What Is Vicoprofen?

Vicoprofen is a prescription, brand-name combination drug. Although the brand name Vicoprofen has been discontinued, it is still available as a generic drug. It is a combination of an opioid component, which is hydrocodone, and ibuprofen, which is another pain reliever. Both active ingredients deliver pain relief, but they work in different ways. Vicoprofen can be prescribed to patients suffering from moderate to severe pain, although it’s intended to be a short-term treatment. 

Vicoprofen shouldn’t be prescribed for more than ten days in most cases. While hydrocodone is an opioid, ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, also called an NSAID. Hydrocodone is only available by prescription, while ibuprofen is available over the counter and in prescription combination drugs. 

Hydrocodone works in the brain and central nervous system to change the way the body senses and responds to pain signals. Vicoprofen isn’t supposed to be used for the treatment of long-term pain, such as pain stemming from arthritis, and it’s not supposed to be used in children younger than six. When someone is prescribed Vicoprofen, they’re usually instructed to take it as needed every four to six hours.

What Does Vicoprofen Look Like?

Vicoprofen is taken as an oral tablet. While the generic can vary in appearance, the brand Vicoprofen was round, white in the 7.5 mg/200 mg dose and printed with the VP logo. The first number in the dose refers to the hydrocodone in it, while the second number is the ibuprofen. It’s important for people to let their doctor know about any other substances they regularly use and any history of substance misuse before they take Vicoprofen.

Is Vicoprofen an Opioid?

Vicoprofen is considered an opioid because it contains hydrocodone, an opioid. Because of the hydrocodone component, Vicoprofen is a Schedule II controlled substance. This means it carries a high risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. For this reason, doctors carefully prescribe Vicoprofen to patients.

Uses for Vicoprofen

Like other opioids, Vicoprofen is prescribed to treat pain. However, like other opioids, doctors must cautiously weigh the risks and benefits of starting Vicoprofen in a patient. This is due to the risks of hydrocodone and the ibuprofen component.

Pain Management with Vicoprofen

Vicoprofen is FDA-approved to treat short-term pain. The pain should be severe enough to require an opioid. Other therapies should have also been tried and found to be insufficient. Although the drug may sometimes be prescribed for post-surgical pain, the ibuprofen component can limit its use.

Post-Surgery Use of Vicoprofen

Vicoprofen can be used after some surgeries. However, it should not be used after a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), as the ibuprofen component causes an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition, because ibuprofen can increase bleeding risk, doctors may be wary of prescribing the drug after certain procedures or if the person is at high risk of blood loss.

Vicoprofen Dosage

Vicoprofen should only be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. The drug comes as a combination tablet of hydrocodone 7.5 mg and ibuprofen 200 mg. Generally, the drug is prescribed as one tablet every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain, not to exceed 5 tablets in 24 hours.

Side Effects of Vicoprofen

Like all medications, Vicoprofen can cause some side effects. These side effects can manifest in different ways. While some may be more physiological in nature, others can impact the person’s mental and cognitive functions.

Physical Side Effects

Physical side effects of Vicoprofen can be due to either—or both—of the drug’s ingredients. These side effects are similar to those of other opioids and ibuprofen. They include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Bleeding

Psychological Side Effects

Sometimes, a person’s mental health will be impacted by Vicoprofen. Although the number of possible psychological side effects is not as extensive as physical side effects, they can still be bothersome. Symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Thinking abnormalities

Vicoprofen Interactions

Many drugs have drug interactions, and Vicoprofen is no exception. Some interactions are riskier than others, and some medications should be avoided entirely if someone is taking Vicoprofen. You should make sure your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all other medications you are taking while on Vicoprofen. You should not start any over-the-counter herbs, vitamins, supplements or pain relievers without first checking with your doctor or pharmacist.

Drugs To Avoid While on Vicoprofen

Some drugs and substances should be avoided entirely while you are on Vicoprofen due to the risk of combining them. If you take a medication on this list, you should check with your doctor about how to proceed. Substances to avoid while on Vicoprofen include:

  • Benzodiazepines like Valium, due to the risk of overdose
  • Opioids, as hydrocodone is an opioid and taking multiple of these drugs can increase your risk of overdose
  • Alcohol, due to the risk of overdose
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), due to the risk of serotonin syndrome
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as ibuprofen is an NSAID and taking multiple of these drugs can increase your risk of side effects like bleeding
  • Macrolide antibiotics like azithromycin, as they can increase the amount of Vicoprofen in your system
  • Azole antifungals like ketoconazole, as they can increase the amount of Vicoprofen in your system
  • Protease inhibitors like ritonavir, as they can increase the amount of Vicoprofen in your system
  • Certain seizure medications like carbamazepine and phenytoin, as they can decrease the amount of Vicoprofen in your system
  • Rifampin, an infection drug that can decrease the amount of Vicoprofen in your system

Safe Drug Combinations with Vicoprofen

Many drugs can be used safely with Vicoprofen. If you are taking Vicoprofen for pain and need additional pain relief, you should talk to your doctor about your overall pain management strategy. You may be a candidate for a different medication, for example.

