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Vicodin vs. Lortab vs. Norco for Pain

Just your average apothecary (pharmacist), feet firmly planted behind the pharmacy counter, whose mortar and pestle are hitched to a star.

Prescription pain meds

Prescription pain meds

Different Pain Medications

Note: This article has been completely updated to reflect the new dosages of Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco.

As a pharmacist, I probably receive more questions about pain than about any other symptom or condition. In this article, I want to provide a brief comparison of three useful and widely prescribed prescription medications for short-term or breakthrough pain: Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco.

One would think that practical information on these important medications would abound. It doesn't. There is, for example, no official "Lortab" or "Norco" website maintained by the manufacturers to help patients obtain answers to commonly asked questions. This is mostly due to the fact that all these products are available generically, and therefore the brand manufacturers receive very little revenue from them anymore.

In this article, I intend to try to fill in this information gap by providing relevant and accurate information about these three medications.

Below you will find the following information about these commonly prescribed prescription pain killers:

  • Ingredients: Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen
  • Comparison: How Do These Products Compare?
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Important Note: Part of the reason I am writing this article is that these medications, although very useful, have been involved in more drug-related fatalities than any other medications on the market. When used appropriately, these medications can be a valuable resource in regaining a reasonable quality of life for those who suffer from acute or chronic pain. But when abused or misused, they are very dangerous.


All three of these pain relievers contain the same two ingredients in varying amounts: hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

Hydrocodone is a synthetic narcotic pain reliever, similar to codeine. It was first discovered in the 1920s and has been used in the U.S. since 1943. Hydrocodone is a "controlled substance" and is regulated by the DEA. This means, among other things, that it has some potential for addiction and abuse. Patients should always carefully follow the advice and directions of their physician and not use more than prescribed. Hydrocodone is generally considered to be "less" potent and addictive than oxycodone (the ingredient found in Oxycontin).

Acetaminophen in varying amounts (also commonly known by the brand name Tylenol) is included to help treat pain in Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab. The inclusion of acetaminophen makes it especially important that daily dosages are NOT exceeded. Too much of this ingredient will create serious problems for your liver. Additionally, NEVER use any alcohol while taking these medications, as this makes the possibility of liver damage far more likely.

Why two ingredients? Together these two ingredients create a synergy in which, combined, they are more effective than either alone. Also, the combination deters the abuse of hydrocodone, as it cannot safely be taken at higher doses (due to the acetaminophen component).


So which is best? As mentioned above, they all contain the same two ingredients. The differences between them are the amounts and the ratio of hydrocodone to acetaminophen. Look at the chart below:

Comparison Chart

Note: All are also available as generic medications.

 Hydrocodone AmountAcetaminophen Amount




Vicodin ES



Vicodin HP



























Differing Strengths

As you can see from the above chart, all of these products are not created equal.

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Read More From Healthproadvice

  • Vicodin comes in three different varieties known as Vicodin, Vicodin ES and Vicodin HP. If a prescriber just writes "Vicodin," then they are referring to the 5mg/300mg strength.
  • Lortab comes in three strengths, and the strength must be indicated on the prescription.
  • Norco comes in two strengths, and, like Lortab, the strength must be written on the prescription to be valid.

Let's compare them in this way:

The Strongest

The product from the above chart with the highest amount of Hydrocodone and acetaminophen is Lortab.

The Weakest

Vicodin 5/300 has the lowest amount of hydrocodone and acetaminophen per tablet.

The Best

For serious pain, my opinion is that Norco 10mg/325mg is the best. Because it has the highest amount of hydrocodone and the lowest amount of acetaminophen, it will allow for a slightly higher total daily tablet count.

By far, the most frequently prescribed version of these products is Vicodin.

What about the cost? Another way to compare them is by cost. Typically Vicodin (the generic form) is the least expensive of the bunch. Why? Because it is prescribed so much that pharmacies buy it in bulk and thus get better pricing than on the other varieties. However, if you have insurance and pay the same amount for any generic, your copay should be the same for any of these.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How are Vicodin, Norco, or Lortab typically taken?

Answer: These products are usually taken as a single tablet every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. For severe pain, and only under the direction of your physician, 2 tablets are used in some instances. NEVER take more than prescribed.

Question: How often can these products be refilled?

Answer: Sometimes a doctor will allow 1 or more refills. However, be sure to have a talk with your doctor about how often he/she expects this prescription to be refilled. Just because you are allowed to take 1 or 2 tablets ever 4-6 hours as needed does NOT mean the doctor expects you will use that many every single day. Sometimes you will, but this must be discussed, especially if you find yourself needing them that often.

Question: What side effects do these medications have?

Answer: The most common side effects associated with these medications are nausea, vomiting, dizziness and drowsiness. Taking them with food will help reduce stomach upset. More serious side effects which require medical attention would be things like a rash or hives or difficulty breathing (very rare).

Question: Are these products addictive?

Answer: Many patients are concerned about addiction while using these medications. Continual daily use over a prolonged period will typically create some dependence, meaning a "weaning" process will be required. This is not usually needed for short-term use (meaning 1-2 weeks of treatment). "Addiction," however, tends to also vary by patient and personality, and many people use these products without creating long-term dependence.

Question: Do you have a question? Feel free to ask it below, and I will do my best to give you a helpful answer.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Donnadwilliams on April 08, 2019:

I am a chronic pain patient and the pharmacy recently changed my hydrocodone pills to a different manufacturer. The problem is they just don't seem to work as well. I'm wondering is they have less active ingredient. I have look online and can't seem to find info on the active ingredients in the different manufacturers. Is that something that is not available to patients? Do you have to be a pharmacist to have access to this time of information?

Punkylu on January 23, 2018:

I've been on Vicodin for 15 yrs. Do you think that is why I have a fatty liver. I have frybromyalgia

John Callender on January 10, 2018:

Hydrocodone.5/325 Is 29mg./ mL. Considered to be high on a blood draw test? 3

JJ on September 10, 2017:

Renee. When my daughter was a young teenager, she was prescribed Lortab after knee surgery. It had the same effect on her. It hyped her up and she would be wide open. When I was younger, they would knock me out. I just woke up long enough to take my meds and then sleep more. Now that I'm older, and I'm taking meds for chronic pain, they no longer make me sleepy. I sure wish they did. I would rather sleep at night instead of being wide awake.

