Updated on January 28, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
When you hear the word “opioid,” you might think of drugs like heroin and morphine. However, doctors prescribe opioids every day in the form of painkillers like Hysingla ER. Hysingla is made from hydrocodone, an opioid medication. Keep reading to learn more about Hysingla ER and how medical marijuana can act as a safer alternative.
Hysingla ER is a branded hydrocodone medication that comes in the form of a tablet. Doctors usually prescribe it to patients who need relief for severe, chronic pain. Hydrocodone medicines like Hysingla can also act as cough suppressants.
Side effects of Hysingla and hydrocodone include:
Patients should see a doctor immediately if they have any of the previous side effects for an extended period of time or to the point of extreme discomfort. If they experience one of the following symptoms, they should contact their physician regardless of length or severity:
Hydrocodone overdose can cause the user to stop breathing, so many patients who take it regularly are advised to have naloxone nearby, which can reverse this effect and save a life.
The manufacturers of Hysingla designed the drug to deter abuse. While it has up to 24 times the power of Vicodin, another hydrocodone medicine, its extended release makes it more difficult to become addicted or experience overdose. While abusers sometimes crush or chew hydrocodone tablets to get a stronger effect, Hysingla turns into a gel when smashed, making it hard to inject. However, Hysgingla is still an opioid medication, and opioids are highly addictive.
While some addictions happen because of recreational use, they can also occur with prescribed patients. Some people experience euphoria as a side effect of their prescription and become addicted to the feeling. In other cases, the patient doesn’t use the medication as directed, taking it too frequently or in higher doses. Patients can also underestimate the dangers of misusing Hysingla and become addicted due to not following directions.
Unfortunately, mistakes do happen, and hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed opioid in the United States. Doctors wrote almost 140 million prescriptions for hydrocodone medications in 2010. Even the most well-meaning patients can misuse a medication without realizing it. Plus, the wide availability of prescriptions means the drug itself is easily accessible to prescribed patients and non-patients alike. Considering all these factors, it’s no wonder how four million teens and adults abused hydrocodone in 2013.
Since even extended-release forms of hydrocodone have difficult-to-avoid dangers, we need to find an alternative painkiller that works just as well without the risks. But what if we’ve already found such an option? Medicinal marijuana can reduce the number of prescriptions written for Hysingla and lower the dosages of patients already on the medication.
Research spurred by increasing addiction rates for hydrocodone and other opioids show cannabis medicine can help lower them. After surveying 2897 medical marijuana patients, Reiman et al. found 97 percent of patients who took opioids could reduce their dosage. Additionally, 87 percent of the opioid patients felt taking marijuana medicine on its own would work more effectively than opioids.
Medical marijuana is a useful tool in the fight against addiction to opioids like Hysingla. Our guide to opioid dependence and medicinal cannabis can teach you more about its effectiveness.
Check out our resources on specific opiates and medical marijuana: