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Vicoden and Alcohol/Liver Damage
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Vicoden and Alcohol/Liver Damage

Hey guys, I am still new to this forum so I am doing my best to help out. I have a question I should know the answer to based on my education and past drug abuse, but to be honest it scares the hell out of me. I heard that if you drink alcohol while you take Vicodin you have a good chance of getting liver damage. My question is how long does it take for this to happen and what are the signs if you have it. I'm really scared to ask my doctor about this b/c I abused Vicoden for so many years and drank alot of alcohol with it at times. Sometimes I feel pain down in that area. I really think my liver is shot from all the years of abuse. I hope not. I know your liver can heal to a certain extent, I just hope I'm not past that point. Let me know if anyone has encountered anything like this. I would appreciate any comments. Thanks guys!  
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11 Comments Post a Comment
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216339_tn?1197058714
Hey
I am addicted to hydrocodone 7.5/500 i take up to seven at a time all day up to 40 pills a day i am very asshamed of this but i wonder the same thing i get severe pain in that area as well and i do have a "yellowish" tint underneath my eyes i am very worried about it too. Just wanted to let you know i cant really answer you question but i am in the same boat ~Chros
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271792_tn?1334983257
The liver can absolutely sustain damage from drug or alcohol use. It depends on the person and it depends on the amount. Everyone's body is different. I do know that the liver can only process a small amount per hour..for example: it can only process one ounce of alcohol per hour. So, if you have two drinks with three ounces of alcohol, your liver can only process 1/3 of those drinks in an hour. I honestly don't lnow how fast, or slow, it processes the acetaminophen.

If you see "hopeless" around the forum, ask her the question. She had problems with her liver a while back and I am certain she can answer that question for you.

I never experienced pain in that area but I would imagine that it is your body trying to tell you something. I would listen. Also, I go every six months for blood work. A simple blood test can determine your liver function.

Take care.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks. I am going to ask her for sure. I am scared to go to the doctor and find out! I hate this type of thing!
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267206_tn?1189759435
Fladdict is very knowedgeable on this subject.  There are OTC supplements you can take to improve liver function and help it to heal.  They include an herb called "milk thistle" available at any good drugstore or health food/vitamin store.

Other advice from Fladdict (Fladdict, many thanks for the following -- all credit goes to you; I'm simply passing along your knwledge, which I quote below):

"L-cysteine is an amino acid that protects the liver; use as directed on label.

"Garlic tablets or caspules are a great detoxer for the whole body.. even can kill parasites that live in the intestinal tract.

"Alpha Lipoic Acid is another great detoxifier... its an antioxidant that has detoxing properties.

"Vitamin C is huge.. for everything.. most people thinks it just keeps you from getting sick.. but it is needed by almost every function in the body.. including tissue growth and repair. It also aids in the production of anti stress hormones. Pain pills cause a depletion of Vitamin C in the body.. Ester C in a buffered form is best.. I would take at least 1000mgs a day split into a few doses."

Me again: If you're experiencing symptoms (pain/enlargement of the liver, yellowing/ jaundice of the skin and/ or whites of the eyes), please have your liver function tested right away.  Your physician must be made aware of this so she/he can help.

I am acquanted with someone who had compromised his liver so severely with alcohol that he was bright yellow, almost as though he had been spray-tanned, but with the wrong color -- school bus yellow.  This was 3 years ago.  Today, he is healthy, sober and working a full-time job.  I'm sure his liver isn't 100% and never will be, but it DID heal itself to the point where he feels, looks and acts pefectly healthy.  So there IS hope for those of us who have abused substances that damage the liver.  Best of luck to you!  Mike

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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much for your advice Mike. I heard Milk Thistle is supposed to be real good, but I appreciate the advice on the other options as well. I am going to take this advice to heart, and follow through on buying these products, and trying to eat healthier. I will go get checked out as well. I am scared to tell my doctor I need a liver test. I don't want to hear something is wrong. It would devastate me. I really do think I have some kind of liver problem, probably not life threatening, but possibly some damage from combining my Vicodin and alcohol abuse over the years. I know both are hard on your liver, but combining the two is even worse, and that's what I did for quite awhile.

