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Breathing Problem May Be Linked to Pain Medicine

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Q. I have back problems and have been taking Vicodin daily for pain. The last six months, my breathing has been terrible. I’d have to stop and catch my breath with any little thing.
I’ve been off Vicodin for a week and my breathing is much better. Could the Vicodin be responsible?

A. The prescription pain reliever Vicodin contains acetaminophen and the narcotic hydrocodone. According to the manufacturer, in sensitive people or at high doses, hydrocodone can produce respiratory depression and irregular breathing. We don’t know if that is what you experienced, but you should report it to your physician.

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With back pain, you may pursue (i don't like the term) alternative treatments from a chiropractor or acupuncutist. They often work wonders where traditional medicine fails. I wish the chiropractors and acupuncturists were people's first choice, and they go to M.D.s only when the more 'natural' methods were proven to be ineffective. This is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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