When you find a pill and don’t know what it is, you need to know what it is before anyone takes it accidentally. We want you to have the accurate information you need to make decisions quickly when you need to.
What Is a Watson 3203 Pill?
Watson 3203, a generic prescription drug, is a narcotic analgesic combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate.
In appearance, it is a white and oval-shaped pill with its brand name imprinted on it. Manufactured by Watson Laboratories, Inc., which is a subsidiary of ATeva Pharmaceuticals Limited, it is used to treat chronic pain related to various health disorders.
Ingredients in a Watson 3203 Pill
The pill contains the following two active ingredients: 325 mg of acetaminophen and 7.5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate.
It also has the following inactive ingredients: croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, crospovidone, povidone, microcrystalline cellulose, corn starch, and stearic acid.
What Is Watson 3203 Pill Used For?
Since the drug has the same ingredients as prescription drugs like Anexsia, Lorcet Plus, and Vicodin, it reduces or eliminates pain that cannot be mitigated with over-the-counter medications.
For this reason, it is often given to patients who have moderate or severe pain and who may have painful health disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or back pain. The medicine in Watson 3203 pills has also been found helpful for pain related to cancer.
Although many elderly patients have many of the health issues that Watson 3203 could mitigate, it is generally not recommended for geriatric use because those 65 years or older are more sensitive to the core ingredients in these pills, namely acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate.
Consequently, physicians are advised to use an abundance of caution and if they decide it is the best available solution, should only recommend low doses. Elderly patients risk respiratory depression, as well as possible damage to cardiac, renal, or hepatic functions.
How Watson 3203 Pills Work
Because this medication is a narcotic and analgesic combination, the hydrocodone bitartrate offers the benefits of a narcotic while the acetaminophen the benefits of an analgesic.
What’s more, the American Journal of Medicine has come to the conclusion that a narcotic-analgesic combination is far more effective than if you doubled the dose of the narcotic alone or the analgesic alone and then took them separately.
The drug works on the opioid receptors and the prostaglandins. Hydrocodone, a semisynthetic narcotic, works in a similar way to codeine.
It affects the central nervous system as well as the smooth muscles. It binds opioid receptors to block the sensation of pain.
Meanwhile, acetaminophen, which provides the analgesic effect, has a peripheral influence. It inhibits the effects of prostaglandins, which are an inflammatory condition created by cyclooxygenase(COX-2) enzymes.
Side Effects of Watson 3203 Pills
Besides relieving patients of moderate to severe pain, this pill may also produce side-effects.
These are not exclusive to Watson 3203 but can occur with the use of any acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate medication. Often the side-effects are only temporary, a result of the body adjusting to the new drug.
However, if they persist past their estimated time of duration, or if a patient finds them intolerable, it’s advisable to check with a health care provider. The side-effects appear worse for patients who are active and ambulatory and appear to diminish when they rest and lie down.
General Side Effects
Some common side effects include the following:
- Low blood pressure
- Dry mouth
Besides the side-effects listed above, other side-effects are also possible. It may cause:
- Lethargy, cognitive impairment, and dysphoria
- Ureteral spasms and urinary retention
- Respiratory depression
- Skin rash, pruritus, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP), and epidermal necrolysis (TEN)
In most instances, adverse side-effects are rare, and when they do appear, they are due to hypersensitivity or to higher doses than the patient can tolerate. If the dose is not reduced, it could result in serotonin syndrome or adrenal insufficiency.
Still, despite the fact that these more severe side effects are rare, patients should be informed about them so they can alert their doctor if they appear.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Patients should see a doctor when they experience chronic pain, as this is usually an indication of some deeper underlying health problem that could be assuaged with Watson 3203.
How Should You Take Watson 3203 Pills?
After an examination, the doctor or health care provider will determine the right dosage. These directions will also be on the prescription label.
The usual dose is 1 tablet every 4-6 hours as needed to assuage the pain. Daily dosage should never be more than 6 tablets.
Here are some common guidelines on how you should take Watson 3203 pills:
- Always make sure that the pills you receive from a pharmacy match the prescription. They should be both the same brand and the same type of pills your doctor prescribed.
- Store the medicine in a safe place, where others cannot access it. Also, store at room temperature. Do not place your bottle in a hot area or where there is moisture.
- Do not take more than prescribed. If the medicine does not relieve pain, consult your doctor rather than deciding to increase your dosage. An overdose can trigger a variety of side effects, damage the liver, and even prove fatal.
- Do not take it longer than prescribed. If the medicine stops working as effectively as before, consult your doctor rather than continuing to take it for longer than recommended.
- Do not share your pills with anyone who is experiencing pain because it is easy to misuse, often resulting in addiction and overdose. Overdosing can prove fatal. In fact, either selling or giving it away is illegal.
- Do not stop taking Watson 3203 unless following doctor’s orders. Dosage has to be gradually decreased to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Once you discontinue use, either use your pharmacist’s drug-take-back disposal program or, if there is no such option, flush it down the toilet. Do not risk keep the medicine around as it could be misused in the future by you or someone else.