MJ on August 26, 2017:

Taking Norco 5-325, since Thursday, it's now Sat. 7:30pm.

I am having itching on my head, neck, what can I do?

Or should I do?

Linda on December 02, 2016:

I just started taking generic for Norco 5-325 for pain and am sneezing a lot. Also runny nose and feeling like I'm getting a cold. What should I do?

Renee on November 20, 2016:

I don't know if you are still answering questions about these different forms of Hydrocodone, but here goes. I have been prescribed Hydrocodone in various forms several times on and off for many years. Since I was 12 when they were planning surgery on my knee. Without going into too much unnecessary information, suffice it to say I have never been one for medicines. From day one (when they first gave me a pain killer which was I believe Darvocet) it has always had a strange effect on me. I do not get dizzy, nauseous, or even sleepy on these narcotics. I actually "speed up" on these pills. It works the same for varying hours depending on the dosage. 6 years ago after abdominal surgery, I was prescribed Norco 10/325. Speeds me up for 6 hours at least. 16 years ago I was prescribed Lorcet after my C-Section (not sure what that dose would've been) but same thing. Speeds me up for 7-9 hours at a time. 2 years ago after tripping over a parking barrier in the hospital parking lot (yes I'm clumsy) I was prescribed 5/500. That wonderful (sarcasm) drug had the lovely effect of speeding me up for 10-12 hours! Likewise about a week later (2 years ago) my husband dropped a plow blade on my shoulder. The dr prescribed 7.5/500. Same issue, yes. Speeding for 6-8 hours, but with a slight change which made me decide to just "deal" with pain and only take my 5/500 as needed when it got completely unbearable. On the 7.5/500 I was absolutely HORRIBLE when the med started to wear off. I mean yelling at my kids for offering to make me a glass of tea, awful. (My kids are teens so it isn't too bad) but nevertheless, I could not stand myself on those. I'm usually a laid back type person and laugh at everything. So when I yelled at my kids for doing something nice, I couldn't take that. My question is, why would I have that reaction to the mid-range dose but not the others? I'm so confused.

Mister Word from Californiaaah on November 18, 2016:

You mention codeine. How do, say, #2's compare to hydrocodone for pain relief?

Donna on November 08, 2016:

I suffered a Tbi 4 years ago that resulted in occiptipal neuralgia I underwent surgery in 2013. I suffer in daily pain levels never less than 6 and several days at a time over 10. I have fought through staying off pain mess due to they another helped much so I didn't want to filter my body with them. I finally have gone to pain mgmt and willing to try them on my non function days. Perocets 7.5 they make me very nauseous and sometimes my pain intensifies nowctgey want me to try norco 7.5 I declined bc I remembered hydrocondone never helped at all. Should I have tried them? Any recommendations or advice?

stealth on March 25, 2016:

In a situation where the patient takes 4-6 Norco 10/325 daily 2-4 hours apart how long will the Norco provide quality pain relief before it melts down to be of no appreciable help - on its own, not when combined with others?

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on July 04, 2015:

The picture is an antique...that strength no longer exists

Lindsey on July 01, 2015:

What is is the picture posted for this article? 7.5/750. I don't see that strength on your chart.

karen on February 10, 2015:

What is

hydrocodon-apap 10-325 ? I was getting hydrocodone 10-325

Nancy on October 23, 2014:

What and how should I be taking in form of pain medication. I have osteopenia and my L5-S1 collapsed and had artificial disc surgery to avoid fusion. Good result, no pain meds needed. Then bursitis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, myoclonus (everywhere) and rotator cuff tears. Tumors in different areas removed as changing. Had thyroidectomy and hysterectomy. Fell and burst fracture to T12 with top shard 7 mm into spinal canal. tried to heal naturally given 10/325 norco 10 of them per day. Spine became unstable and 5 level fusion done. Pain slowly worsened (severe pain 7-10 daily basis) and rods were moving so had hardware removed and now have level fusion T9-L3. Now pain worsening and new pain in ribs, CT showed compression fractures above fusion with compromised disc (50%). Before last surgery I had been on Fentanyl 50mg and Norco and Valium. Since surgery DEA scaring all doctors. Surgeon released me to pain doctor (no clinics would take someone needing chronic pain meds, I was guided thru by my general doctor but told they will be taking me off). I am only on Norco 10/325 getting 6 per day. I do not feel anything taking 1 or 2 at a time. TENS no longer works, Injections no longer help. I have CNS problems (familial essential myoclonus) so may be why pain meds not helping with pain. Anti depressant/Anxiety meds give me crazy heart/eye side effects. Have Sjogrens so dryness is an issue. I cannot exercise or do anything basically without having 8-10 pain ensue and nothing to help. I'm at wits end. DEA said that chronic pain patients are to be protected which is a joke. My pharmacist said that thinking chronic pain patients are getting care. They are only seeing patients lucky enough to get a doctor to write! I wish people who judge me when I discuss issue could link into my body to feel what I deal with daily. Hardly any sleep last 3 years. I sometimes go days without any sleep. They want me to see psychiatrist when I already see therapist, because I want life to end. I say, take care of my pain and if I am still suicidal I will go to a psychiatrist! Is there any trick as to how to take? I think I have tried everything. I'm afraid if I tell new Pain doctor that 6 Norco a day don't touch pain that she will just stop altogether. I feel like I have been fighting a life or death fight for 3 1/2 years with pain. Now I have to concurrently fight a battle with pain pills every day. When to take, what to do, how to prevent being without at end of month. I know Norco does help some if taking round the clock because when I run out at end of month pain is unbearable. Help please with any advise.

help on October 21, 2014:

They should burn the current should have been off the shelves after reformulation...poison pill

Marcus on September 11, 2014:

I went to my chronic pain doc today, he told me that Norco was going to be discontinued. So what's going to be the replacement?