Some analgesic medications may be safe to take with Vicoprofen, depending on your medical history. You should talk to your doctor about whether additional pain relief agents like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or topical agents like lidocaine may be right for you.

Alcohol and Vicoprofen

Mixing alcohol and Vicoprofen can be deadly. Both alcohol and Vicoprofen are central nervous system depressants, which means they slow down the body’s functions. When they are combined, the effects of each are amplified. The combined effects of Vicoprofen and alcohol can lead to serious consequences, including

  • Respiratory depression: This is a condition in which breathing slows down or stops altogether. It can be life-threatening.
  • Opioid overdose: This is a condition in which the amount of opioids in the body becomes too high. It can also be life-threatening.
  • Stomach bleeding: Alcohol and ibuprofen, one of the active ingredients in Vicoprofen, can both irritate the stomach lining. Mixing them can increase the risk of stomach bleeding.
  • Confusion, drowsiness and dizziness: These are all common side effects of alcohol and Vicoprofen. When they are combined, they can make it difficult to think clearly and react quickly. This can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

If you are taking Vicoprofen, it is important to avoid alcohol completely. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor.

Vicoprofen and Pregnancy

Vicoprofen isn’t considered safe to take while pregnant unless otherwise instructed by a healthcare provider. The FDA has not assigned a pregnancy risk score to Vicoprofen, and it specifically warns about ibuprofen’s potential to cause complications after the 20th week of pregnancy. 

How Does Vicoprofen Affect a Fetus?

Hydrocodone and other opioids are used in pregnancy only when the benefits outweigh the risks, as directed by a doctor. The use of opioids during pregnancy can have negative effects on a fetus and can lead to dangerous complications like neonatal abstinence syndrome. Meanwhile, taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen after the 20th week of pregnancy can cause fetal kidney problems, and taking them after the 30th week of pregnancy can increase the risk of premature closure of certain heart ducts.

Can Babies Be Born Addicted to Vicoprofen?

Along with an increased risk of birth defects, there is another potential adverse effect linked to Vicoprofen during pregnancy: babies can be born dependent on Vicoprofen because it contains hydrocodone. 

Just as adults can become dependent on opioids, so can a baby because it passes through the placenta. If a baby becomes dependent on Vicoprofen in the womb, it will go through withdrawal symptoms after it’s born. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Symptoms of NAS can vary quite a bit in severity and duration. Symptoms of NAS linked to opioid exposure can include excessive crying, inability to gain weight and problems with feeding and sleeping. 

Usually, if a baby is born dependent on Vicoprofen or another opioid, they will have to spend time in the NICU for specialized treatment.

Vicoprofen Withdrawal

The longer someone uses Vicoprofen, the more likely they are to experience addiction or dependence. Hydrocodone binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system and throughout the body. That allows it to change how the patient’s body senses and responds to pain. 

At the same time, this effect can cause euphoria as well as a pleasure and reward reinforcement response in the brain. The brain can also become dependent on the effects of hydrocodone. When that happens, the brain changes its own functionality and stops working in the same way it once did because the hydrocodone is doing certain work for the brain. This is dependence, and if someone stops using hydrocodone suddenly when they are dependent, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. 

Common Vicoprofen withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings
  • Tremors
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Cramps, aches and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Vicoprofen Withdrawal Timeline

The specifics of a Vicoprofen withdrawal timeline can vary, depending on the individual and the extent of their use. Also, being dependent on other substances at the same time can make withdrawal more severe as well. In general, the Vicoprofen withdrawal timeline is as follows:

  • Withdrawal symptoms begin within 12 hours of the last dose
  • Withdrawal symptoms peak in severity at 24 to 28 hours of the last dose
  • Withdrawal symptoms improve and may end three to five days after the last dose

However, some patients may have longer and more ongoing symptoms in the following weeks or months. This is especially true of psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety, as well as insomnia.

