Is HYCODAN syrup an opioid?

Hycodan syrup contains hydrocodone, which is an opioid drug. Opioids are narcotic medications that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Some common opioids include oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl.

What is HYCODAN syrup?

HYCODAN syrup is a prescription cough suppressant that contains hydrocodone and homatropine. Hydrocodone is an opioid drug that acts on the brain to decrease coughing. Homatropine is an anticholinergic drug that also suppresses coughing.

Some key facts about HYCODAN syrup:

  • It is available as a thick, reddish-orange syrup.
  • Common dosages range from 5mL to 10mL every 4 to 6 hours as needed.
  • It contains hydrocodone bitartrate and homatropine methylbromide as the active ingredients.
  • It is prescribed for the relief of cough in adults 18 years and older.
  • It has a high potential for addiction and abuse.

HYCODAN syrup requires a prescription from a doctor and is not available over-the-counter. It is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the DEA due to the hydrocodone content.

Is hydrocodone an opioid drug?

Yes, hydrocodone is an opioid drug. Specifically, hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from codeine. Other examples of semi-synthetic opioids include oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone.

Hydrocodone works by binding to and activating opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. This produces an analgesic (pain-relieving) effect, as well as cough suppression by acting on the cough center in the medulla region of the brain.

Like all opioids, hydrocodone also comes with a risk of abuse, addiction, and dependence. With long-term use, tolerance and physical dependence can develop. It is possible to overdose on hydrocodone, especially when combined with other medications or alcohol.

So in summary, hydrocodone’s status as an opioid means that it provides effective cough and pain relief but also carries risks if misused or abused.

Is HYCODAN syrup a narcotic?

Yes, HYCODAN syrup is considered a narcotic medication due to the hydrocodone content.

Narcotics, also known as opioids, refer to substances that induce sleepiness and stupor by depressing the nervous system. This includes both natural opiates like morphine and synthetic/semi-synthetic opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

The hydrocodone in HYCODAN syrup acts on opioid receptors in the brain, producing narcotic effects like pain relief, cough suppression, drowsiness, and euphoria. This makes HYCODAN a Schedule II controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Other examples of narcotic cough syrups besides HYCODAN include:

  • Tussionex (contains hydrocodone)
  • Hycotuss (contains hydrocodone)
  • Guiatuss AC (contains codeine)
  • Cheratussin AC (contains codeine)

So in summary, the presence of hydrocodone means that HYCODAN syrup produces narcotic effects and is classified as a narcotic medication by the DEA. It should be used cautiously and only when necessary due to the risks.

What conditions is HYCODAN syrup used to treat?

HYCODAN syrup is primarily used to treat cough. Specifically, it is approved to treat irritating coughs that keep you up at night or disrupt your daily activities.

The hydrocodone suppresses the cough reflex by acting directly on the cough center in the brain, while the homatropine acts as an anticholinergic to dry up mucus secretions in the respiratory tract.

HYCODAN syrup provides short-term relief for coughs caused by:

  • The common cold or flu
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Emphysema
  • Pneumonia
  • Smoking

It does not treat any underlying disease but can provide symptomatic relief by reducing the frequency and intensity of cough spasms.

HYCODAN syrup should not be used for chronic, long-lasting coughs such as those caused by ACE inhibitors, chronic bronchitis, or COPD. Other medications are preferred for these conditions.

Pain relief

While not its primary use, HYCODAN syrup may also provide some pain relief due to the hydrocodone content. Hydrocodone is about as potent as oral morphine in terms of analgesic effects.

However, HYCODAN syrup is not intended to treat severe or chronic pain. Other hydrocodone formulations like Vicodin or Norco are used for pain management.

What are the side effects of HYCODAN syrup?

HYCODAN syrup can cause several side effects, most of which are related to the hydrocodone content. Possible side effects include:

  • Drowsiness – hydrocodone is sedating and can make you very sleepy.
  • Dizziness – low blood pressure from hydrocodone can lead to lightheadedness.
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation – common opioid side effects affecting the GI tract.
  • Euphoria – opioids produce a “high” feeling that promotes abuse.
  • Confusion – hydrocodone can cause mental cloudiness.
  • Slowed breathing – in cases of overdose, hydrocodone depresses respiratory function.
  • Allergic reaction – rash, itching, swelling, and anaphylaxis are possible.