Assreeka Buttstinka on September 06, 2014:

Yeah, I need every box of fentanyl patches ya got! I also need dilaudid pills & the syrup! Thanks so much.


Ed Cali on August 12, 2014:

I had fusion in2000. Was taking 6 vicodin 10/500's a day. As pain and my weight diminished I have taken less. It's taken 14 years but I can get by with 1 1/2 - 2 a day. I prefer ice and tens plus P.T. I want to quit but am scared todeath of withdrawals. When would I be able to stop and not have withdrawals?

Mary C. on August 02, 2014:

Yes sir...thank you for your info and advice...I am a very healthy 61 yr. young female suffering from sciatica (just gad MRI..thre herniated discs in lower back area) ..I have been seeing a pain medicine doctor for approx. five months...unbearable pain...first prescribed Percocet 10/ 325 four times a help because this is a continuous pain and I hated the fact that I was taking so much Tylenol then he put me on vicuprofen ...helped but not on fentynal patch,50mcg one every three or four days plus he put me back on Percocet but "I" was the one that said I wanted the dose lowered..the patch works but I see him in three days and I want to go off the Percocet all together but I would like to have the patch strength increased or what would you suggest as as another breakthrough medicine...I am scared to even mention a change because he makes you feel like a druggie to begin with even with the results of my MRI...and at any time..even though I have never had a problem with abuse, running out and having to call the office...none of that. Can you please let me know what you would do? Thank you and God Bless

pat on July 25, 2014:

I have taken vic es for my back for years. The generic used to be white watson. Now the pharmacist said they don't make them anymore. The new ones are light orange w a v on one side and 36 05 on the back. They feel different. I get sick from them. They take my energy away and i get dizzy. Someone told me i shld change to norco, same strength. The old vics were perfect. Wht should i do? Im afraid to change the prescript to norco and have it be worse.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on July 21, 2014:


Could be a different filler. Hard to say for sure.

Kevin on July 18, 2014:

I had been taking lortabs for over 15 yrs with little to no side effects . I was recently switched to norco 10/325 and they make me itch pretty badly is there a different filler in the norco that could cause this .

Jimmy on June 19, 2014:

How do explain to my Dr I have been taking hydrocodone 7.5 3 times a day for the last five plus years for two crushed disc pinching a nerve in my lower back and the medicine has quit working and I need something stronger and my pain has worsened a lot

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on June 18, 2014:

Norco is not an anti-inflammatory.

Loren on June 09, 2014:

Does nor co have anti inflammatory properties

Holly on June 02, 2014:

Thank you for the info, I have severe RA and because of the drue drealers in my area , I suffer, no one writes these drug any longer due to the dea. It is sad because I have i had 1/15 of a. 30 day supply of my scrip left on a monthly basis so that proves there is no abuse on my part, I cry when I do run out because of this. The ones that really need it are turned down. Thank you for the information !!

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on June 02, 2014:

Hi Ann,

Norco and Vicodin have exactly the same 2 active ingredients. But it is possible that you had a reaction to some other inactive ingredient in the Norco.....or it is possible that the rash was due to something else (and the Norco was just a coincidence).

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on June 02, 2014:

Hi LisakH,

The best approach is always to talk to friends and family about doctors that they have had a good experience with. Also, if you have a primary care physician, talk to him/her about other options. It is understandable that your pain specialist wants to be conservative, but at the same time they need to listen to you and offer help and options. Best wishes.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on June 02, 2014:

Angela - Neuropathy can be quite painful, and the available options that would be right for you is something to discuss with your physician. Possibilities (though not necessarily recommended in your case) could be things like gabapentin, Lyrica or Cymbalta. Definitely talk more to your doctor or request to see a specialist.

Ann on May 29, 2014:

Had a tooth pulled out.. Couldn't take norco 5 mg.. Broke out in rash and madee sick... I ask him to give me vicodin ... Never had problem with that... He said it's exactly the same.. So they gave me Ty 3 ... Needless to say that doesn't work... I know there are some differences in norco in vicodin .. They told me to research it

sad Momma on May 18, 2014:

I just had surgery. In the hospital, I took Lortab and felt pretty good with it. Now discharged I'm taking Norco. It is horrible!! I hate it. Nausea, dizzy, shortness of breath......and I feel really weird too. I called my doc and she called in Lortab. The pharmacy just called and said it's the same thing and my insurance won't cover it. How terrible there is all this confusion. Now I will have to take OTC Tylenol. So much for pain management.

LisakH on May 18, 2014:

I was sent to a pain management specialist about 4 years ago because of an injury at work. I had multiple ruptured disc and a torn rotator cuff. I had been treated prior to this for sciatica. I have had many test and tried the other options to narcotic medications. I had the ACDF surgery. I was forced to return to work 8 days post op. The first specialist that had treated me for sciatica did several injections and prescribed 10mg methadone 3 times daily. I had to change doctors due to insurance. I asked them not to prescribe methadone because it made me a zombie, it also caused family problems. The doctor ordered vicodin 10/660(I remember it was 10 something), I have taken it for over 5 years. I asked my doctor if I could change to something else because put was not effectively helping with the pain. He told me he wants me off it because I'm addicted. I asked if he meant dependent or had developed a tolerance, he replied no, everyone on narcotic pain meds become addicted. I know that there's a difference and what it is. Sadly, he may not. I'm not a medical person but studied psychology for many years and worked with many people with sub abuse issues. I am still trying to deal with the sciatica issue and the disc above my fusion is ruptured. I don't want to get high, I've never had any questionable issues that might give reason to suspect a problem. Their office however ignored my retiring telling them that I was having issues with pain, feeling of something in my throat and other problems telling me that just because I'm saying I'm in pain the doctor won't give me more meds. I replied, I didn't ask for meds, I asked to find out what is wrong. After this had gone on for over a year they ordered an MRI. They found a 2 1/2 growth on my thyroid and another ruptured disc. I just need direction. Is there a way to make my medications more effective. They did order 15 mg. Ms contin twice daily after the MRI incident. This is a pain management specialist and him showing lack of knowledge regarding the difference between addiction and dependence is frightening. I know there is a big problem with these drugs right now, but there's also real pain patients who deserve to have some relief.

