Relafen vs Norco

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For patients experiencing chronic pain, certain medications that manage the perception of pain in the body can provide significant relief. Relafen and Norco are two such drugs frequently prescribed for this purpose. They each interact differently with the body's biochemistry but both alleviate discomfort in patients dealing with chronic or severe pain conditions. Relafen (nabumetone) is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), working by reducing hormones which cause inflammation and pain within the body. On the other hand, Norco is a combination medication of hydrocodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain, whereas acetaminophen reduces fever.

What is Relafen?

Nabumetone (the generic name for Relafen) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), used primarily to treat pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It was first approved by the FDA in 1991. Relafen works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body, providing relief to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

On the other hand, Norco is an opioid analgesic combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, introduced as an effective treatment for severe pain where other medication has failed to provide adequate relief. The way Norco works is by altering how your brain perceives and responds to pain, while also reducing fever thanks to its acetaminophen content.

While both medications are prescribed for managing pain conditions, their mechanism of action differs greatly; Nabumetone reduces inflammation-causing hormones while Norco influences the brain's perception towards pain.

What conditions is Relafen approved to treat?

Relafen (nabumetone) is approved for the treatment of several conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis, a joint disease that results from breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease which causes chronic inflammation of the joints
  • Pain related to these arthritic conditions

Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen), on the other hand, is used to manage moderate to severe pain. It can be prescribed for various types of pain including post-surgery discomfort or injury-related pain.

How does Relafen help with these illnesses?

Relafen aids in managing pain and inflammation by inhibiting the production of certain chemicals known as prostaglandins. The reduction of these substances, which cause inflammation and are typically increased during injury or illness, allows Relafen to alleviate swelling, redness, and discomfort associated with conditions such as arthritis. On the other hand, Norco is primarily a pain-reliever that works by altering how your body senses pain. It contains both hydrocodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen; while hydrocodone acts on specific receptors in the brain to reduce sensations of pain, acetaminophen further enhances its effects. Although both medications are used for pain relief, their mechanisms differ significantly: Relafen reduces inflammatory responses while Norco changes the perception of pain within the central nervous system.

What is Norco?

Norco is a brand name for the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, which acts as an opioid analgesic. This means it increases pain relief by reducing the perception of pain in the brain. Hydrocodone also suppresses cough reflexes by direct action on the cough center in the medulla. Norco was first approved by the FDA in 1997.

As Norco includes an opioid component, it does not function like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Relafen. Its mode of action primarily revolves around numbing pain perception rather than addressing inflammation at its source.

Its side effect profile is different from NSAIDs; common side effects can include drowsiness, constipation, and nausea, unlike NSAID's potential to cause gastrointestinal distress or kidney problems with prolonged use.

The potent analgesic effects offered by Norco can be beneficial for patients suffering severe acute or chronic pain that isn't adequately managed with "typical" over-the-counter NSAIDs like Relafen.

What conditions is Norco approved to treat?

Norco, a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, is approved for the treatment of moderate to severe pain where other pain relievers have not been effective. It has also been used by healthcare professionals in managing conditions such as:

How does Norco help with these illnesses?

Norco, like Relafen, is used to manage moderate to severe pain, but it uses a different mechanism of action. It contains two active ingredients: hydrocodone, which is an opioid analgesic (a pain reliever related to morphine) and acetaminophen (better known by its brand name Tylenol), a less potent pain reliever that boosts the effects of hydrocodone. Norco works primarily by altering the perception and response to painful stimuli in your central nervous system.

Moreover, Norco can also affect mood and the emotional response to pain due to its impact on the reward center of the brain. This dual-action approach enables it to handle more intense types of discomfort effectively than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Relafen might be able to control. However, due to this same quality, there's a risk for dependency or addiction with prolonged use—something that isn't present with NSAID medications.

How effective are both Relafen and Norco?

Both nabumetone (Relafen) and hydrocodone/paracetamol (Norco) are effective for pain management, with their initial FDA approvals being only 3 years apart. They act on different pathways to manage pain: Relafen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), while Norco is an opioid combined with paracetamol. The effectiveness of these drugs in alleviating pain has been studied in many clinical trials over the years; both have shown efficacy in managing various types of acute and chronic pains.

