Vicodin vs Norco For Pain Treatment: Understanding the Similarities and Differences

Vicodin vs Norco

Nowadays, pain is a common health complication that can be treated with several types of medications and home remedies. Vicodin and Norco both are pain-alleviating medicines and these two medications belong to the narcotic analgesic combination drug class. These two medicines are used to prevent several types of pain like severe back pain, physical pain, and many more. Both drugs are approved by the US FDA for treating pain-related medical issues. However, Vicodin medicine is discontinued in the USA. In this blog, we will learn about these two medicines and the differences (Vicodin vs Norco), and similarities between them.

What is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a combination of two narcotic drugs and it is used to relieve pain conditions that can be caused by many reasons. For example, accidents, injuries, and many more.

It has two active components in the form of a generic drug, hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The FDA approved this Vicodin drug in January 1983 for treating back pain and rheumatoid arthritis.

What is Norco?

Norco is a potent painkiller that helps in relieving moderate to severe pain in individuals. With proper doctor’s guidance, patients can take this drug. This drug is also useful to get relief from severe back pain. The main ingredients used in manufacturing this branded drug are Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen. These are also generic medicines. The hydrocodone component is potentially abusable.

This medicine was approved by the US FDA in February 1997 under the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy program. REMs are an education program to make sure the benefits of the medicine are more than its risks.

Differences between Vicodin vs Norco Drug

Based on the following aspects, these two medicines differ from each other. There are many differences between Vicodin and Norco medication, which include:

1) Functions – The mechanism of action of Vicodin vs Norco drugs are as follows.

Vicodin consists of a higher amount of acetaminophen according to hydrocodone. The composition of hydrocodone works in the brain by changing the way of pain-related feeling in the patient’s body, while acetaminophen is a higher effective drug for reducing fever than for relieving pain.

Norco drug is a combination of two drugs that are characterized by pain relieving medicine. It has a higher amount of hydrocodone than acetaminophen. These active ingredients of the drug bind to the opioid receptor and activate the mu-opioid receptor. After binding, it produces analgesic effects in the brain. In this way, it helps to react against pain in patients.

2) Color And Shape

The shapes of these medicines are similar (capsule-like, oblong, or oval shape). But, there is a difference in their color. Vicodin medicine is available only in white color whereas Norco medicine comes in many colors like white, orange, and yellow.

3) Dosages: Vicodin vs Norco

Doctors usually suggest what foods to eat or avoid while prescribing these two drugs. Healthcare specialists may change the doses of Vicodin and Norco after examining the patient’s health condition. Here are the dosages and strengths of these two medicines.

Vicodin Dosage form Along with the Strength

Vicodin dosage belongs to the Schedule II controlled substance drug. It comes in the form of a bisected tablet and oral solution. Its dosage strengths are:

Form of Oral tablet
Form of Oral solution
  • (7.5 mg / 325 mg)/15 ml
  • (10 mg / 300 mg) /15 ml, (10 mg / 325 mg) / 15 ml

Dosage Forms and Strength of Norco Medicine

This medicine also belongs to the CSA Schedule II. It is available in an oral tablet form in the market. Its strengths are as follows

Form of Oral Bisected Tablet

Similarities between these two drugs

There are several similarities between Vicodin and Norco drug, which include:

1) Composition – These two medications are combination drugs. Both drugs contain acetaminophen and hydrocodone in the form of generic drugs and active components.

2) Half-Life – The half-life span of Vicodin and Norco is considered to be 3.8 hours.

3) Uses – Vicodin and Norco medicines are used to treat moderate to severe pain and physical pain like back pain and rheumatoid arthritis. It also treats alleviates pain during the operation and after surgery.

Side Effects of Vicodin vs Norco Medications

Both medicines contain mild to severe side effects that are as follows-

Vicodin Side effects

  • Light-headedness
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Mood swings
  • Upset stomach
  • Difficulty when urinating
  • Dry mouth
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Nervousness

Side effects of Norco

  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty in passing stool
  • Feeling light-headedness
  • Vomiting
  • Head-spinning
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Tightness in muscles
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in the chest
  • High fever
  • Allergic reactions
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Extreme restlessness
  • Breathing problems
  • Confusion
  • Swelling in the face and tongue
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting
  • Head-spinning
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Tightness in muscles
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in the chest
  • High fever

Precautions of Norco and Vicodin Medications

  • Vicodin and Norco contain opioids, so alcohol consumption should be avoided during treatment.
  • Both of these drugs fall under the category of Schedule II CSA, which means they have a higher potential for being abused.
  • Vicodin and Norco medications should not be given to pregnant women because both can cause drug dependence or addiction in the unborn baby.
  • Doctors don’t prescribe these rugs to asthma patients, as they can cause breathing problems in such individuals.
  • Even if individuals consume the recommended amount of these medications they are still at risk of developing addiction.
  • These two opioid medications make people feel drowsy. For this reason, the doctor recommends patients not to drive while under the influence of these medications.


In conclusion, Vicodin and Norco are the medications that treat various pains in people. Buy they differ from each other in some cases such as working function in the body, color, and shape, and available dosage strengths, etc. These medicines have both advantages and disadvantages. So, it is important to follow all the safety measures while taking these drugs under a health expert’s supervision.

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