Angela on May 05, 2014:

I recently had colon cancer. During the chemo treatment I began to have symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. My oncologist is very wary of giving me pain meds. I'm already on Hydrocodone 10/325 for various other problems. The hydrocodone worked fine until the neuropathy. What should I request from my oncologist for the neuropathy around the cl0ck severe pain?

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on May 01, 2014:


Pain management after surgery can be challenging. Talk to your doctor. You may just need a lower dose.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on May 01, 2014:

That's basically the same thing - but you just have to be careful with the Tylenol. Too much is very dangerous.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on May 01, 2014:


Sorry for the delayed reply. Hoping you made it through the worst of it.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on May 01, 2014:


The key is SMALL decreases. Lower you daily dose by just 1/4 tablet - with your doctor's permission. Go slow.

frankie on April 30, 2014:

i recently had surgery & the dr prescribed oxycodone for pain well after about 2-3 days i noticed i was duing a lot of itching then i asked my husband to look at my back nd i had broken out n a rash n several spots so i called my dr nd he switched my pain med. sayin i was "probably" having an allergic reaction.well now hes got me on hydrocodone, and by all means its taking the pain away but giving me very intense headaches so im taking 500 mg over the counter acetometaphen for that and its also making me feel really WEIRD.almost like a scary weird. im gunna start taking half starting today nd c if that helps. bt idk?

katie on April 26, 2014:

I was on 10 / 650 hydrocodone for years they just stop making it so they put me on 10 / 325 and its just not working the 10 6 / 50 BlazBlue and for some odd reason I know they're the same so I've been taking a half a Tylenol with it is there anything that's exactly like the old 10 650

Araxie Calder on April 24, 2014:

I just had a tonsilectomy and I was prescribed 5mg of a generic Norco prescription. It does nothing to relieve the pain, and I have another week of this healing process. Can I safely take another tab?

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on April 13, 2014:

Bobbie Smith,

No. Gum disease is a side effect of some medications. But this is not a common problem with narcotics.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on April 13, 2014:


Ideally you should try as many non-narcotic options as possible. Ask about some NSAID options, or even tramadol. Try to limit the use of hydrocodone as much as possible.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on April 13, 2014:

Hi Joeydickens,

Fioricet is a non-narcotic combination often used for headaches. It contains acetaminophen, caffeine and butalbital. That last ingredient can sometimes cause some drowsiness, but not usually in this combination, due to the caffeine.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on April 13, 2014:

Hello Val,

Switching to the 10/325 probably had nothing to do with the pain. Lower back pain is often progressive and many things can cause a temporary increase in pain. I would look into other alternatives such as muscle relaxants or lidocaine patches. Talk to your MD. Hang in there.

Bobbi Smith on April 08, 2014:

A friend says her teeth are crumbling due to taking a narcotic painkiller. Is this a common reaction to the medication?

Marianna on April 08, 2014:

I am allergic to MOST pain medication. The only one that allowed my body free of pain and not have s medal post put into my neck is WATSON brand formula ONLY. 5/500. Never abused & taken for 17 years now at age 71. Recently I had hip replacement. Could not handle morphine well at all & not Norco of which my long term Dr. Agreed. They made this formula for people sensitive to codine & narcotics in general. If they take this exact formula not generic fillers I will be fine. If not I will have to have the medal post surgery that I have been able to avoid with WATSON ONLY BRAND. If people abuse, they should go to prison, not take it away from a person in my case.

Laurie on April 03, 2014:

I've been taking Hydrocodone 5/500 (Lortab) for chronic pelvic pain for the last year and it worked really well for me. Because of the current changes in the medications I've now been prescribed Vicodin 5/300. I find the Vicodine does not give me any relief with my pain and It also gives me a pounding headache. Any suggestions?

Joeydickens on March 25, 2014:

I had a question...When I was in the emergency room, I was prescribed Norco for my headaches, which, of course, "knocks me out", however, at a follow-up visit with my PCP, she prescribed Fioricet. I don't experience the drowsiness with the Fioricet like I did with the Norco (which is good). What is the difference between Fioricet and Norco (or its counterparts that you reference on your website?). Also, I realize you may not have an answer, but you know how pharmacies put those "stickers" on the bottles reminding you of side effects? The Fioricet bottle has one that indicates "May cause drowsiness ." Is there a reason why I don't experience that with the Fioricet? Just curious.

Val on March 22, 2014:

Hello, I had emergency abdominal surgery (open lap) 3 weeks ago, and was prescribed Norco 5/325 which I tolerated well. I normally don't take pain meds, as I believe naproxen always worked best for me. My physicians do not want me taking naproxen, this they've prescribed the norco. They recently switched me to the 10/325, and recommended I break in half, to minimize the acetomenophen. For the past two or three days since I switched, I have horrible lower back pain, that I didn't have prior. I woke up in excruciating pain, and ended up taking the non narcotic naproxen for relief. Is there any reason that the change from the 5/325 to 1/2 the 10/325, would cause so much pain? Any advice would be helpful! Thank you, and prayers for healing for you all!

Barbi on March 22, 2014:

Please help me! Post-terrible accident and surgery, I was Rx Lortab (10/500, 2/day)----it is 3 years now---I am "addicted" (at least dependent) and also a recovering alcoholic. When I cut down the Lortab, the urge to drink is horrible. Can you suggest an at-home method to taper down and eventually remain Rx-free from Lortab? I WOULD GREATLY appreeicate your help! (I'm female; in 70's - and very concerned)

friend on March 19, 2014:

If ya need help with pain email feel better guys

Joeydickens on March 16, 2014:

I have been experiencing real bad headaches lately. I also have a VP brain shunt to help drain excess spinal fluid from the brain, however, I'm beginning to think it is malfunctioning. Of course, when I went to the ER, they did a CAT scan, but according to the doctor, everything looked ok. Personally, I think they should have done an MRI and a shunt series (series of X-Rays to make sure the shunt and shunt tubing are ok or just aren't "kinked up" in some spot.)

