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Dihydrocodeinone (Generic Hydrocodone Combination Products)

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Dihydrocodeinone is an opioid medication primarily used to relieve pain. Like all opioids, it carries risks, including:

  • Addiction: Dihydrocodeinone can be habit-forming, leading to psychological and physical dependence.
  • Overdose: Taking too much dihydrocodeinone can depress the central nervous system, leading to respiratory depression, coma, and even death.
  • Tolerance: Over time, the body may become tolerant to dihydrocodeinone, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect.
  • Withdrawal: Suddenly stopping dihydrocodeinone after prolonged use can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and muscle aches.
  • Respiratory depression: Dihydrocodeinone can slow breathing, especially at higher doses or when combined with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines.
  • Constipation: Like other opioids, dihydrocodeinone can cause constipation, which may become severe with long-term use.
  • Sedation: Dihydrocodeinone can cause drowsiness and impair cognitive and motor function, affecting the ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

It’s essential to use dihydrocodeinone only as prescribed by a healthcare professional and to be aware of these risks, especially if you have a history of substance abuse or respiratory conditions.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Dihydrocodeinone is prescribed primarily for the relief of moderate to severe pain that has not responded adequately to non-opioid pain medications or other treatment options. It is commonly used for pain management following surgeries, injuries, or medical procedures, as well as for chronic pain conditions such as cancer-related pain or severe arthritis.

The medication is classified as an opioid analgesic, meaning it works by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord, altering the perception of pain. Dihydrocodeinone provides effective pain relief by blocking the transmission of pain signals and modifying the brain’s response to pain stimuli.

How should this medicine be used?

As for how it should be used, it’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and the prescription label carefully. Typically:

  • Dosage: The dosage of dihydrocodeinone varies based on factors like the severity of pain, individual response to the medication, and any other medical conditions the patient may have. It’s usually taken orally in tablet form.
  • Frequency: Dihydrocodeinone is often taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain relief. It’s essential to avoid taking more than the prescribed dose or taking it more frequently than directed.
  • Duration: Dihydrocodeinone is usually prescribed for short-term use to manage acute pain. Long-term use may increase the risk of tolerance, dependence, and other adverse effects.
  • Interaction: It’s crucial to avoid consuming alcohol or taking other central nervous system depressants while using dihydrocodeinone, as this can increase the risk of respiratory depression and other serious side effects.
  • Discontinuation: If you’ve been using dihydrocodeinone for a while, it’s essential not to stop suddenly, as this can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Your healthcare provider will provide guidance on how to taper off the medication safely when it’s time to stop.
  • Storage: Dihydrocodeinone should be stored at room temperature away from moisture and heat, and out of reach of children and pets.

Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the use of dihydrocodeinone or if you experience any adverse effects while taking it.

Other uses for this medicine

Some potential off-label uses include:

  • Cough suppression: Dihydrocodeinone can be used as an antitussive (cough suppressant) in certain formulations, although its use for this purpose is less common compared to other cough medications.
  • Diarrhea relief: In some cases, dihydrocodeinone may be used to treat severe diarrhea, particularly when other treatments have been ineffective.

What special precautions should I follow?

Regarding special precautions for dihydrocodeinone use, it’s essential to follow these guidelines:

  • Medical history: Inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions you have, especially respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as a history of substance abuse or addiction.
  • Medication interactions: Dihydrocodeinone can interact with other medications, including other opioids, benzodiazepines, alcohol, and certain antidepressants. Make sure your healthcare provider is aware of all the medications you are taking to avoid potentially dangerous interactions.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Dihydrocodeinone should be used with caution during pregnancy, as it may cause harm to the unborn baby. It can also pass into breast milk and affect a nursing infant, so breastfeeding while taking dihydrocodeinone is generally not recommended.
  • Driving and operating machinery: Dihydrocodeinone can cause drowsiness and impair cognitive and motor function, making it unsafe to drive or operate machinery until you know how it affects you.
  • Storage and disposal: Keep dihydrocodeinone securely stored out of reach of children and pets, and dispose of any unused medication properly according to local regulations.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and guidelines for safe and effective use of dihydrocodeinone. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

As for special dietary instructions, there are no specific dietary restrictions associated with dihydrocodeinone use. However, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated while taking any medication.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of dihydrocodeinone, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one, as this can increase the risk of side effects and overdose. If you’re unsure about what to do, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for advice.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Dihydrocodeinone, like other opioid medications, can cause various side effects. Common side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness: Dihydrocodeinone can cause drowsiness or sedation, affecting your ability to concentrate or operate machinery safely.
  • Nausea and vomiting: These gastrointestinal symptoms are relatively common, especially when starting treatment, but may improve over time.
  • Constipation: Opioids are notorious for causing constipation, which can be managed with dietary changes, increased fluid intake, and sometimes laxatives.
  • Dizziness: Some people may experience feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness while taking dihydrocodeinone.
  • Dry mouth: This side effect is relatively common and can usually be managed with frequent sips of water or sugar-free candies.
  • Itching or rash: Some individuals may experience itching or a rash, which could be a sign of an allergic reaction.
  • Respiratory depression: In high doses or in susceptible individuals, opioids like dihydrocodeinone can slow down breathing, which can be dangerous.
  • Confusion or cognitive impairment: Opioids can affect cognitive function, leading to confusion, disorientation, or memory problems in some individuals.
  • Urinary retention: Difficulty urinating or incomplete emptying of the bladder can occur, particularly in older adults.
  • Hypotension: Dihydrocodeinone can cause low blood pressure, which may manifest as dizziness or fainting.
  • Tolerance, dependence, and addiction: With prolonged use, tolerance to dihydrocodeinone may develop, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect. Dependence and addiction are also potential risks, especially with misuse or abuse.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Abruptly stopping dihydrocodeinone after prolonged use may lead to withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, agitation, sweating, muscle aches, and insomnia.

It’s important to report any side effects to your healthcare provider, especially if they are severe or persistent. Additionally, seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, such as rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and Disposal:

  • Storage: Keep dihydrocodeinone securely stored at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Ensure it’s out of reach of children and pets.
  • Disposal: Dispose of unused or expired dihydrocodeinone properly according to local regulations. You can ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for guidance on how to safely dispose of the medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • Seek immediate medical attention: If you suspect an overdose or someone has accidentally ingested dihydrocodeinone, call emergency services (such as 911) or your local poison control center right away.
  • Symptoms of overdose: Signs of an overdose may include extreme drowsiness, slowed or shallow breathing, fainting, seizures, or coma. Be prepared to provide information about the amount of medication ingested and any other substances taken.

What other information should I know?

  • Avoid alcohol and other CNS depressants: Drinking alcohol or using other central nervous system depressants while taking dihydrocodeinone can increase the risk of respiratory depression and other serious side effects.
  • Driving and machinery: Dihydrocodeinone can cause drowsiness and impair cognitive and motor function. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how the medication affects you.
  • Regular follow-ups: Attend scheduled appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your response to dihydrocodeinone and discuss any concerns or side effects.
  • Tolerance and dependence: Dihydrocodeinone can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction with prolonged use. Use only as directed by your healthcare provider and never share the medication with others.
  • Medical alert: Inform healthcare providers, including dentists and emergency responders, that you are taking dihydrocodeinone, especially before undergoing any procedures or surgeries.

By following these guidelines and staying informed about the proper use, storage, and disposal of dihydrocodeinone, you can minimize risks and ensure safe and effective treatment. Always consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your medication.

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