Is Vicoprofen Addictive?

Vicoprofen has the potential to be addictive. That’s why it’s supposed to only be used as a short-term medication. The ibuprofen in this drug isn’t addictive, but the hydrocodone is. Hydrocodone is an opioid, also called a narcotic. Opioids provide powerful pain relief, but in doing so, they interact with the central nervous system and brain in a way that can lead to addiction. 

When someone uses hydrocodone, it binds to opioid receptor sites not only in the central nervous system but throughout the body. The brain may have a euphoric response and may be flooded with feel-good chemicals like dopamine. This euphoria or positive feeling can cause a reward response in the brain, which is how opioids can lead to addiction. 

The longer someone uses Vicoprofen, the more likely they are to become addicted. Once someone is addicted to Vicoprofen, their use of the drug is no longer under their control. Because of changes in the brain’s functionality and wiring, someone with an addiction to any substance displays behaviors of compulsive, out-of-control use.

Vicoprofen Overdose

Taking too much of certain opioid painkillers, such as Vicoprofen, can be very dangerous. These drugs can make it hard for you to breathe properly, which can lead to serious problems, including a coma or even death. Opioids can be especially risky because they can slow down your body’s systems so much that they stop working altogether. This can cause things like respiratory arrest, which means your heart and lungs stop working. 

If you or someone you know has taken too much of an opioid, it’s important to get medical help right away by calling 911 and then giving naloxone (Narcan) if available. 

Risk Factors for Vicoprofen Overdose

Certain risk factors can make it more likely for someone to overdose on Vicoprofen. Even if someone takes Vicoprofen exactly as prescribed, there is still a small risk of overdose. However, the risk increases if someone takes more than prescribed, takes it more often than prescribed or mixes it with other drugs.

One of the most dangerous things someone can do is mix Vicoprofen with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines and prescription sleep medications. These drugs all slow down the central nervous system, which can lead to respiratory depression and death.

Another risk factor for Vicoprofen overdose is taking the drug after a period of not using it. When someone’s tolerance for opioids decreases, they are more likely to overdose if they take the same dose as they used to.

Signs and Symptoms of Vicoprofen Overdose

The signs and symptoms of a Vicoprofen overdose would likely seem similar to overdosing on any other opioid. However, it’s important to consider the risk of overdosing on ibuprofen as well. Sometimes, when a person overdoses on a combination medication, they overdose on the over-the-counter component like acetaminophen or ibuprofen before they overdose on the opioid aspect of the drug. First, the symptoms of an overdose related to ibuprofen can include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sweating
  • Rash
  • Heartburn
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision
  • Severe headache
  • Urine retention
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Labored or slow breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizure
  • Coma

The more severe side effects of an ibuprofen overdose are rare. However, many of these side effects overlap with opioid overdose side effects, so the two can amplify the effects of one another if too much is taken. Side effects of a hydrocodone overdose can include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Spasms
  • Confusion
  • Changes in thoughts or behavior
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Nodding off
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Gurgling or snoring sounds
  • Labored breathing
  • Bluish-colored lips and fingernails
  • Non-responsiveness
  • Delirium

Long-Term Effects of Vicoprofen Addiction

The long-term effects of Vicoprofen can be severe and chronic. These effects can impact multiple systems of the body and can include:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Heavy snoring, lack of airflow or stopped breathing while asleep (sleep-disordered breathing)
  • Cardiovascular problems like heart attack and stroke
  • Falls and fractures
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Sexual dysfunction and infertility
  • Reduced immune system function (immunosuppression)

Treatment for Vicoprofen Addiction

When someone is addicted to any prescription or illicit drug, they may benefit from professional addiction treatment. A professional Vicoprofen addiction treatment program can take place in many different settings, including inpatient or outpatient programs. Before someone can begin actual addiction treatment, they may also require a medical detox.

Vicoprofen Medical Detox

Before someone can be treated for addiction, the physical symptoms of dependence and withdrawal have to be treated. Vicoprofen withdrawal isn’t typically deadly, but opioid withdrawal can be uncomfortable and difficult. Without a professional Vicoprofen medical detox, the chance of using Vicoprofen again is higher than it would be with a professional detox. 

During a Vicoprofen medical detox, patients have around-the-clock care and supervision from both physical and mental healthcare professionals. Certain medications are FDA-approved to help with opioid withdrawal and detox, such as buprenorphine and naltrexone. Other medicines can be prescribed during a medical detox to treat symptoms as needed.