The Dr. did prescribe Norco 10-325, which, of course, I got in the generic, however, once I go back to work, I won't be able to take it while on the job, for fear that it will make me want to sleep anyway and I won't be as alert.

Also, my PCP has already made a referral to a new neurologist, but I'm obviously concerned that they aren't going to see the problem that could be present. I feel that adult hydrocephalus patients aren't given the same level of care as pediatric patients...And that is coming from someone who had all 5 of his surgeries at a Children's Hospital. Joey

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on March 15, 2014:

Yes. Ask for Vistaril (hydroxyzine hydrochloride) instead.

Michael Massey on March 12, 2014:

I had surgery in 2008 and was prescribed Lortab 10.Within a few days I began to have constipation. Why isn't this problem talked about.The doctor took me off the Lortabs and every thing returned to normal.

Steven on March 02, 2014:

For everyone posting about injections. There are no valid studies that show injections provide any long term relief. Also steroids diminish your immune system. Injections are basically a scam so doctors can charge obscene amounts of money for an injection versus just an office visit. If you have a doctor that forces you to get injections in order to receive your pain meds, then it's time for a doctor change.

Steven on March 02, 2014:

cfd77 Absolutely you build a tolerance. I'm surprised you got relief at all in the second year of hydrocodone. Now days you have to search far and wide for a real, non-cowardly, pain management doctor. I drive 180 miles round trip to mine. I'm in no way recommending this or condoning this but I can take 10 - 10MG hydrocodones and get no relief and no side effects other than the damage to my liver from too much APAP. I don't do it at all. I'm just saying that my tolerance is such that it's possible. I take 30MG of oxycodone every 6 hours and I have a 50 Fentynal patch.

Steven on March 02, 2014:

My recommendation for long term, high tolerance pain control...Fentanyl Patches.

Steven on March 02, 2014:

I've been taking pain medicine on a daily basis since 1999. I feel I'm as qualified as anyone to comment. I agree that 10/325 Norco is the best choice of all the hydrocodones. I don't agree that APAP makes any difference whatsoever $6. In fact I think Acetaminophen should be taken off the market altogether. The risks far far outweigh what is virtually a non existent benefit. What I find interesting is that a lot of people think that one works better than the other when they are virtually identical. Even when the only difference is the manufacturer such as Mallinckrot and Watson. I've heard people say Watson is better which is completely in their head. a 10/500 from either manufacturer is the exact same. So the interesting thing to me is how the mind can be tricked into managing pain. Also I read an article here where a pharmacist said hydrocodone and oxycodone are about the same potency. Ridiculous. Anyone who takes pain medicine on a daily basis will tell you oxycodone is more effective. I'm to the point where hydrocodone is worthless. My tolerance is just too high. Also a pharmacist recommended long termers should consider MS Contin. Any amateur chemist knows that Morphine when taken orally is about as effective for moderate to severe pain as an aspirin.

Lisa on February 24, 2014:

I live in tennessee and i go to a pain clinic i was getting 7.5 loratab 120 a month and soma 90 a month, plus i get epidural steroid injections in the l 4 - 5 lumbar every 3 months, plus have bad knee had 3 surgeries on it, i see the regular dr. to get injection, and the nurse practitioner for meds, i came about 6 months ago and there was a new nurse practitioner the other one was gone, and first thing she did was started changing my medicine, she took me off soma and put me on oxycontin 15 mg. then a few visits after that she changed me from the loratab 7.5 to norco 10 mg. my pain was under control before she started all these changes, i have been going to this doctors officer for years they did random drug test i never failed one, because that was all i took and used as prescribed. I tried to talk to them about going back on my medicine i was on and they told me they were going to stop making loratab , i find that very hard to believe and can't find any information about it, and they said somas are just for people that like to do drugs they can give me muscle relaxers and i tried them maybe it is because i have been on the for yrs. and in combination with the loritab, i don't know that is one question i have for you and the other is are they going to stop making the loritab? i had a herniated disc and had to have surgery, scar tissue built up around it and when i move it presses the tissue in , i have been telling them for months the right side of my back is hurting and they finally did an mri on it, and the it almost bone on bone and when i move the scar tissue squeezes in on the nerve on my spine, just wanted you to know why i am taking the medicine, i would appreciate you help thank you.

cfd77 on February 23, 2014:

Hi! I am 4 weeks post op from ALIF at L5-S1. I've had discectomy done twice (2002 and 2012) The last one didn't help any so we did injections and that offered no relief so it was on to the fusion. So far I haven't reached that point where I'm feeling any relief. My surgeon acted like I should have felt relief immediately. I'm still having lower back, butt, and all the way down my leg into my ankle and foot pain . I was on hydrocodone 10-325 for 2 years. In June of last year, my Pain Management Doctor moved me to Percocet 10-325 every 6 hours because the hydro wasn't giving me the relief anymore. The first week after my fusion I was on the Percocet (every 4-6 hours) and when I called in for a refill they took me back down to the hydro 10 (every 4-6 hours). It obviously didn't work as well as the Percocet but I dealt with it. They kept me there for 2 weeks and this week they moved me down to hydro 7.5-325 every 6-8 hours! This has not worked for me. I'm usually really great about doing exactly what they say (because in PM you have to follow the rules… no exceptions) I have had no relief from my surgery and still have a constant pain of at least 6/10 with random spikes to 8/10. I plan on calling them in the morning but I'm really worried they are going to give me a hard time. I have taken more meds the last few days because I couldn't deal with the pain.* The other thing Ive noticed is my pain comes back at about the 3 hour mark instead of (what used to be) about the 5-5.5 hour mark. This has made it even more difficult considering they not only lowered my mgs, but also increased the time in between to 6-8 hours. Does the body build up a tolerance and the meds wear off sooner after time?* I've saw other people post on here and I feel the same way… I feel like I'm being judged and labeled a "pill head" by the doctors and anyone who knows. It's so frustrating because I need them just to get thru the day without breaking down in tears from my pain, and other people are taking them just for pleasure. These people make it all so much harder for those of us who truly live with daily pain. With all of that being said, here is my main question… Does the body build up a tolerance and the meds wear off sooner after time?

