Norco Dosages And Strength Chart

Last Updated: December 18, 2019

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Norco dosing varies for each patient depending on the severity of pain, age, weight, patient response to the treatment, prior analgesic experience, and if there is a risk factor for misuse, abuse, or addiction. The treatment starts with the lowest Norco dose to assess its effectiveness.

Norco Forms And Strengths

The drug is available in three strengths.
Norco strength chart:

  • Norco 5/325: 5 mg of hydrocodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen
  • Norco 7.5/325: 7.5 mg of hydrocodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen
  • Norco 10/325: 10 mg of hydrocodone and 325 mg of acetaminophen

Norco medicine is available in the form of light-orange tablets, debossed with “NORCO® 729” on one side and bisected on the other side. Depending on the strength, the drug can be purchased in bottles of 30, 100, or 500 tablets.

Adult Dosage

Norco dosing should be adjusted depending on the patient’s response to the treatment and the severity of the pain. It should be noted that tolerance can develop when the treatment extends for an extended period and that the incidence of side-effects is dose-related.
Initial dosage for adults

  • Norco 5/325 – one or two tablets every 4-6 hours without exceeding eight tablets per day
  • Norco 7.5/325 and Norco 10/325 – one tablet every 4-6 hours without exceeding six tablets per day

Pediatric Dosage

The effectiveness and safety of this drug in children under 12 years old is not established, therefore the drug is not recommended until this age. The drug can be replaced with liquid forms of other similar medications.

The accidental ingestion of this drug by children can lead to respiratory depression and death.

Geriatric Dosage

For people over 60 years old the recommended dosage is:

  • Norco 5/325 – one or two tablets every 4-6 hours without exceeding eight tablets per day
  • Norco 7.5/325 and Norco 10/325 – one tablet every 4-6 hours without exceeding six tablets per day

Although the Norco dosing is the same as the one for adults, monitoring and management precaution is needed to avoid the occurrence of pulmonary respiratory depression, renal impairment, hypertension, delirium, and confusion. Extra caution is needed especially if the drug is given concomitantly with other drugs.

senior man taking a pill

Dosage Adjustments For Specific Groups

Certain groups of patients need Norco dosage adjustments due to other pre-existing illnesses or increased sensitivity.

People over 65 years old might present increased sensitivity to this drug, therefore caution is needed when selecting the correct dosage. Doctors usually start at the lowest dosing range, especially if another drug therapy is on course to prevent respiratory depression and problems with renal function.

Patients with hepatic impairment and renal impairment also require caution because they have higher plasma hydrocodone concentrations. The patient should start with the lowest initial dose, and close monitoring is needed to prevent adverse effects, among which sedation and respiratory depression.

How To Take A Dose

The tablets should be taken by mouth, with or without food. The tablet should be swallowed whole, with milk or water. For patients who experience nausea as a side effect of the medication, it is recommended to take the drug with food or milk.

Take the treatment precisely as prescribed, following the directions on the prescription. Do not increase the Norco dose and do not take the medication for longer than prescribed, to prevent the risk of side effects, developing an addiction or an overdose.

What if One Missed a Dose

If the drug is taken as needed, this means that the patient is not on a dosing schedule. Therefore, if a dose is missed, take the next one when necessary.

If the patient is taking this drug regularly and a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible. But, if it is close to the time for the next Norco dose, the missed one should be skipped to avoid a double dose.

Overdose On Norco

If the patient takes more than the recommended Norco dosage, an overdose might occur. An overdose can be dangerous and even fatal. Therefore, immediate medical attention is needed. If the patient suspects that an overdose has occurred, they should call an ambulance right away. An overdose can be fatal.

The risk of an overdose is higher in a person that takes this drug with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other central nervous system depressants.

How long does Norco stay in the body system? Norco can stay in the system for almost three days. Knowing this can help the patient prevent an overdose and also avoid alcohol and other medications that can interact with the drug.

woman overdosed on Norco

Signs And Symptoms Of Norco Overdose

The first symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Norco headache
  • Nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • confusion

Later symptoms include:

  • Jaundice
  • pain in the upper stomach
  • extreme drowsiness
  • dark urine
  • weak pulse
  • cold skin
  • pinpoint pupils
  • slowed heart rate
  • fainting

These symptoms are similar to Norco withdrawals when tolerance to the drug is developed.

The acute symptoms include:

  • skeletal muscle flaccidity
  • constricted pupils
  • partial or total airway obstruction
  • respiratory depression
  • pulmonary edema
  • lethargy turning into stupor or coma
  • hypotension
  • bradycardia
  • death

Lethal Dose Of Norco

The amount of the drug that could lead to a deadly dose depends on each patient’s unique metabolic factors, such as weight, age, liver and kidney health, physical status, how the body processes the drug and opioid tolerance. For example, the same dose given to an opioid-tolerant person may cause a lethal overdose in a person who is not used to opioid use.

This drug comes with a black box warning for abuse, addiction, and misuse. Some of the top-rated addiction treatment centers have patients who are addicted to this drug, many of them purchasing the medication on the street. The street value of Norco varies from 5$ to 20$ a pill.

Extreme Caution Required When Taking This Drug

The dosage is different for each patient and the prescription will be given only after a careful examination and evaluation. That is why it is crucial that the patient should follow precisely the recommended dosage and the directions of use.

The dosage should not be changed by the patient in any way. The drug has an increased risk of misuse, abuse, and addiction, so the doctor will prescribe the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration. Each patient should be closely monitored, especially at the beginning of the treatment, and after the increase in dose.

For those who abuse the drug, there are several efficient treatment options for addiction. Many clinics offer efficient and safe substance abuse detox for such patients.

Page Sources

  1. Molina DK, Hargrove VM. What is the lethal concentration of hydrocodone?: a comparison of postmortem hydrocodone concentrations in lethal and incidental intoxications.Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2011 Jun;32(2):108-11.
  2. Susan Seago, Jessica Pruszynski, Megan Greene Newman. Change in prescription habits after federal rescheduling of hydrocodone combination products. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2016 Jul; 29(3): 268–270.
  3. Theresa A. Cassidy, Natasha Oyedele, Travis C. Mickle, Sven Guenther, Simon H. Budman. Patterns of abuse and routes of administration for immediate‐release hydrocodone combination products. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2017 Sep; 26(9): 1071–1082.

Published on: November 7th, 2019

Updated on: December 18th, 2019

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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