I get pain down there sometimes, and I know that is not normal. I notice it more when I drink a few beers. It feels like the alcohol is flowing through my liver, and my liver is saying "no, what the hell are you doing to me!" It's not severe chronic pain, but it's noticeable from time to time, and occasionally I will get a quick, sharp pain in that area. It really scares me, and I have no-one to blame but myself if something is wrong.  I still like to drink, but not to the point of blowing myself out of the water. It's just an occasional thing, one or two days a week, esp. during football, I probably down about six to eight beers in one day. However, I don't know if I should be drinking at all b/c of my past drug abuse with Vicodin and combining it with alcohol. I am older now, and I just enjoy some beers on Saturdays and Sundays when I don't have to work. I would really hate to think that I can't ever drink again b/c my liver is screwed up. I just wonder if I am already making a precarious situation worse. I know you can have partial cirrhosis of the liver and still live a normal life.

The liver is a large organ, capable of heeling , but if you have full blown cirrhosis or serious liver damage, that ends up being a terminal condition that will eventually kill you. My wife's father died from cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol abuse three years ago. He had it for over 10 years but kept drinking even after he was diagnosed. It was horrible, and once you are diagnosed with it, there is not much that can be done. If you lay off the drinking and drugs you will retard its progression, but eventually it will kill you no matter what, unless you only have partial cirrhosis. I did some research on this, and people with partial cirrhosis of the liver can actually live a full life if they lay off the drinking and eat healthy. The liver has a very large reserve tank to refuel itself, and as long as the scar tissue has not spread throughout your entire organ, you can survive. Pretty amazing! In fact, I read on average it takes an individual to drink about a pint of whiskey every day for ten years to get some kind of cirrhosis. This is just an average statistical point I read in one of my college drug books. I think I have beat this number in more than one way. I hope not. It really varies from person to person, based on diet, excersise, and lifestyle, in addition to the drinking part.

