Compare Fentanyl vs. Norco

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Duragesic
(fentanyl)

Norco
(hydrocodone / acetaminophen)

Treats severe pain. Duragesic (Fentanyl) is an excellent pain reliever, but should only be used by people who've tried other opioid pain medications and still need more relief.Treats moderate to severe pain. Norco (Hydrocodone / Acetaminophen) is a good option to treat pain as needed when over-the-counter medicines can't control the symptoms, but must make sure you don't take too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) to avoid liver problems or death.
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Coupons for Fentanyl
Best available price for 2 (5 patches of 25mcg/hr) cartons of fentanyl
Coupons for Norco
Best available price for 60 (5mg/325mg) tablets of norco
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.83Fentanyl
Reviews for Fentanyl
79%
of people (All ages) say Fentanyl is worth it
70%
say it works well
14%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Duragesic (fentanyl)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Norco
67%
+12% better vs. Fentanyl
44%
+26% better vs. Fentanyl
13%
-1% worse vs. Fentanyl
1194 reviews
Have you used Norco (hydrocodone / acetaminophen)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
FentanylNorco
  • Nausea 27%
  • Fatigue 19%
  • Vomiting 17%
  • Abdominal pain 15%
  • Shortness of breath 15%
  • Headache 14%
  • Dehydration 13%
  • Drowsiness 13%
  • Dizziness 13%
  • Sleep difficulty 3%
More Fentanyl side effects »

The Norco FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Norco side effects »
How it works
FentanylNorco
Duragesic (Fentanyl) is an opioid (narcotic) medicine that works in the brain to lower pain perception.Norco (Hydrocodone / Acetaminophen) is a combination pain medicine. Hydrocodone is an opioid (similar to morphine) that works in the brain to lower pain perception. Acetaminophen is a non-opioid pain reliever and fever reducer.
Type of medication
FentanylNorco
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
FentanylNorco
  • Patch
  • Patch extended release
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Mouth spray
  • Lozenge
  • Buccal tablet
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
Used for
FentanylNorco
Risk factors for serious side effects
FentanylNorco
  • Current use of medicine that affects liver enzyme CYP 3A4
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Higher dose
  • People with not enough thyroid hormones
  • History of lung problems
Detailed Duragesic (fentanyl) risks & warnings »
  • Current liver disease
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines with acetaminophen
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Higher dose
Detailed Norco (hydrocodone / acetaminophen) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Alcohol
FentanylNorco
  • Never drink alcohol when using Duragesic (Fentanyl).
  • Avoid alcohol.
Food
FentanylNorco
No food related info.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
Kidneys and liver
FentanylNorco
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • Don't take more than instructed to prevent liver damage.
  • The acetaminophen component in Norco (Hydrocodone / Acetaminophen) can hurt your liver. Using more than 4000 mg of the acetaminophen (or 12 tablets of Norco (Hydrocodone / Acetaminophen) can cause serious harm to your liver. You may develop life-threatening liver problems that need a liver transplant. Don't take more than your doctor prescribes, and avoid other medicines that have acetaminophen when using Norco (Hydrocodone / Acetaminophen).
Pain
FentanylNorco
  • Duragesic (Fentanyl) isn't for everyone. It's a really strong pain medication and taking too much can be deadly.
  • For pain, the patch takes 12 hours to start working and all other forms start working in 30 minutes or less.
  • Combination pain medicine with an opiod component (hydrocodone) and non-opioid component (acetaminophen or Tylenol) that takes advantage of different modes of pain relieve in a single pill.
  • This is a combination pain medication. It contains both an opioid medicine and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Works best if you take it as soon as you start feeling pain. Starts working in 30 minutes and pain relief lasts 4 to 6 hours.
  • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't work well enough to relieve your pain, or if the side effects are really bad.
Sleep
FentanylNorco
  • Often causes drowsiness and constipation. If using it long-term, use a stool softener.
  • Can help you fall asleep easier.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common.
Upsides and benefits
FentanylNorco
  • It's used for people who have tried other opioid medications, but still need stronger pain relief.
  • Duragesic (Fentanyl) is stronger than morphine, works quickly, and doesn't cause as many stomach problems.
  • It's available in many dosage forms, including a patch, injection, film, nasal spray, and lollipop.
  • The Duragesic (Fentanyl) patch provides long-term pain relief and lowers the number of times you need to take pain medications each day.
  • Combination pain medicine with an opiod component (hydrocodone) and non-opioid component (acetaminophen or Tylenol) that takes advantage of different modes of pain relieve in a single pill.
  • Provides quick relief for moderate to severe pain to improve quality of life.
  • Good for as-needed, short-term use, but may be helpful to manage more long-term pain problems if used at the appropriate doses and intervals.
  • Generally well tolerated by people, especially if taken with food to lower risk of stomach upset.
  • Lower rates of misuse compared to pure opioid medicines.
  • Can help you fall asleep easier.
Downsides and risks
FentanylNorco
  • Duragesic (Fentanyl) isn't for everyone. It's a really strong pain medication and taking too much can be deadly.
  • It doesn't provide quick pain relief.
  • Often causes drowsiness and constipation. If using it long-term, use a stool softener.
  • Like all opioids, don't use when pregnant, since the baby can become dependent on it and have withdrawal symptoms after birth.
  • Shouldn't be used for people with breathing problems (like asthma and COPD), a slow heart rate, or in the elderly.
  • If using the patch, you won't be able to get the medicine out of your body quickly in case of an overdose.
  • Dizziness and drowsiness is common.
  • Everyone will get constipation - always stay hydrated and take stool softener or stimulant on days you're taking Norco if you need.
  • All opioid containing medicines have the risk of physical dependence and possibility of withdrawal when used long-term.
  • The non-opioid part of Norco, acetaminophen (Tylenol), has a high risk of liver failure and death if you take more than the maximum daily dose. Be very careful.
  • Relies on the users to be aware of how much acetaminophen (Tylenol) they are using since it is a very common ingredient in many prescription and non-prescription pain medicines.
  • Avoid alcohol.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
FentanylNorco
  • Duragesic (Fentanyl) should only be used for people whose pain is not controlled by other opioid medications for at least one week.
  • For pain, the patch takes 12 hours to start working and all other forms start working in 30 minutes or less.
  • If using the patch, keep it away from heat sources like heating pads, or else it'll cause the medication to be unsafely released into your skin.
  • Never stop taking Duragesic (Fentanyl) suddenly or else you'll have withdrawal effects. To stop taking it, you'll need to lower your dose slowly.
  • Never drink alcohol when using Duragesic (Fentanyl).
  • Just one dose can be harmful or fatal to children, so store and dispose of this medication in a way that children can't get to it.
  • This is a combination pain medication. It contains both an opioid medicine and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Works best if you take it as soon as you start feeling pain. Starts working in 30 minutes and pain relief lasts 4 to 6 hours.
  • Can make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid activities need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
  • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
  • Constipation is common and may not go away while you're taking this medicine. Drinking lots of water and using laxatives can help.
  • Don't take more than instructed to prevent liver damage.
  • Use it for the shortest time and at the lowest dose possible, to lower your chance of becoming addicted.
  • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't work well enough to relieve your pain, or if the side effects are really bad.
Learn more
More about FentanylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Duragesic (fentanyl)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about NorcoSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Norco (hydrocodone / acetaminophen)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it