Does Hydrocodone Make You Sleepy?

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid drug, most commonly prescribed for pain management or cough suppression alongside other medications, including acetaminophen, antihistamines, antitussives, and expectorants. Hydrocodone is typically only prescribed by itself in its extended-release form for severe pain.

Also known as dihydrocodeinone, hydrocodone is synthesized from codeine, which is an opioid alkaloid found in the opium poppy plant.

Does Hydrocodone Make You Sleepy?

Hydrocodone is metabolized to hydromorphone and converted to morphine in the body. The primary function of hydrocodone is to decrease discomfort. Typically, doses are increased as needed to help address additional pain.

Because hydrocodone has a similar chemical structure as other opioids, its effects are similar to those of other opioids.

Individuals taking hydrocodone should consult with their physician or pharmacist before taking any additional medications. Serious to life-threatening adverse reactions can occur if hydrocodone is combined with any of the following types of drugs:

  • Anti-anxiety drugs* used to treat anxiety disorders, phobias, panic attacks. These include Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Serax.
  • Opioids** used to treat pain. These include Vicodin, methadone, Suboxone and morphine.
  • Anticholinergic drugs used to treat urinary incontinence, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and certain types of poisoning. These include Benadryl, Thorazine, Artane, Cogentin, Akineton.
  • Serotonergic drugs* used to treat depression, anxiety, nerve pain and migraine headaches. These include cyclobenzaprine, methadone, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline.
  • Antipsychotic drugs used to manage psychosis. These include Serentil, Prolixin, Loxitane, Haldol and Moban.
  • Depressant drugs* used to manage conditions associated with mental disorders. These include Butisol, Luminal, Fioricet, Brevital, Intermezzo and Ambien.
  • Alcohol*

Items noted with an asterisk (*) can cause profound drowsiness and respiratory depression. The items with a double asterisk (**) are subject to respiratory depression being a major side effect, particularly among the elderly and patients with chronic pulmonary disease.

Combining hydrocodone with any of these substances increases the risk of side effects. However, the risks are more pronounced for the medications indicated with asterisks, since they independently cause marked drowsiness. If the risk of breathing suppression is present, the person taking hydrocodone could potentially stop breathing in their sleep, slip into a coma, or even die.