If you get full-blown cirrhosis of the liver it can take 15 years or more before you die , and I don't even want to think about something like that. I don't think I have full blown cirrhosis or maybe not cirrhosis at all, but I do think I have some kind of possible liver damage, maybe. That scares me, and I am going to do anything I can to take care of myself. I smoke alot of cigarettes, and occasionally smoke pot, but I have laid off the real hard stuff. Some alcohol here and there. Thank you for all your advice. Pls keep the comments and suggestions coming, and I will keep you updated. I plan on going to the doctor within the next week or so. Pray for me. Thanks guys!          
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267206_tn?1189759435
You're most welcome!  May offer some unsolicited advice?  If possible, I suggest you remove any and all alcohol consumption from your "diet" until the results of the liver tests come back, especially because of the symptoms you experience when you drink beer.  The liver can heal itself -- but it needs to be "left alone" for an extended period of time in order to do so.  All I want for you -- and everyone in this forum -- is for us to regain our physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health.  Again, please let us know what you find out.  Best of luck to you!  Mike
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Avatar_n_tn
Seems to me that you might have the start of a liver disease. The max. reccomended dose of acetaminophen is 4000 mg/ per 24 hrs. this would be 8 of them Lortabs you are taking up to 40 of a day. Do me a favor and please try to cut down or move to something with less acetaminophen. Norco 10/325 is hydrocodone 10mg and acetaminophen 325, thus to equal your daily doses of hydro you will need to take 25-30 to equal 30-40 Lortabs and you still would be then more than doubling the max apap dose per day. This is very dangerous!!!! I cannot stress that enough! I was addicted to opiates and i preffered painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone but in pills with apap I had to take so many that it would make me sick from the apap. You need to have LFT's (liver function tests) done right away, I scared you may have cirhosis of the liver and that yellow under your eyes is juandice, which is our body's way telling us our liver is sick. I have hep c and i am only 24 yrs. old and it has been progressed from me being in your same situation. Please go to your doctor and tell him or her about your problem and maybe they can put you on something like Roxicodone if you have pain, it comes in 30mg tabs of oxycodone and no apap and 1 q 4hrs should do it, or methadone might help. But whatever you do, plz cut back on the pills with acetiminophen(apap), I'm scared you may get hurt.
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Avatar_n_tn
Oh yea, don't be ashamed, almost 1,000,000 americans have problems with prescription drugs, most just don't seek help or admit it. Plz let me know how you are!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi guys. I have been off the forum for a few days. Went to the doctor and got a liver test done. Good and not so good. I do have slight liver damage, but not too serious. I am lucky. I have to lay off the booze for awhile and that is going to be tough. It's not cirrohis but minor scaring on one side of my liver. The doctor told me that your liver can actually function fully as long as you don't have over half of it damaged. Some of it will heal, but not all of it. I don't remember what he called the "bubble spots" on my liver, but I am pretty scared still. I like to drink, but most of this resulted from my pill abuse over the years. I should be fine, but I have to back off. This is going to be a real test for me. He has put me on a strict diet for now and recommended some vitamin supplements to speed up the healing process, but only time will tell. At least I am not going to die, unless I engage in my bad habits. I have to fight, so please pray for me. I am strong, but I am human and can slip at any time. I knew something was wrong, but just denied it for a long time. Thanks for all the advice and support and I will keep you informed on what is going on as time goes by.  
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Avatar_n_tn
HI teenutz,,,,I too was taking vics ,for the past 4-5 years ,,,,I went from 3-4 a day  to 7-8 maybe more. About 3 months ago I started having that same pain in the lower back,sometimes it was just a
noticible ache,,,other times a VERY sharp pain .This ,,combined with what I like to call 'THE MERRY GO ROUND FROM HELL" each month,,,constantly running out ,,That sick feeling when I would look in the pill bottle and see 5 left ,,THe NOT getting the BUZZZ like i used too ,just feeling normal after 4 vics at atime were all reasons why I deceided to try and quit.
I quit drinking when I was 28 ,,for 15 years before starting on the vics,, I was totally clean. Last year I started to drink again ,once again looking for that BUZZ< ,, pillls with booze helped me get to where i wanted to be.
Today is day 25 for me off of everything. I still feel a twinge in my lower back,BUT not like it used to be. I know i should go to the docs,but am also afraid to hear the news right now. I think if i went and he said " YES your livers shot,it would set my sick addictive thinking mind back in motion,and I would say to myself "Oh well your gone anyway so why not just go get high ??" I will however try the milk thistle as I read in above post.
I do want to add that although I still crave ,,at times A LOT ,to use again,I am starting to feel "Normal" like I used to without having to have 4 vics in me! thanks to all who post here ,,it has been my resource for not using period. Good luck to all Tom
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Avatar_m_tn
Good post. Thank you for sharing with me. I am so happy you are making progress. I was so terrified about my liver. I know it's scary, but go ahead and get the test done if you think there is any possibility there may be something wrong. Better to catch it now than later. Your liver will most likely heel if you don't abuse any substances. It's not easy to get cirrohis of the liver, it takes alot of abuse over the years. Hang in there and get checked out. Chances are you are fine, but even if something is wrong you can at least treat it now. Keep me informed. Take care!
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279300_tn?1326750278
if you sustain liver damage and have abstained from alcohol and tylenol narcotics. anything with tylenol will damage the liver above 3000mg/day. along with alcohol this will develop slowly and varies from person to person. the liver is able to repair itself. one of the only organs that is capable of this. only if you abstain from the damaging products. once abstinence is reached it could take up to 1 year or more for your liver to repair itself. that is if it has not sustained irrepairable damage. a lft blood test from your physician should give you an accurate account on your liver function and/or damage so you will know how to proceed
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Avatar_m_tn
sort of odd that it is not the narcotic that is causing the damage but the tylanol- separating the hydrocodeine will cause far less damage (narcotics are water soluble

as far as your liver- if you are young enough and stay away from that lifestyle- the organ will repair itself

good luck
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