gapeach on February 22, 2014:

Hi, I have maant chronic medical conditions. I have been taking 7.5/500 Lortab for over a year. The medication seemed to be helping me to be able to get through the day, I had energy and moderate pain relief. I nust recently visited my primary doctor and was told that he could not prescribe the 7.500 Lortab anymore. This medication is know longer available. He prescribed the Norco 7.5/325 one tablet by mouth four tins over day. I do not have the same feeling and/0r the pain relief as before. I had some energy as well as pain relief and could have some quality of life. I just visits my GP again this week and was changed to oxycodone/acet (Percocet) 10-325 one tablet every 6-8 hours. Neither of these have helped with my pain and I have less energy. I suffer from depression/anxiety/PTSD and many more chronic condition. Can't you suggest a pain med that will be compatable to the Lortab? I can hardly tolerate the decreased energy and pain. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

BarbyS on February 18, 2014:

I have the problem of itching horribly (no hives) from any narcotic. I have had 3 back surgeries, all controlled by Oxycodone (don't remember the mg., and I took 2 Benedryl with each dose. Recently, my back pain has gotten bad and my pain doctor gave me Percocet 10 (Acetaminophin ?) and even 4 Benedryl wouldn't stop the terrible itching. Now years later in two weeks I am having foot surgery. The surgeon says in her pamphlet that her patients may be prescribed Norco 10/325. I know I will need Benedryl, but now I am so afraid that Benedryl is not working any more. Can you give me any words of advice?

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on February 09, 2014:

Hi Gary,

Yes, Abbvie did build a new website to help promote their overpriced version of hydrocodone/apap once they reformulated to 300mg. The question order is a Hubpage thing.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on February 09, 2014:

Next refill would be due 25 days from January 15. If you don't need 4 every day...then just wait until you have 3-4 days left before calling.

Gary Summers on February 05, 2014:

This article is WRONG! There is a website, from the maker. The problem with articles like this, is they may have been correct, when written, but Facts change as well as perspectives.

you should list last question first, so people know the most recent post to the page, rather than what some one said two years ago.

Today, 2/5/14, There is a website, , brom Abbvie, the maker.

jessw on January 27, 2014:

Ok I was prescribed 100 Norco 10-325 4 daily for pain and 2 refills so I filled it on Jan 15th my question is when Is the next date I can refill it on, of course I don't want to call my pharmacy and ask cause I have not gone through all them or anything I just don't want to call early and then feel stupid having them say I cannot refill them yet. Thanks

Jmcclan on December 27, 2013:

I've been taking hydrocodone 10-325 at up to 1 every 3 hours per rx often with little pain relief in addition to fentanyl 25 patch and 75 mg lyrica 3x day all per rx in addition to topomax, xarelto, trental. Have been trying to decrease hydrocodone frequency due to nasal stuffiness and chest heaviness esp. At night with some increased effort to breathe and increased heart rate. Went to ER on Sunday worried about PE but that and cardiac probs were ruled out. Could I have a little drug interaction or possibly a drug sensitivity occurring? Am trying to get in to see an allergist known for really checking things out but may take awhile to get in as I'd be a new pt. very exhausted and worried as poor pain relief on 3 month ankle ulcer and concern over only pain relief I have. Also have had mild itchiness with the hydrocodone since taking it.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on December 21, 2013:


What has happened is your pain has increased for some reason. The medicine is stronger, but due to the increased pain it does not feel as good. Keep in touch with your MD about pain options.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on December 21, 2013:


You will not have any reactions per se. The "stronger" component, the hydrocodone, is identical. The smaller amount of Tylenol just makes it safer on your liver.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on December 21, 2013:

Hi Tammy,

They are the same ingredients, with just slightly lower Tylenol content. However, it is possible that the way it gets absorbed into your body, the timing, the blood levels...might be a bit different and you would notice this. It should, however, be about the same for pain control.

ophambor on December 13, 2013:

I have been taking 7.5/325 vicodin for 8years now, my injuries have worsened and my Dr has changed my perception to 10/325. I am not feeling the same relief as I previously did with the 7.5/325. How and why is this possible?

clarisse3 on December 12, 2013:

hello, I have been trying to do research on this and found nothing, hopefully you can help. I have been taking Lorcet 10/650, 4 a day as prescibed for 10 years now and was informed yesterday at pharmacy that that the FDA banned them, which i knew was coming but didn't know when, and Jan 1 will be the new form 10/325. My question is, will i go into any withdrawls from this lower dose? The pharmacist says to take and extra 325mg tylenol to make up for it, but I am very scared that I will get sick from it, also will it come in generic form or be the Norco brancd which I have heard causes some reactions,also will the doc have to prescibe extra pills to manage the pain better, and will they be allowed to? any help will be appreciated, thank you

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on December 09, 2013:

Dear exhausted,

What you have written convinces me that the work God has for you on this earth is not done. That was, by far, the most thoughtful and meaningful response I have ever received in my on-line writing career. Please don't give up. If you can do what you just did for me, in spite of your pain, then you have a gift that should not be lost and one which this world desperately needs.

If working in medicine has taught me anything it has taught me this: If you have seen one doctor (or pharmacist, or nurse, etc) then you have seen one doctor. That's it. Everyone is different. There are no medical cookie-cutters out there. Every professional has unique insights and you shouldn't give up until you have seen them all.

Life, even a painful life, is a gift. Some of us forget that and we shamefully take for granted our pain-free existence. You have taught me that lesson afresh.

Please reach out to me via email, as I would love to learn more about your situation and encourage you to use your gift to bless others as you have blessed me.



