Difference Between Hydrocodone and Norco


Hydrocodone and Norco are both pain killers. They both come in various strengths. Both are a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Pill for pill, prescribed in the same strength, they are the same medication simply labeled differently and manufactured by different companies.

Many people are under the impression that hydrocodone and Norco are the same medication. That is actually not true. Hydrocodone is a narcotic made from hydrocodone. It is opium, which originates from the poppy plant. It is very potent and is very effective in the control of pain.


Norco has hydrocodone in it. But like Vicodin, and Lortab it is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not added to weaken the hydrocodone. Acetaminophen actually makes the hydrocodone work better. This is where the confusion comes in. The generic Vicodin and Lortab are labeled as hydrocodone. It is the hydrocodone/acetaminophen mixture. So Norco, Vicodin and Lortab are the same medication. The difference is Lortab and Vicodin come in more strengths.

Taken correctly and under the supervision of a qualified doctor these medications are safe to use. However, they do carry some risk. Hydrocodone works on the brain. It gives the patient a feeling of well-being. So it not only relieves your pain, it also makes you feel great! The problem is it makes some people feel too good. As your body adjusts to the medication, it requires more of the hydrocodone to maintain the same feeling. If the medication is increased, the cycle repeats itself until again, you need more hydrocodone. If you are taking Norco, as you increase the hydrocodone, you are consuming more acetaminophen. Over time the acetaminophen can cause liver damage.

Going off the medication without the assistance of a qualified medical professional is very difficult. A person could go through withdrawal. During that time the initial pain they were treating seems much worse as the body fights back trying to get the drug.

These medications should be used cautiously and under strict medical supervision. They should never be shared and they are only to be taken as prescribed as and never for longer than needed for pain control.


Under the brand name Norco, there are two strengths:

Norco 7.5 is 7.5 mg hydrocodone and 325 mg acetaminophen. Norco 10 is 10 mg hydrocodone and 325 mg acetaminophen.

Lortab / Vicodin are marked the same way. The lower number is the mg of hydrocodone and the higher number is the mg of the acetaminophen. They come as follows:

2.5 mg/500 mg
5 mg/500 mg
7.5 mg / 325 mg
7.5 mg/500 mg
7.5 mg/650 mg
7.5 mg/750 mg
10 mg/325 mg
10 mg/500 mg
10 mg/650 mg
10 mg/660 mg
10 mg/750 mg