The main use of hydrocodone and acetaminophen is for relieving mild to mildly severe pain, according to Mayo Clinic. Acetaminophen primarily alleviates pain and reduces fever, whereas hydrocodone affects the central nervous system to ease pain and prevent or stop cough.
The pain reliever acetaminophen has less potent effects than the narcotic pain reliever hydrocodone, and it serves to amplify the effects of the latter, explains Drugs.com. It is important to take the combination medication according to the doctor's instructions and to inform the doctor if the medicine stops bringing pain relief. Adults must not take more than 1 gram of acetaminophen per dose or 4 grams per day. A single hydrocodone and acetaminophen tablet may include up to 750 milligrams of acetaminophen. A person should measure the medication's liquid form using a dose-measuring cup or spoon rather than a regular tablespoon to ensure proper dosage.
The side effects of hydrocodone and acetaminophen can affect an individual's thoughts and agility, so patients taking these medications should exercise caution when driving or performing any activity that requires alertness, advises Drugs.com. To prevent the risk of overdose, a person should consult a health care professional before taking other medicines, particularly pain medications and over-the-counter drugs for cough or cold, as these may also contain some amounts of acetaminophen. Drinking six to eight full glasses of water daily or consuming more fiber while taking acetaminophen and hydrocodone can help prevent constipation.