Inpatient Vicoprofen Rehab

During inpatient Vicoprofen rehab, the participant lives in a residential facility. The facility must be licensed and provide intensive, structured care. 

Participants in a residential, inpatient Vicoprofen rehab will usually be treated holistically. They may participate in group therapy, individual therapy, family sessions and oftentimes supplemental therapies. The environment is highly organized, and there is consistent support and supervision. 

Within the larger category of inpatient rehabs, there are different types. For example, a therapeutic community is a longer-term structured program, where participants may live there for six months or a year. There are shorter inpatient Vicoprofen rehab programs available as well where participants begin with detox and then move into intensive counseling and therapeutic treatment. 

Recovery housing is a transitional step for most people. They may start with inpatient, intensive treatment and then move into recovery housing. This form of treatment has less supervision and structure, allowing for more independence but still a strong sense of support.

Outpatient Vicoprofen Rehab

Outpatient Vicoprofen rehab is an option that can be beneficial for people as well, particularly if they haven’t previously tried other treatment options. Outpatient Vicoprofen rehab will usually include intensive counseling and therapy sessions held throughout the week. Unlike inpatient rehab, participants can keep going to work or school, and they can continue living in their home environment. 

Most outpatient Vicoprofen rehab programs will focus on cognitive behavioral therapy, but different approaches may be used. Some of the less intensive outpatient rehabs will be focused mostly on drug education, while more intensive programs can require participation in several sessions a week, all lasting for several hours.

If you want to take the first step toward recovery or just learn more for yourself or a loved one, our Recovery Advocates are available now to talk.

How Long Does Vicoprofen Stay in Your System?

Vicoprofen can stay in your system for much longer than you feel the analgesic effects of the drug. This is because it can take many hours for your body to clear Vicoprofen. Traces of the drug may be found in your system for much longer, and traces in your hair can be found for months after the last dose.

Half-Life of Vicoprofen

The half-life of Vicoprofen is a measure of how long it takes half a dose of the drug to leave a patient’s system. The half-life of hydrocodone is around 4.5 hours, while the half-life of ibuprofen is around 2.2 hours. It usually takes five half-lives for a drug to be fully eliminated from the patient’s system, meaning that it can take almost a full day for hydrocodone to leave your system.

Factors That Influence How Long Vicoprofen Stays in Your System

The half-lives of hydrocodone and ibuprofen listed above are estimates based on averages. Everyone is going to vary, at least slightly, in how long it takes their system to eliminate a drug like Vicoprofen. Factors that influence how long Vicoprofen stays in your system can include:

  • Weight
  • Body fat
  • Metabolism
  • Liver and kidney function
  • How long someone has been taking hydrocodone 
  • Whether someone has previously used other opioids
  • Dosage used
  • Medical conditions/overall health
  • Other medications or substances used
  • Alcohol use

How Long Does Vicoprofen Stay In Your Urine, Hair And Blood?

Vicoprofen might show up in a drug screening since it is an opioid. It’s believed hydrocodone may show up in a urine screening for up to three days after it’s used. The detection window may be shorter depending on the individual. In a blood test, Vicoprofen would probably only show up for a maximum of around 8.8 hours. Blood tests tend to have the shortest detection windows. In a hair test, a 1.5-inch hair sample can show the use of Vicoprofen for up to 90 days after usage.

Alternatives to Vicoprofen

Many different alternatives to Vicoprofen exist. You should talk to your doctor before attempting to switch to a different drug or add on therapy, as some treatments may not be appropriate for your needs. Alternative pain treatment options include:

  • Other opioids, including tramadol (Ultram) and oxycodone (Roxycodone)
  • Other opioid combination agents, like oxycodone/acetaminophen (Percocet) or hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin)
  • Over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve)
  • Prescription NSAIDs like diclofenac or high-dose ibuprofen
  • Topical over-the-counter analgesics like lidocaine, capsaicin and diclofenac
  • Nerve pain medications like gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • Antidepressant pain medications like duloxetine (Cymbalta) and amitriptyline

Get Help for Vicoprofen Abuse and Addiction Today

If you or a loved one struggles with Vicodin, you do not have to overcome your addiction alone. The Recovery Village is a top-rated rehab facility that can help you every step of the way as you overcome Vicoprofen and start a new, opioid-free life. Don’t wait: contact us today to see how we can help.

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Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

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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.