Vicoprofen is a compound drug used in the treatment of acute pain brought on by conditions such as arthritis, menstruation and other issues. The active drugs that make up the compound are hydrocodone and ibuprofen.
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that belongs to the analgesic class. Analgesics are pain relievers. Hydrocodone is an opioid drug that is also a pain reliever. It is a partially synthetic drug based on codeine. It was first manufactured in 1920 in Germany. It achieved great popularity in the USA. It is not so popular elsewhere. At one time, 99% of hydrocodone manufactured was sold in the US.
In the US, Vicoprofen is a Schedule II drug. It warrants a Schedule II rating because it contains hydrocodone. This classification means that Vicoprofen is considered a high risk drug in terms of likelihood for it to be abused, or likelihood for patients to become addicted to it. Hydrocodone was a Schedule III drug prior to October 2014. However, the high levels of abuse have led to it being reclassified. Reclassification will make it more difficult for people to get prescriptions and prescription refills.
The extent of the abuse can be gauged by the sheer volume of hydrocodone compounds prescribed every year. IMS Health reports that drugs containing hydrocodone were the most prescribed drugs in the US in 2013, when over 135 million prescriptions were issued. This is a huge volume of drugs bearing a narcotic component, so it is hardly surprising that abuse and addiction to prescription medicines containing hydrocodone are rampant. It can be seen that even if a small percentage of the quantity dispensed is abused, it still adds up to a serious problem.
The reclassification of the drug as a Schedule II drug means that only doctors can prescribe the drug. Previously, doctor’s assistants or suitably qualified nursing staff could prescribe it. Apart from limiting prescribing powers to doctors, the new scheduling means automatic refills are no longer issued. Finally, prescriptions cannot be renewed over the phone or by fax, and patients must present in the pharmacy to receive their prescriptions.
The street names for Vicoprofen are coined from the official name, or from the active ingredients. Examples include Vikes, Viko and Hydro. They can be used interchangeably with other compound drugs that include hydrocodone.
The drug is designed for the treatment of acute pain, and should not be used over prolonged time periods. The maximum period that the drug is normally prescribed for is 10 days.
The drug is normally administered in tablet form, and taken orally. The normal recommendation is to take one tablet every four to six hours. The tablets are normally washed down with water. They may be taken with food or without it.
Some people feel nauseous after taking Vicoprofen. The nauseous sensation can often be reduced or eliminated completely by taking the medication with food. It is recommended that people who take Vicoprofen should avoid lying down for at least 10 minutes after taking the drug. Nausea may persist. Those who experience it may find relief by resting for one to two hours, trying to keep head movements to a minimum
Abuse and addiction
Ibuprofen is associated with gastro-intestinal problems when taken for prolonged periods or in excessive quantities. This can lead to bleeding in the gastro-intestinal tract, and that can be fatal. Ibuprofen can also cause damage to the liver and the kidneys.
When patients are prescribed ibuprofen for prolonged periods, doctors will monitor for possible adverse affects. However, when people are abusing compound drugs like Vicoprofen, this level of close scrutiny is lost.
Vicoprofen is abused because of its narcotic properties, contained in the hydrocodone portion of the drug. It is not as widely abused as some of the other hydrocodone compounds, especially those containing acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen.
Symptoms of abuse
The symptoms associated with opioid abuse are many and varied. They tend to grow in severity over time, as the user needs to increase the dosage to achieve the same high.
The first noticeable signs in many cases are when users start exhibiting sudden mood swings. They can quickly go from being euphoric to angry or depressed and then back to euphoric again. Users may experience a rise in general levels of anxiety, or be prone to anxiety attacks.
The only successful treatment involves getting a user off Vicoprofen and all other narcotic drugs completely. This may mean suddenly cutting out the narcotic, or using a gradual approach, where the dosage is reduced over time.
Stopping suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Sweating and fever
- Muscular spasms
- Panic attacks
It is best to do this only under medical supervision, preferably under those with experience in drug addiction treatment. Once detoxification has been achieved, users should receive ongoing treatment that includes addiction counseling. Professional intervention can greatly improve the chances of an addict remaining clean.