What is APAP?


Have you ever heard of APAP?  You may recognize it from getting prescriptions filled at your pharmacy.  Let’s use Vicodin (aka Lortab) as an example because this is where I see the use of APAP the most!


The generic for Vicodin is hydrocodone/APAP and this generic name is what will show up on the label on your prescription bottle.  


NOTE: The generic will be dispensed in place of the brand unless your doctor sates otherwise or if you request the brand to be dispensed (there may be limitations to dispensing the brand depending on which state you live in).  


Hydrocodone will always come in combination with APAP or other drugs – it will not be dispensed by prescription as an individual ingredient.


So the answer to the question is….APAP stands for Tylenol (acetaminophen). I could explain where researchers came up with the shorthand APAP, but it’s just not that interesting!


It is important to know what APAP is because there is a good chance someone would take OTC Tylenol in addition to their Vicodin to help ease their pain.  If you take APAP with Vicodin, you can reach the maximum daily dose of Tylenol (4000mg) very quickly.  Going over the daily maximum amount of Tylenol can be very bad for your liver! ***Tylenol update***


So, if I were taking Vicodin, I would not take OTC Tylenol for extra pain relief – I’d stick with Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve.  If you get a prescription for Vicodin, be sure to ask your pharmacist how much APAP you’ll be taking in per day.  Quite often, if taken as prescribed, you’d be getting too much APAP from the Vicodin as it is.


Now that you know what APAP stands for, please be cautious!   



  1. Thank you. I was like having a friend tell me what it was. I wish more doctors were able to dumb down their explanations like this.

  2. I do not understand why we get so many medications if there is so much negative information about any medications that we are taking. Are the Doctors choice to make those mistakes or what? I had a friend who was taking more than 50 pills a day and finally he went on the long trip away from our life. I do remember in the 50’s we had only one medication for most of our problems . That was very popular for everybody. Penicillin and everything went well for years. Today we are taking so many medications and are mess up our life for good. Thanks to our medical.

  3. I have frequent kidney stones-suffering through on right now. I swear I have internal organ pains after taking all of the vicodin or perc that they usually give me vs passing it before most meds are necessary. They load me up so bad with that crap that I usually end up sick and in pain. Could this feeling be caused by all of the apap I’m taking in with the prescription? I have to be taking in way too much…

  4. Sorry about your friend, but they may not have read the dosage instructions clearly, I don’t know any doctor that would have suggested taking 50 Vicodin a day. I have known people who had become addicted to them that took that much, but never at the suggestion of a physician. He/She should have been bumped to a stronger med like oxycodone or morphine (timed release). Those are not typically combined with Tylenol and relieve pain fairly well depending on the cause. They have downside affects also, unfortunately have used all of them and at times non of them worked. There are other options available also.

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