Norco, which is made up of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, is an opioid medication prescribed for severe to moderate pain. The acetaminophen in the drug isn't a strong pain reliever; however, it does enhance hydrocodone's effects.

Before Using Norco

Norco is contraindicated in people who are allergic to drugs containing hydrocodone or acetaminophen. There are also other factors that your doctor should know about in order to determine whether Norco is safe for you to take. These include:

  • Respiratory Problems (asthma, sleep apnea, etc.)
  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Hypotension
  • Renal or Liver Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Spinal Problems
  • Psychological Conditions
  • Neurologic Disorders
  • Adrenal Gland Disease
  • Previous or Current Alcohol/Drug Addiction

Norco should never be shared and should only be taken by the patient it was ordered for. This is because the hydrocodone in the medication can lead to addiction, particularly when used by someone with previous drug or alcohol abuse. It's recommended that the medication is kept in a safe place where nobody can grab it. Also, make sure you keep count of how many tablets you use so that you are aware if anyone else takes the medication.

Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to have a baby, as Norco can cause respiratory issues and signs of addiction in newborns. Norco is also not recommended while breastfeeding because it can be transferred through breast milk.

Dosage and Administration

Norco should always be taken as directed by your doctor. Taking the drug for longer periods or in bigger quantities can lead to serious health issues or an overdose. Make sure that you are familiar with the strength of Norco prescribed in case you're accidentally given a different dosage. If the dosage you are currently taken is not effective for pain relief let your doctor know.

Hydrocodone and acetaminophen may cause constipation; however, drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day and plenty of fiber-rich foods will help prevent this from occurring. Norco can also cause withdrawal symptoms, so it is not recommended to stop the medication suddenly. Ask your doctor which is the best way to stop using the drug.

What if I forget a dose?

If you are using Norco on a regular basis and miss a dose, take it as soon as you realize it. However, if it is close enough to your next dose you can wait until then. Don't take an additional dose to make up for the missed one.


Get immediate medical help if you suspect you may have overdosed. A Norco overdose can cause serious health issues and even lead to death.

Early signs of overdose include; decreased appetite, vomiting, nausea, gastrointestinal pain, sweatiness, disorientation, and weakness. Subsequent symptoms such as a painful stomach, darker urine, and yellowing of the eyes and skin may also be experienced. Other signs of Norco overdose include; sleepiness, constricted pupils, cold skin, blue lip color, decreased heart rate, slow breathing, and coma.

Things to Avoid While Using Norco

Do not drive a car or operate machinery while taking Norco, as your thinking abilities may be impaired. Avoid medications (both prescription and over the counter) that contain acetaminophen without first consulting your regular doctor. Alcohol consumption should also be avoided while using hydrocodone and acetaminophen because it can cause liver damage.

Side Effects of Norco

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following allergic reactions after taking Norco: rash, welts, trouble breathing, and swollen face, mouth, or throat.

Notify your doctor if you develop serious side effects such as;

  • Slow Respiratory Rate/Heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Abnormal Behavior
  • Light-headedness
  • Urination Issues
  • Seizures
  • Yellow Skin or Eye Color
  • Itchiness
  • Gastrointestinal Issues (nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, etc.)

Less severe side effects of Norco include;

  • Anxiety and Mood Swings
  • Lethargy, blurry vision, dizziness, and headache.
  • Mouth Dryness
  • Constipation, nausea, and painful stomach.

There are other possible side effects of Norco which are not listed. Talk to your doctor if you experience any other symptoms.

Drug Interactions

Norco should not be taken with narcotic drugs, tranquilizers, sedatives, and other medications that make your breathing slower or cause sleepiness.

Notify your doctor of all the medications you take including vitamins, herbal products, and supplements. It is especially important to tell your doctor if you use:

  • Antidepressants (doxepin, nortriptyline, Vanatrip, etc.)
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (tranylcypromine, Emsam, rasagiline, Marplan, etc.)
  • Bronchodilators (tiotropium, Atrovent, and more)
  • Genitourinary Drugs (flavoxate Detrol, solifenacin, etc.)
  • Gastrointestinal Drugs (hyoscyamine, Bentyl, propantheline, etc.)
  • Others - Dramamine, atropine, Pamine, scopolamine, Cogentin, glycopyrrolate, and Cantil.