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The Effects of Vicodin & Caffeine

By Jae Allen

Vicodin and caffeine are both used in pain control. Caffeine is widely available in foods, beverages and energy drinks, but vicodin is available only by prescription. If you have been prescribed vicodin, tell your doctor about your typical caffeine intake and ask whether it is safe to continue consuming caffeine while taking vicodin.


Vicodin is the brand name of a prescription drug containing both hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is commonly prescribed as a painkiller for moderate to severe pain. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain medication; hydrocodone is in the class of narcotic painkillers available in the U.S. only with a doctor's prescription. Hydrocodone functions to relieve pain by causing changes to the pain response in your nervous system and brain. Hydrocodone also functions to relieve coughing symptoms.

Vicodin Side Effects

According to MedLine Plus, an online resource of that National Institutes of Health, the potential side effects of vicodin include nausea, constipation, vomiting, feeling drowsy or dizzy, lightheadedness, anxiety, clouded thinking and judgment, extremes of mood, trouble urinating, dryness in the throat, development of a rash, and itching or a narrowing of the pupil in your eye. Serious potential side effects include chest tightness, slow breathing or irregular breathing. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of these serious side effects.


Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is present in coffee, tea, chocolate, and drinks or foods derived from these products. Caffeine is also used as a food additive in cola and pepper types of soda. Certain prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs contain caffeine, including certain painkillers and supplements intended for weight loss. Caffeine functions to give a temporary boost to your body's metabolism and stimulates the central nervous system. When you take caffeine, you typically feel an increase in alertness and a temporary boost in energy levels.

Caffeine and Vicodin Combined

Caffeine has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system, while the hydrocodone vicodin dulls or slows the functioning of your nervous system. Caffeine may counteract some of the drowsiness or sleepiness commonly experienced as a side effect of vicodin. The acetaminophen in vicodin, like caffeine, may upset your stomach. Gastrointestinal side effects of caffeine and vicodin use can be reduced if you take your medicine and your caffeine together with milk or food. Although a moderate caffeine consumption is safe for most people while taking vicodin, it is possible that caffeine could increase the anxiety experienced by some people as a side effect of vicodin.

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