The Difference Between Norco and Vicodin That You Must Know

Norco and Vicodin are both pain killers which are made up of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone or hydrocodone bitartrate is an opioid pain reliever used to provide relief in moderate to severe pain by changing the response of the nervous system and the brain (1). Whereas, acetaminophen is mild to moderate pain reliever which belongs to a class of medication called analgesic and antipyretics (2). It works by changing the response of body towards pain and also catalyzes the effect of hydrocodone. Both the painkillers contain same compounds and are available in tablet form for oral administration. As these drugs have opioid so, one should take them only after the doctor’s prescription. Besides the similarities, these medicines do have certain differences like: forms of the tablet and percentage of the compounds, storage temperature, dosages. To know more about the differences, go through the content below:

Differences between Norco and Vicodin

1. Forms of Medicine

There are three kinds of Norco tablets that are available i.e. Norco 5/325, Norco 7.5/325 and Norco 10/325. While Vicodin is of 6 types: Vicodin 5/300, Vicodin ES 7.5/300, Vicodin ES 7.5/750, Vicodin HP 10/300, Vicodin 5/500 and Vicodin 10/660.

Different forms of Norco

  • Norco 5/325
    This drug is a composition of 5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 325 mg of acetaminophen.
  • Norco 7.5/325
    Norco 7.5/325 as the name suggests, has 7.5 mg hydrocodone bitartrate and 325 mg of acetaminophen.
  • Norco 10/325
    This variant of the drug contains 10 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 325 mg of acetaminophen.

Different Forms of Vicodin

  • Vicodin 5 mg/300 mg
    This is the most common form of Vicodin and this tablet consists of 5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 300 mg of acetaminophen.
  • Vicodin ES 7.5 mg/300 mg
    The second variant of the drug, i.e. 7.5/300 contains 7.5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 300 mg of acetaminophen.
  • Vicodin HP 10 mg/300 mg
    This drug contains 10 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 300 mg of acetaminophen.
  • Vicodin 5 mg/500 mg
    This drug is a composition of 5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 500 mg of acetaminophen.
  • Vicodin ES 7.5 mg/ 750mg
    This is made up of 7.5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 750 mg of acetaminophen.
  • Vicodin HP 10 mg/660 mg
    This is the last type of Vicodin which consists of 10 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and 660 mg of acetaminophen.

Note: HP and ES here depict that the drug marked with ES has more acetaminophen content whereas HP contains more hydrocodone content (which is more potent) and that is why the maximum dosages are different for both.

2. Storage

The Norco tablets are stored at controlled room temperature which is between 15o to 30o (59o to 86o F) (3). The Vicodin tablets, on the other hand, are stored at temperatures ranging from 20o to 25o (or 68o to 77o F) (4).

3. Dosage

Note that the dosages should be taken according to the severity of the pain.

The intake of acetaminophen should not exceed 4000 mg per day.


An adult can consume one tablet of Norco with a gap of 4 to 6 hours, not exceeding 8 tablets in a day.


The usual dosage of Vicodin 5/300 for an adult is one to two tablets every 4 to 6 hours, up to a maximum of 8 tablets, daily. One should not consume more than 5 tablets of Vicodin ES 7.5/750 per day.

An adult can consume up to a maximum of 6 tablets per day of other Vicodin tablets, with a gap of 4 to 6 hours in between.

Note: The patients who are hypersensitive to hydrocodone or acetaminophen must avoid using these tablets.

4. Side Effects

There are many side effects of these drugs, if not administered properly. These side effects are:

  • Drowsiness, mental clouding, dizziness, lethargy, psychic dependence, mood swings, and other problems related to the central nervous system.
  • Respiratory depression.
  • Hearing impairment or complete loss.
  • Skin allergies, rashes, pruritus, and various other dermatological problems.
  • Genitourinary system problems such as: Ureteral spasm, spasm of vesical sphincters.
  • Problems related to the gastrointestinal system like nausea, vomiting, constipation, etc.
  • Fever, headache, swelling, dry mouth, increased sweating, etc.

Some of the mentioned side effects do not require any medication but, if they persist for a long time, consult your doctor.

5. Warnings

As both the drugs have same components, the points of caution for both the drugs are largely same and have same essential warnings.

  • Do not consume Norco if you have consumed MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days.
  • If you have recently consumed sedatives, tranquilizers, alcohols, other narcotics, then you should avoid consuming these tablets.
  • Misuse, overuse of the medicine can cause addiction or may even lead to death.
  • An overdose of acetaminophen can cause severe damage to the liver which may result in death.
  • Before taking the medicines, make it sure that you tell your doctor about your health conditions, especially if you have any diseases like blood pressure, kidney disease, diarrhea, colostomy or ileostomy, asthma, history of head injury, brain tumor, etc., to ensure that it is safe to consume the drugs.
  • Also, if you have a bowel obstruction, severe constipation, history of alcoholism or drug addiction, cirrhosis, COPD, sleep apnea, or other breathing disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, you must consult a doctor before consuming these drugs.
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