Tammy on December 04, 2013:

I take loratab 10/500 my insurance company don't want to pay so they asked my dr to lower the 500 mg of apap so now I'm taking norco 10/325 what is the difference in them I kinda feel weird on the norco

exhausted on November 25, 2013:

After nearly three years of spinal problems that have "dominoed" from #1 down through the thoracic and into the lumbar, I've been on Norco 10/325 for two and a half of the three years. They're essentially tictacs at this point, except they don't freshen my breath.

I've gone from a restaurant manager to a Regional Account Manager with a major medical supply company, to a Regional Marketing Director with a nationwide home security company, to finally unemployed, unable to hold my head up. If I'm not in bed, I'm in excruciating pain. Even in bed, the pain is a 7/10.

I'm writing to thank you for being a support system for so many who, I guarantee, are treated much like I am- a simple drug addict with exaggerated "pain problems". It's hurtful, it's degrading, it's demeaning, it's embarrassing, it's shameful, and most importantly, it's incorrect. I'm not a drug addict. I'm addicted to feeling well enough to mow the yard or do the dishes or be able to stand up long enough to shower once a day.

I've decided to quit, though, and give in to the temptation to finally end the pain. I'm fighting for disability so that I can sign the back paycheck over to my fiancé and then I can't continue living in this much pain.

I could have just closed this webpage, which might have been smarter, but I want you to know that you're doing something amazing by just talking to people without judging them. You're not treating them like addicts, you're treating them like people in pain.

Thank you. To anyone else who might read this- continue fighting through it, please. Talk to people that care and can help. Don't quit like I am. Be stronger. Be better.

Good luck to all of you. I wish I could take all the pain with me, and I'm sorry I can't.

buddy H on November 23, 2013:

I'm gonna b going to me 2nd lower back surgery this jan, and my family doc prescribed me vic 10/625 and then me surgery doc gave me norco 10/325 and the norco made me feel sick and had weird dreams and also more sleepy.. hopefully u can help me and happy hollidays

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on November 17, 2013:


Come January, the FDA restriction of no more than 325mg of acetaminophen per dose will begin to be enforced. So Lortab 7.5/500 will have to be reformulated or be discontinued.

gc on November 11, 2013:

Are they taking lortab 7.5/500 off the market and do you know when. That's what I heard from my doctors nurse

MJ on November 10, 2013:

I have 3 bulging Disks in my lower back. This past week my Grandaddy passed away and we had lots if family come in from out of town so needless to say I have not had any down time and tried to help my parents get their house ready for all the company staying with them. Today everything has caught up with me and somehow I have taken 3 lortab 5 and a zanaflex 6 mg within 5 hrs. Now I'm just wondering if I can just sleep it off or should I be worried?

Bernadine1 on October 13, 2013:

I wanted to thank whoever did this page..I found the answer I needed on the 1st page n I only had to read it 1 Oh and I see you also answer pts. questions...2 thumbs up!

Kaye on September 10, 2013:

I have a hard time also taking Norco

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on June 10, 2013:

Hi Carol,

Hard to say. Could be you are sensitive to one of the inert ingredients in the Norco? Definitely stick with the Vicodin if possible.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on June 10, 2013:

me free,

Sorry about this situation. Often there is sadly no way of knowing for sure why such a reaction occurs. I always advise making sure you got the right pills, since that reaction was quite severe. The doctor may be willing to authorize a short term prescription to get you through until the next refill is due.

Carol W. on May 29, 2013:

If Vicodin and Norco have the same ingredients, then why does it seem like I have a harder time breathing when I take Norco?

me free on April 21, 2013:

I have been on (4) norco yellow 10/325 for approx 4 years. This month they gave me (4) norco WHITE 10/325 pills & I am sick as a dog. non-stop itching everywhere, have hives all over my face & neck, throwing up and they do NOT work for my pain, can someone tell me why? I know my medical records say no white 10/500 lortabs (but the blue ones I did not get sick from, I am allergic to something in the white 10/500). How can these white 10/325 norcos be making me so sick, break out in such hives & not help with my pain & what should I do about this? I already took them home from the pharmacy without looking at them, (my bad but this has never happened before). There is no way I can go a month without this medication or being this sick and broke out in hives and throwing up.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on March 25, 2013:

Arthritis Patient, Long term use of Vicodin - in recommended dosages - to otherwise healthy individuals has not been shown to be a problem with the kidneys. However, it should be used with caution in patients with compromised kidney function, patients using other medications or the elderly.

ArthritisPatient on March 20, 2013:

I was told by my PT that long term use of vicodin could cause kidney and other problems. Is this true?

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on March 19, 2013:

Hi bnewt, Sorry for the discomfort you are having. Watson did change the color on their tablet. This should not, however, cause any change in the medication itself. Your condition may just be temporarily worse. I'm not sure what you mean exactly by feeling "worse." If the pain is worse, please talk with your MD about your dosage. If you are having side effects, sometime these can be managed through various ways...feel free to explain in more detail. Best wishes.

bnewt on March 14, 2013:

hi ive been taking hydrocodone 10/500 ( the blue watsons) and the manufacturer has taken out the blue dye , so they pill is now white but same dosage and same look but the new pill is making me feel horrible so please research the dye in the old tab 10's for me to see the difference and do you think I should switch to Percocet cause these are killing me

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on March 06, 2013:

New Laws?

The first thing is to make sure that the new tablets are exactly the same formula as the old one. If the ONLY difference is the manufacturer, then it is should work virtually the same as the previous ones. Slight differences related to inactive ingredients is possible, but typically does not cause a problem. You can use an onlin Pill Identifyer program to make sure your pills are still 7.5/325.