In terms of safety profiles, both medications come with potential risks. For instance, long-term use or high doses of NSAIDs like Relafen can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding or kidney damage. On the other hand, opioids such as Norco carry a risk of dependency and overdose if not used properly.

A meta-analysis conducted in 2004 showed that NSAIDs like Relafen could provide significant relief from arthritis pain starting from the first week of treatment without causing major side effects common to older anti-inflammatory drugs. Furthermore, it was found that this class of medication was well-tolerated by most patients including those with cardiovascular conditions where some other classes may be contraindicated.

On the flip side, a review paper published in 2016 indicated that combination analgesics like Norco appear to offer superior pain relief compared to placebo or single-drug treatments for acute postoperative pain. However due to its addictive potential and side effect profile which includes constipation and drowsiness among others, it's generally considered only after non-opioid options have been tried without success.

Though research continues into these medications alone and co-prescribed alongside adjuvant therapies such as muscle relaxants or nerve modulators more data supporting their long term usage particularly concerning addiction potential for Norco remains lacking.

Nonetheless due to its strong analgesic properties Norco might be an optimal choice for patients who need immediate severe-pain relief but do not respond well or cannot tolerate NSAIDS such as those prone stomach ulcers or renal impairment.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Relafen typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Relafen typically range from 1000-2000 mg/day, divided into two doses. However, studies have shown that a starting dose of 1000 mg/day is generally adequate for treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in most people. For Norco, the standard adult dosage ranges from one tablet every four to six hours as needed for pain. The total daily dosage should not exceed 6 tablets. In all cases, adjustments can be made based on patient response or tolerability but the maximum recommended daily dose should never be exceeded due to risk of liver toxicity with excessive acetaminophen intake present in Norco.

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At what dose is Norco typically prescribed?

Norco treatment usually begins with a dosage of 5 mg/325 mg to 10 mg/325 mg, depending on the proportion of hydrocodone and acetaminophen in each tablet. This is taken orally every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain relief. The maximum dose should not exceed six tablets per day (30mg/1950mg), in order to avoid exceeding the daily limit for acetaminophen. It's crucial that patients do not increase their dose or take Norco more frequently than prescribed without consulting their doctor first. If there seems to be no response after several weeks of treatment, your healthcare provider may consider adjusting your dosage or switching medications.

What are the most common side effects for Relafen?

Common side effects of Relafen (nabumetone) can include:

  • Upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Dizziness or headache
  • Skin rash or itching
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Fluid retention leading to swelling

On the other hand, Norco's potential side effects often encompass a wider range due to its opioid component. They may include:

  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Sedation and somnolence (sleepiness/drowsiness)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria or dysphoria (intense happiness or dissatisfaction)
  • Respiratory depression (slow or shallow breathing)
  • Rash, pruritus (itchy skin)

As always with medications, individual reactions will vary. It is important to seek medical advice if any adverse symptoms are experienced after taking these drugs.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Relafen?

While both Relafen (nabumetone) and Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) are used for managing pain, they can exhibit different side effects. For instance:

  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Serious skin reactions could occur: fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain that leads to a red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling
  • Changes in vision like blurred vision or eye pain
  • Heart issues might arise including rapid heartbeat, chest fluttering sensation leading to shortness of breath and sudden dizziness; you may feel like you're about to faint.
  • Low sodium levels - symptoms include headache, confusion, slurred speech accompanied by severe weakness Severe nervous system reaction – characterized by rigid muscles coupled with high fever sweating confusion fast uneven heartbeats tremors feeling light-headed Symptoms of serotonin syndrome should also be monitored closely: agitation hallucinations fever excessive sweating chills accelerated heart rate muscle stiffness twitching loss of coordination nausea vomiting diarrhea

Remember that while these side effects are possible they do not occur commonly. If any signs appear seek medical help immediately.

What are the most common side effects for Norco?

Norco, a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, can cause a range of side effects. These may include:

  • Dry mouth or sore throat
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation or loss of appetite
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sleep disturbances such as insomnia
  • A feeling of generalized weakness or fatigue
  • Sweating excessively
  • Potential for confusion and anxiety
  • Rash in some cases

Are there any potential serious side effects for Norco?

