Vicodin is one of the most wildly prescribed painkillers used to treat moderate to sever pain. Vicodin is part of the hydrocodone family of pain medicines. Other popular painkillers which contain hydrocodone are Lortab, Norco, and Lorcet. Many people take these medicines not actually knowing what they are or what they contain. In this brief article we'll answer the question of, is vicodin an opiate?
Let's first examine in short detail what an opiate is. For a substance to be an actual opiate it has to get it's main properties from the opium poppy plant. A few medicines which qualify under these conditions are thebain, codeine, and morphine. Heroin, an illegal drug is also a known opiate. Painkillers in the opiate or opioid family work by blocking the pain receptors through the effect the drugs have on the central nervous system.
Vicodin is classified as a symi-synthic opioid. In general drugs in this class are also commonly referred to as opiates or symi-synthic opiates. Think of an opiate as a natural substance which come entirely from the poppy plant and an copied as a manmade substance created to mirror the effects of opiates. While this definition is not 100% accurate it's a simple way for laymen to get an idea of the difference between and opiate and an opioid.
Is vicodin an opiate? We'll it depends on who you ask. Some medical professionals classify opioids and opiates as the same. While others make a distinction between the two. In my non-medical opinion I would say yes, vicodin is an opiate, however, it is classified as an opioid.
This is a common problem between the terms opiate and opioid. They are basically one in the same as far as medical proprieties and use are concerned. The only difference is the chemical make-up of the drugs.
Vicodin and other opiates or opioids in this family usually contain both acetaminophen and hydorcodone. Acetaminophen is a non-opiate and less effective for pain than hydrocodone which is an opiate.
Vicodin is a combination of these two drugs which leads many to call vicodin an opioid. Still others will refer to vicodin as an opiate. Confusing I know, but this is how these drugs are classified which makes answering the question of is vicodin an opiate a difficult one.
In summary, unless you're studying pharmacology or writing a research paper on these two terms it's really not important whether you call vicodin an opiate or opioid. The two terms for practical purposes describe the same substance only in slightly different forms. Doctors treating patients for opiate withdrawal or opioid withdrawal will use the same methods no matter what they choose to call the drugs.
It's almost like the old saying you say tomato, i say tomato. It's a matter of personal preference in most medical circles as to how they classify vicodin or other drugs in this family.