Mixing hydrocodone with alcohol can lead to a host of severe health problems ranging from hearing loss and lack of motor control to heart failure and coma.

Abusing hydrocodone on its own is dangerous. Mixing it with alcohol can be deadly. There are reasons why medical professionals prescribing hydrocodone caution against drinking while taking these highly addictive opioid pills. Mixing hydrocodone (an opioid painkiller) with alcohol can lead to a host of severe health problems ranging from lack of motor control to heart failure and coma. Combining these substances is a gamble that could cost you your life.

If you have found yourself unable to quit a drug habit, don’t try to go it alone. It’s imperative that you seek medically assisted treatment to fully detox from these substances and cope with the withdrawal symptoms. Learn more about the dangers of mixing these substances below. Knowing this valuable information could save your life or that of a friend.

What Is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a highly addictive opioid drug that has earned the reputation of the most prescribed opioid painkiller in America. By any name — Vicodin, Lorcet or Lortab — you may receive hydrocodone for chronic pain, unmanageable coughing or after major surgery. Following your doctor’s instructions for taking it is imperative. This Schedule II drug connects to your brain’s opioid receptors, creating a high that is all too easy to become hooked on. Abusing opioids comes with its own set of problems that are often exacerbated when you add alcohol to the mix.  

What Are the Side Effects of Hydrocodone and Alcohol?

Being addicted to hydrocodone by itself or only alcohol are both extremely dangerous scenarios. When mixed together and abused over a long period of time, these substances can wreak havoc on your body, causing irreparable damage. Some short-term and lasting side effects of combining hydrocodone and alcohol include:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Liver damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure
  • Overdose
  • Coma

Dangers of Mixing Hydrocodone and Alcohol

At first, mixing hydrocodone with alcohol can produce pleasurable effects such as slight drowsiness, numbness and euphoria. But while you’re riding this high, these substances are damaging your body in ways you cannot feel or see initially. When taken together, each drug exacerbates the effects of the other, and you will likely lose control of your motor skills and judgment faster than you thought possible. Both drugs are depressants, which inhibit your central nervous system. When this system is depressed, your heart rate and breathing can slow to extremely dangerous levels, increasing the likelihood of unconsciousness and coma.

Mixing hydrocodone with alcohol is specifically dangerous as this opioid also suppresses the inhibitions associated with drinking. This can lead to drinking too much, taking too many pills, and in many cases, overdose and death. Additionally, since hydrocodone is generally formulated with acetaminophen, extended use of this drug can be toxic to the liver and lead to internal bleeding and ulcers. Over time, using these drugs together can damage your body in irreparable ways. That’s why it’s so important to seek treatment when you realize you’ve lost control over your addiction. Help is closer than you think. The first step is reaching out.

Treatment for Hydrocodone and Alcohol

If you or a loved one have been abusing hydrocodone and alcohol, know that you are not alone and that recovery is achievable. However, attempting to detox on your own can be calamitous and will likely land you right back where you started. Safely getting off a long-term drug habit takes a village — a team of caring doctors and clinicians who will work with you one-on-one to see you through the detox and inpatient treatment process.

No matter how long you’ve been taking hydrocodone and alcohol, you’re never far from hope. Healing can start with contacting us. Call The Recovery Village today to talk with a representative about your options for treatment and start on the path to drug-free living.

a woman in a black cardigan smiles at the camera.
Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
a male in a white lab coat and tie.
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.