New Laws? on March 06, 2013:

Sorry, forgot to post my pharmacy has switched manufactures they said, I have a mix now of pink ones, which I usually had been getting and white oblong ones. Is there that much of a difference in manufactures? The new ones seem to make me much more sleepy and heady mushy unfortunately, but didn't know if it was all in my head. Thanks for your help:)

New Laws? on March 06, 2013:

I have been going thru the posts and am discouraged as to what I read. I had a back fusion done a year and a half ago and have several other bulging disks further up in my neck, but do not want another surgery right now. I have been on Norco 7.5/325 (I take maybe 4 a day) since that time. I was shocked when I went into my doctors to get my monthly script to be treated like an addict, take a urine test and made sign a form with all the rules (which was fine, since I take them as prescribed) but still, a person who truly suffers from moderate daily pain, its very discouraging. I'm not sure what these changes will be, but as a sufferer from back/neck pain, I'm not happy:( I wish all those who are in the same situation as me luck and prayers.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on February 18, 2013:

T. marie,

You say that you had this procedure a few days ago. I'm sure you are aware that 6-8 weeks of recovery is typical, and what you are experiencing may be very normal (though NOT pleasant). Please stay in regular contact with your physcian, keep a pain journal of some sort, and work with him/her to optomize your medication program.

10 per day is a pretty hefty dose, and since it is more than you were prescribed, you will need to really discuss pain control with your MD. Ideally, you would call your doctor before increasing the dose of your meds on your own.

Let your MD know where your pain is at (typically on a scale of 1 to 10). Ask where it "should" be by now. But also understand that differences between patient experiences is to be expected.

Be especially aware that you are taking a prescription medicine with acetaminophen. Too much of this can be very dangerous to your liver. Be sure not to also take any other products that might also have acetaminophen.

Please talk this over with your MD. Hang in there and stick with the recommended dosages. Let us know how things turn out.

Tmarie on February 17, 2013:

Or should I just ask for loratab in lesser dosage

T.marie on February 17, 2013:

Hi there, I've recently just had stomach surgery a few days ago, I had 5fibroids removed off my uterine Wall

Ive finally made it home but I still am in a lot of pain still feeling day and night cramping burning soreness and achy tenderness just still feeling very uncomfortable and haven't felt completely pain free not even in the hospital for the days I was there which I kinda expected that. I was sent home with norco 5 they didn't work so my doc called in norco7.5 1tab every 6 hrs which I upped to 2 every4 cause of the pain my issue is I only have 4 left and I'm still hurting I'm alternating between ibprophren. I have four V's. Left is it common for people to take 50 in 5 days and. When should I call my doctor and request more because after these four our gone im not sure what to do how many should a woman go through in a week right after having uterine surgery

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on February 17, 2013:

Hello Karly,

First, I am very sorry for the pain you are going through. I know that doesn't make the pain go away, but you should know that someone else (and I'm sure there are many others) sympathize with this situation you find yourself in.

Your doctor is wise to consider moving you toward an effective dose of long-acting morphine and decrease the amount of Vicodin (which contains tylenol). However, the morphine dose (as you suggest) may need to be adjusted upwards. This has to be done slowly. By now, maybe that step has been taken. I will also suggest (if you don't already) that you keep a pain journal. Make it neat and clear. I like the one from the American Pain Foundation. You will find the chart on the last couple pages of this PDF: What you need to do is have a clear idea of the PLAN to manage your pain. When will dose increases be discussed, when will a specialist be consulted, when should a pain clinic get involved, what happens when you have a very bad day? All these should be dealt with. But be sure to keep good records on your part - stick with the schedule you have been prescribed - stick with 1 pharmacy always - and communicate well. Ideally MS Contin should move toward "twice daily" dosing. Flexeril as needed up to 3 times daily (but ONLY as instructed by your MD). Let us know how things are going. Shoot me an email if you like.

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on January 26, 2013:

Hi Renee,

Well, that is a hard question to answer. Presumably you have been treated in the past? I would suggest trying to get a recommendation from your previous doctor. However, I truly believe your health will be best served in trying to find a doctor you like...rather than simply one who will prescribe this or that. You want a good doctor. One who will agree with you when you are right. But also one who will disagree when you are wrong. Find him/her. The rest will take care of itself. Best wishes.

karly ball on January 25, 2013:

Hi, iv read a lot of your replies to all that needed your help, you sound very kind and smart, I had back surgey almost 3yrs ago, and they took half a disc out, and fused l4 and l5, after surgey in physical theropy reinjured another disc, herniated the disc above, they wanted to do more surgey, but it was so painfull and so expensive, I can't do it again, im 33yrs old and have arthritis of the spine, also siatica,, sorry about thevspelling,, a couple other problems in the lower lumbar area, just got another mri last week because the pain is still so very bad, I have been on soma, and vicodin for almost five yrs, last month my Dr, changed my medz to mscotin 15mg, 1 every 8hhours, and flerixil 1omg, w a lower vicodin, 500, 350 I think, but only 2 a day, for 30 days,, im seeing him in a week, the new medz don't seem to help, I take more of the vics to help me threw work, I lift a lot, 7days aweek, the only good change is in the mornings I wake up feeling better, not in agony, but once I start my day, the pain starts,, I know my doctor whom iv been with for over ten yrs is trying to help my best intersts, but I think I need something stronger,, what do you think I should do,, tell him, or try another month of the new meds,, maybe when he reads my new mri he will know the pain im feeling, his wife had the same surgery, he said she has good days and bad,, but im like bad everyday,, please help me, shouldbi tell him I need something stronger, or just give it alittle more time, but I don't like how I feel on the mscotin, I think I need 30mg to try, maybe I wouldn't have to take the vics so often, cause I already run out, saved a few for real bad days,, please help when you can, thank you,, you are a really great person taking ur time out to help others in pain, truly k, b..

Renee on January 15, 2013:

There are no doctors in my area that will prescribe any of these medicines. How do I find out who will prescribe it? I could call around different pain doctors and ask if they do, but then I am afraid they may think I am a druggie and then won't be able to get any. What do u recommend?

Thank you

Jason Poquette (author) from Whitinsville, MA on January 06, 2013:

Hi Jim,

If the doctor writes Norco 5/325 it should be fine. This is a pretty common strength, and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding it in stock at your pharmacy. Best wishes.

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