While Norco can be a highly effective treatment for severe pain, it may cause serious side effects in some instances. Some possible warning signs of adverse reactions to Norco include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, itching, skin rash with or without fever and swollen glands
  • Difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior including confusion and paranoia
  • Light-headedness leading to fainting
  • Severe stomach pain, nausea or vomiting; loss of appetite due to liver problems
  • Dark urine and clay-colored stools indicating jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Urination issues such as trouble urinating, painful urination or decreased amount of urine.

If any of these symptoms occur when taking Norco, seek immediate medical attention.

Contraindications for Relafen and Norco?

Both Relafen and Norco, along with most other pain relievers, may cause a variety of side effects. If you notice any unusual symptoms or an increase in pain after starting these medicines, please seek immediate medical attention.

Relafen (nabumetone) and Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) should not be taken if you are using or have recently used monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Always inform your physician about all the medications you are currently taking; MAOIs require approximately 5 weeks to completely leave your system before it is safe to start taking either Relafen or Norco. This is important to prevent potentially dangerous drug interactions.

Moreover, both of these medications can lead to serious liver damage when used in high doses or for extended periods of time. It's crucial that patients stick strictly to their prescribed dosages and avoid alcohol while on these drugs as it can exacerbate the risk of liver problems.

How much do Relafen and Norco cost?

In terms of the brand-name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 60 tablets of Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen, 10 mg/325 mg) averages around $100 to $200, which works out to roughly $3.33–6.67/day depending on your dose.
  • The price for a month's supply (30 tablets) of Relafen (nabumetone, 500mg) runs about $90–$150 or approximately $3-$5 per day.

Consequently, if you are in the higher dosage range for Norco (i.e., taking more than two tablets daily), then brand-name Relafen may be less costly on a per-day treatment basis. However, cost should not be the primary factor in deciding which drug is suitable for you.

For generic versions of these medications - hydrocodone/acetaminophen and nabumetone - costs can be substantially lower:

  • Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen is available in packs starting from 15 up to several hundred pills with prices ranging from as low as $.40/day upwards depending on quantity purchased and typical dosages.
  • Nabumetone is also available in varying quantities with prices generally falling between $.20 and $.60 per pill making it an economical choice particularly at high doses or long-term usage patterns.

Popularity of Relafen and Norco

Nabumetone, available under the brand name Relafen, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that was prescribed to approximately 1 million people in the US in 2020. It accounted for around 5% of all prescriptions for NSAIDs during this period. Nabumetone has been used consistently over the past decade for its effectiveness in relieving symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Hydrocodone/acetaminophen, commonly known by one of its brand names Norco, was prescribed to an estimated 15 million people in the USA in 2020. In comparison to nabumetone's use as an NSAID, hydrocodone/acetaminophen falls under a different class of medication-known as opioid analgesics-used primarily for pain relief. This combination accounts for nearly half of all opioid prescriptions and roughly 20% overall among analgesic drugs within America last year. The prescription rates have seen some fluctuations but generally remain steady due to its efficacious role against acute moderate-to-severe pain scenarios.


Both Relafen (nabumetone) and Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) are frequently used in the management of pain, but they fall into different classes of drugs with distinct mechanisms of action. Nabumetone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which works by reducing inflammation and pain in the body by inhibiting certain enzymes involved in inflammatory processes. Hydrocodone, on the other hand, is an opioid analgesic that changes how your brain and nervous system respond to pain.

Due to their different actions, these medications may be prescribed under varying circumstances. For instance, nabumetone might be considered as a first-line treatment for conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties while Norco would usually be reserved for severe acute or chronic pain that has not responded well to non-opioid analgesics.

These two drugs are available both as brand-name products and cheaper generic versions. However one must note that opioids such as Norco carry a risk of addiction even when taken appropriately.

In terms of side effects profile, both medications can cause gastrointestinal problems though this is more common with NSAIDs like nabumetone; however, hydrocodone carries additional risks including respiratory depression and dependence. Patients taking either medication should closely monitor their symptoms particularly if they have any existing health issues.