(for veterinary information only)
BRAND NAME: HYCODAN, HYDROMET, TUSSIGON OR MYCODONE
Despite their reputation for recreational euphoria, narcotics have numerous therapeutic effects which are of interest in the clinical setting. Such effects include: pain relief, anti-diarrheal effects, cardiovascular effects, and cough suppression. Hydrocodone is a narcotic developed to accentuate its cough suppression effect. It is somewhat more effective than codeine (another famous narcotic used in cough suppression) but possibly not as widely used in human medicine.
Hydrocodone suppresses cough directly by acting on the cough centers of the brain but it is also helpful in actually drying the respiratory secretions so that there is less material to cough up.This secretion drying effect is further enhanced by the addition of homatropine, a second compound added to most hydrocodone products. While homatropine may enhance the drying of secretions, it is mainly added to reduce abuse potential of the hydrocodone. In the event of gross over-consumption, the homatropine will lead to unpleasant side effects thus limiting the amount of hydrocodone that can be consumed.
HOW THIS MEDICATION IS USED
Some typical situations in which cough suppression with hydrocodone would be helpful include:
These are all conditions where minor secretions or actual tissues are pressing on the lung's airways and stimulating cough. Coughs that benefit from suppression are typically dry and hacking, often described as sounding as though something is stuck in the throat.
In dogs, a dose of hydrocodone is believed to last approximately 6 to 12 hours. Hydrocodone is typically dosed four times a day or less, as needed.
The most common side effects of hydrocodone use include:
Notify your veterinarian if any of these side effects appear to be causing patient discomfort but they are generally not considered serious.
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER DRUGS
Serious side effects have been reported involving interactions between Anipryl/L-Deprenyl (treatment for "senility" in dogs as well as for in dogs) and mepiridine (more commonly known as demerol®, another narcotic). Based on this, the recommendation to avoid the use of Anipryl/L-deprenyl with any narcotics has been proposed; a different cough suppressant should be sought in such cases. Similarly, hydrocodone should not be combined with amitraz containing tick control products.
Mixing hydrocodone with other tranquilizers or with antihistamines increases the sedative side effects. (Note, there is a human product, brand name Tussionex®, which combines hydrocodone and chlorpheniramine which is an antihistamine. Clearly there are many human respiratory infections for which an antihistamine and cough suppressant combination might be beneficial but the sedation effects will be increased.)
Combination of hydrocodone and acepromazine, a tranquilizer, can not only lead to extreme sedation but can also lead to a serious drop in blood pressure.
If hydrocodone is combined with a tricyclic antidepressant or with a benzodiazepine tranquilizer, excessive sedation can result from this combination.
CONCERNS AND CAUTIONS
HYDROCODONE BITARTRATE IS A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
Page last updated: 3/6/2021