Facebook Pixel

How bad is Vicodin to take long-term if you already have health problems?

By September 29, 2009 - 6:20pm
Rate This

This is about my mom. She is 70 years old, has arthritis, diabetes II, high blood pressure and is overweight. I believe she has gained about 15 or 20 lbs. within the last 6 months, so I would say she is probably 50 to 60 lbs overweight on her small 5' body. She has been taking Vicodin for "at least" the last 6 years for her arthritis pain. She takes 2 -4 250 mil. pills at night, yet she is up at least 3 times a night going to the bathroom and refilling her water glass. I'm not sure how many she takes during the day, but I would say it's equal to the nighttime routine. She also falls asleep all day long for short 20 second naps. I have asked her to see if her doctor will try another pain med, but it's a hard subject to talk about with her. I guess this question is really just about her overall health not just liver damage from the Vicodin and diabetes II. I'm wondering if anyone knows of any other med that might help her with her pain, besides the obvious of losing all the extra weight to ease up on her joints.

Add a Comment1 Comments

First I want to compliment you on being such a caring daughter. Any pain medication can have negative effects from long term use. But she is 70 and does suffer from chronic pain, which is why her doctor has prescribed this medication.

I could not find a 250mg dose. It comes in 5/500mg, 7.5/750mg and 10/660mg. I suspect she is taing the 5/500mg tablets, which can be prescribed 1-2 tablets at a time, max dose of 8 tablets per day. The information below is from Wikipedia.

Vicodin is made as a mixture of hydrocodone and paracetamol. Paracetamol, which is also called acetaminophen, acts as an analgesic/antipyretic. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic.

Vicodin contains 500 mg paracetamol and 5 mg hydrocodone. Typical dosage is 1-2 tablets as needed, max 8 tablets/day.
Vicodin ES contains 750 mg paracetamol and 7.5 mg hydrocodone. Typical dosage is 1 tablet as needed, max 5 tablets/day.
Vicodin HP contains 660 mg paracetamol and 10 mg hydrocodone. Typical dosage is 1 tablet as needed, max 6 tablets/day.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicodin [Source information added by EmpowHer Moderator]

The getting up at night could be related her diabetes or high blood pressure. It is something she should mention to her doctor. She could also be getting up because of her pain, staying one position for more than a few hours may cause her more pain and she gets up to more around to help with the pain. Chronic pain can be a downward spiral, "You stop moving because it hurts and pretty soon you can't move." More physical activity might be helpful for managing her pain and other health issues. Try finding her a Tai Chi class. It is slow controlled movements that will increase her flexibility and her balance. I have a chronic pain condition and Tai Chi has been wonderful. Be sure to check with her doctor before she starts.

The reason your mother may not like talking to you about her medication is that she feels that you are trying to take her freedom away from her. At her age and with her health problem, her freedom is slowly being erroded away from each day. And, she may have been offended by the way your approached the topic. Perhaps if you asked her if you could go with her to her next doctor appointment. I would offer to take notes and just be quiet. She may be willing to talk if you give her space and don't express your opinion unless she asks you.


October 23, 2009 - 10:39pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.



Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Arthritis Guide


Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!