The long-term side effects of using hydrocodone include liver damage, physical and mental dependence, and death, according to Mayo Clinic. Hydrocodone is an opioid that blocks the brain’s ability to sense pain.
Chronic use of hydrocodone causes individuals to build up tolerance to the drug, explains Healthline. Tolerance increases a person’s risk of a drug overdose because higher doses are necessary in order to achieve the same effect. Hydrocodone significantly slows or stops the normal heart rate, and excessive use can be fatal.
Hydrocodone abuse disrupts normal brain psychology, notes Healthline. Symptoms include impact to a person’s mental outlook, increased anxiety and mental confusion. In some individuals, brain seizures and convulsions can also occur.
Long-term use of hydrocodone also has an adverse effect on the liver and digestive system, reports MedicineNet. Doctors commonly prescribe hydrocodone in combination with acetominaphen, a drug that causes serious liver damage with extended use. Additionally, chronic users of hydrocodone often experience side effects that include constipation or jaundice.
Individuals should not change or stop using hydrocodone without prior advice from a medical professional, warns Mayo Clinic. Failure do so increases the likelihood of experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, stomach cramps and difficulty sleeping.