The homatropine in HYCODAN can also cause anticholinergic side effects like:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Flushing
  • Fever
  • Tachycardia
  • Urinary retention

Elderly people may experience more severe side effects. HYCODAN syrup should be used with caution in patients with heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease. It is not approved for use in children under 18.

Is HYCODAN syrup safe during pregnancy?

No, HYCODAN syrup should be avoided during pregnancy.

The hydrocodone in HYCODAN syrup belongs to FDA Pregnancy Category C. This means animal studies show potential risks to the fetus but there are no good human studies.

Specific risks of taking HYCODAN syrup during pregnancy may include:

  • Premature birth or low birth weight
  • Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome
  • Birth defects like neural tube defects
  • Developmental delays later in childhood

The benefits of using HYCODAN for cough relief do not outweigh these potential risks during pregnancy. A non-narcotic cough suppressant like dextromethorphan is preferred.

If HYCODAN syrup is used near delivery, the newborn should be monitored for signs of opioid withdrawal syndrome. Pregnant women should always consult their doctor before taking HYCODAN syrup.

Does HYCODAN syrup cause dependence?

Yes, HYCODAN syrup does carry a risk of dependence due to the hydrocodone content. Dependence can be both physical and psychological:

Physical dependence

Prolonged daily use of HYCODAN syrup can cause physical dependence characterized by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped suddenly.

Over time, larger doses are needed to achieve the same effects. Eventually, discontinuation leads to symptoms like anxiety, sweating, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and body aches.

Psychological dependence

The euphoric high caused by hydrocodone also makes HYCODAN syrup addictive. People may misuse the medication to get a narcotic rush leading to psychological cravings and addiction.

To reduce dependence risk, HYCODAN syrup should only be taken for short periods under medical supervision. It may require gradual tapering when discontinuing long-term therapy.

Is HYCODAN syrup a controlled substance?

Yes, HYCODAN syrup is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the DEA. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and dependency.

Some features that give HYCODAN syrup Schedule II status:

  • Contains hydrocodone, an opioid with high abuse potential
  • Can lead to severe physical and psychological dependence
  • Possible euphoric side effects promote abuse
  • Overdose can be fatal
  • Strict regulations on prescribing and dispensing

Other Schedule II narcotic medications include morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and methadone.

The Schedule II status means HYCODAN syrup cannot be called in or faxed to a pharmacy. Only written prescriptions are valid and refills are not allowed. Misusing or selling HYCODAN syrup is illegal.

What should you avoid while taking HYCODAN syrup?

Certain foods, drugs, and activities should be avoided when taking HYCODAN syrup:

  • Alcohol – increases sedation and overdose risk.
  • Grapefruit – can slow hydrocodone metabolism.
  • Antihistamines – increases drowsiness when combined with homatropine.
  • Other opioid medications – high risk for overdose.
  • Benzodiazepines like Xanax – also depress breathing and sedation.
  • Driving or operating machinery – hydrocodone impairs abilities.

You should also inform your doctor of any other prescription medications, supplements, or herbal products you are taking. Porous interactions can occur.

Never take more HYCODAN syrup than prescribed or take it more frequently than directed. Make sure to keep the medication secured out of reach of children and pets.


In conclusion, HYCODAN syrup does contain hydrocodone and is therefore considered an opioid narcotic medication. It acts on the brain to suppress coughs but also produces side effects like sedation, constipation, and dependence.

HYCODAN syrup should only be used for short-term relief of coughs that disrupt normal function. It carries risks of abuse and addiction so only use this controlled substance exactly as prescribed by a doctor. Never combine it with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other drugs that depress the nervous system.

While effective for symptomatic cough relief when used responsibly, the opioid effects of hydrocodone mean that HYCODAN syrup must be administered cautiously under medical supervision.

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