Watson 3203 should not be used at all for patients who already have significant respiratory depression, have acute bronchial asthma, or who are hypersensitive to acetaminophen hydrocodone bitartrate, or other opioids.
Interactions: What Should You Avoid Taking with Watson 3203 Pills?
If you take Watson 3203, you should avoid taking the following recreational or prescribed drugs:
- Antianxiety agents
- Any CNS depressants
- MAO inhibitors
However, this is not an exhaustive list and you should be transparent with your doctor about all the recreational drugs, supplements, OTC medications, and prescription medication you are taking.
Risk of Addiction to Watson 3203 Pills
Since Watson 3203 contains hydrocodone bitartrate, in the United States, it is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance, which falls under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).
This means that it is considered to “have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
Since narcotic-analgesic combinations stimulate positive feelings and sensations, they are often misused and are considered both psychologically and physically addictive. Besides providing pain-relief, Watson 3203 can make you feel mildly euphoric, decrease your anxiety, and help you feel calm and relaxed.
However, you need increasingly higher amounts to keep getting these pleasant effects.
Overdose can result in severe health issues, and may even result in death.
In addition, an abrupt withdrawal will result in severe symptoms like panic attacks, nausea, and physical pain.
Withdrawal symptoms usually occur following abrupt cessation. A broad variety of symptoms are possible:
- Muscle aches
- Restlessness, anxiety, or agitation
- Runny nose and watering eyes
- Gastrointestinal distress like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
- Sweating, chills, and tremors
- Blurred vision
Watson 3203 Pills and Pregnancy
This medication is not recommended for pregnant women, as it can affect the fetus and cause neonatal adverse reactions in newborns.
Symptoms include a failure to gain normal weight, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, frequent crying at a high pitch, erratic sleep patterns, hyperactivity, and irritability.
Related Drugs or Medications to Watson 3203
Other drugs fall in the same class as Watson 3203, including Dilaudid (hydromorphone) Oxycontin, and any medications that use fentanyl.
Watson 3203 also has the same ingredients as its counterparts, Watson 3202 and Watson 853. While Watson 3203 contains 325 mg of acetaminophen and 7.5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate, Watson 3202 has 325 mg of acetaminophen and 5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate and Watson 853 has 325 mg of acetaminophen and 10 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate.
So, the only difference between Watson 3203 and Watson 3202 and Watson 853 is the hydrocodone bitartrate dosage. Watson 3202 has less and Watson 853 has more.
The effects of Watson 3203 have also been compared to Vicodin tablets. However, Vicodin has less acetaminophen, only 300 mg, and less hydrocodone bitartrate, only 5 mg. Still Vicodin ES is even closer to Watson 3203 because it has 7.5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate.
It’s important to emphasize that while Watson 3203 has been shown to be highly effective in helping patients with pain-related symptoms that can’t be assuaged with many other over-the-counter and prescription medications, considerable caution is required by both the physician and the patient when it comes to use.
The physician has to avoid the risk of over prescribing dosage or failing to monitor the patient’s reactions and the patient has to be vigilant about following doctor’s orders closely and not deviating from them.
Here are some of the risks possible with Watson 3203 when the physician does not use caution when prescribing it or patients intentionally or accidentally fail to follow directions:
- Risk of addiction, abuse, or misuse. This could occur if patient risk to acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate is not properly evaluated and patients are not monitored. It could also occur if patients do not follow doctor’s orders.
- Risk of respiratory depression. Physicians need to monitor for any signs of respiratory depression when patients first start using Watson 3203 or when their dosage is increased. This is especially applicable for those in extremely poor health or elderly patients.
- Respiratory depression is serious. It can be life-threatening and fatal.
- Risk of accidental ingestion. Patients need to safeguard their pills from ingestion by others in the household. This can be done by using a locked medicine cabinet, as well as getting rid of all tablets through a pharmacy’s drug-take-back disposal program. Abuse can lead to addiction, and an overdose can even result in death. The pills could be accidentally ingested if they are not properly marked and get mixed with other pills. They could also be ingested by children or someone in the household with substance abuse issues.
- Risks to a newborn. If Watson 3203 is taken by a pregnant woman, it could affect the fetus, resulting in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndromes affecting the child shortly after birth. If not recognized or treated by neonatology experts, this syndrome could be life-threatening to the child.
- Risks of Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction. The concomitant use of Watson 3203 with any cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in a concentration of acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitartrate in plasma. This could potentially create fatal respiratory depression.
- Risks of excessive amounts of acetaminophen. In therapeutic doses, acetaminophen has a negligible effect on the cardiovascular, respiratory, or hepatology (liver, gallbladder, and pancreas) systems. However, if a patient consumes an excess of 4000 milligrams a day of any acetaminophen products, which can occur if patient’s overdose on Watson 3203 and also take other medications high in acetaminophen, it can cause life-threatening conditions such as circulatory failure, shallow breathing, or liver failure.