver can be damaged so severely that it won’t even function at all.
Ibuprofen has been linked to other organ problems, too. For example, a study of 84,000 heart attack survivors found that those who started taking an NSAID like ibuprofen were more likely to have a second heart attack than those who didn’t take these medications, according to Harvard Medical School.
Studies like this are a little alarming, as they seem to suggest that there’s really no safe daily dose of ibuprofen to take. If addicted people are taking massive doses, then, they could really be putting their bodies in a great deal of danger.
A Vicoprofen Abuse Profile
People who are in pain may choose to take Vicoprofen for a short period of time, even if the drug holds some dangers, so they can get relief from their discomfort. That might be a wise choice for you, especially if you have an underlying mental health condition that’s exacerbated by pain. By taking medications and getting relief, you could make your life a little easier and your discomfort less severe.
But people who tend to abuse hydrocodone products follow a fairly predictable set of steps, experts say, and that means you should be on the lookout for these behaviors in yourself, or in someone that you love.
For example, research from the Washington University School of Medicine and Nova Southeastern University in Miami suggests that about one-fourth of hydrocodone abusers crush the tablets and inhale the powder. Doing so can bring you a faster rush, as the powder can link to receptors inside the nasal passages and bring a pop of a high in mere minutes. But crushing pills like this is far from therapeutic. If you’ve been tempted to do this, it seems to suggest that you’re no longer using the medication for pain. And that could be a sign that you need to get help.
Similarly, the Drug Enforcement Administration suggests that people who abuse hydrocodone products often have to go through a series of ill-advised and/or illegal steps to get the drugs they want, including:
- Shopping for doctors willing to write prescriptions
- Altering prescriptions
- Calling in bogus prescriptions
- Stealing medications
If you’ve taken any of these steps, it could be a sign that you need help to recover from an addiction. Getting that help could change your life in ways you probably never thought possible.
Why Enter Rehab?
Vicoprofen addictions begin with changes in brain chemistry, and that means they’re hard to overcome with sheer force of will. As much as you might want to leave the pills behind, your brain cells may continue to call out for the drugs. A rehab program can give you back the sense of control that you’ve been missing.
In a structured rehab program, you have the opportunity to really examine why the addiction took hold. You might have the opportunity to work on an underlying mental health condition that leaves you open to self-medication, or you might work on self-soothing techniques, so you won’t be tempted to lean on drugs when times are tough.
Your work isn’t painful or demoralizing in rehab. Instead, it’s a time in which you have the opportunity to step back from the stresses of daily life and really focus on you and your long-term goals. You’ll be surrounded by a team of experts who all want you to get better. And everyone you meet in rehab can understand your concerns intimately, because they’re working through issues of their own.
With structured rehab, you’ll develop skills and support, and you’ll learn how to build your own program, so you can stay sober even when rehab is over. If you’d like to get started on that process right now, call the toll-free number at the top of the page. We can help you to find a program that works well for you. Just call, and our admissions coordinators can tell you more.
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.
Reviewed by: Kim Chin and Marian Newton