Hysingla, also called Hysingla ER, is a brand-name prescription drug used for the treatment of pain classified as severe and ongoing. The generic name of Hysingla is hydrocodone bitartrate. Hydrocodone is an opioid. Opioids are also called narcotics, and this drug class changes the way the brain and body respond to pain. These drugs also alter how pain signals are sent. Hysingla is not intended for as-needed pain treatment. Hysingla is approved for use in patients for whom other medications and treatment options aren’t effective, or don’t provide adequate pain relief. Hysingla is a Schedule II controlled substance, and it’s extended-release. Extended-release opioids are designed to provide ongoing pain relief, rather than to have the entire dose start taking effect immediately. Hysingla should only be used in opioid-tolerant patients, and it’s available in different dosages. These dosages include 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 120 mg. When someone is prescribed Hysingla, they are supposed to take it once every 24 hours, by mouth.
Hydrocodone is a powerful opioid that acts on the brain and body of patients like other drugs in this class. Hydrocodone binds to opioid receptors throughout the body, including in the central nervous system. It is a strong pain reliever, but there are side effects associated with its use as well. Respiratory depression is one of the most dangerous side effects of hydrocodone and other opioids. Common side effects of hydrocodone can include constipation and gastrointestinal problems, dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, itchiness and headache. Hysingla is unique because it’s the only approved extended-release, misuse-deterrent hydrocodone product that isn’t combined with acetaminophen.
Hysingla comes in tablet form, and the color differences represent different dosages. For example, Hysingla ER 20 mg is green, round and printed on one side with HYD 20. A 30 mg dose of the drug is yellow and round and printed with HYD 30 on one side. 40 mg of Hysingla is round and gray, with HYD 40 printed on one side. A 60 mg dose of this drug is beige and round, with HYD 60 printed on one side. An 80 mg dose is pink, a 100 mg dose is blue, and the strongest 120 mg dose is white.
Opioids are inherently addictive drugs for many people. When people use opioids, whether by prescription or otherwise, they can create a reward response in their brain. Opioids like hydrocodone can cause euphoria, relaxation and other effects some patients might find desirable. These effects, when they do create euphoria, also flood the brain with dopamine, and once a reward response is triggered, addiction is possible. Also possible with hydrocodone and other opioids is physical dependence.
When people misuse prescription opioids like Hyslinga, they will often try to crush them, chew them or dissolve them and inject them. This is especially true with extended-release drugs. When people use these drugs in ways other than what’s intended, they can get the full concentration and effects of the extended-release medication all at one time. Hysingla was manufactured with certain misuse-deterring features, but the drug is still potentially addictive. Hysingla misuse-deterrent features include the fact that it’s very hard to crush, break or dissolve it. If someone does try to misuse Hyslinga through those preparations, it turns into a thick gel that’s very difficult to inject. Despite the properties of Hyslinga that were incorporated to reduce the risk of addiction, that risk isn’t entirely eliminated.
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