Hydrocodone for pain relief

I have just broken a bone in my foot. I was given a prescription for Lorcet-HD, which the pharmacist substituted with Hydrocodone/APAP 5/500 Tablets. I may take one or two capsules every eight hours for pain. My daughter is eight months old and nurses only twice a day (early morning and late evening). Will this medication have any effect on her?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Sorry to hear that you've broken a bone. Hydrocodone is a prescription medication containing both narcotic analgesics and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone/APAP 5/500 contains 5 mg. of hydrocodone and 500 mg. of acetaminophen. It is similar to codeine, but more potent.

When starting the medication you might want to try using the lower recommended dose (1 tablet) to see if you will obtain the pain relief needed. In Hale's, Medications and Mother's Milk 1996, he states, "one author suggests that doses of 5 mg. every four hours or more has a minimal effect on nursing infants, particularly older infants."

Hydrocodone peaks in your bloodstream at 1.3 hours after dosage. Since your daughter only nurses two times a day, it should be quite easy to space your medication in such a way that you lessen the chance of her exposure. You might want to take one dose immediately after her morning feed, and then again after her evening feed. This drug has a fairly short half-life of 3.8 hours, which means that there is not much likelihood of a significant amount of this drug being present almost 12 hours later when you nurse your baby.

You will probably only need to use this strong pain medication for a few days so your baby will not have long-term exposure. With your Health Care Provider's okay, ibuprofen can then be used as needed for pain relief. Best wishes for a rapid recovery!

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