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Watson 3203: A Review Of The Painkiller and a CBD Alternative


If you suffer from a severe pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis or medium cancer-related pain and usual over the counter medications such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil (Ibuprofen) are not strong enough, your doctor may prescribe you a stronger medication which is usually a combination of acetaminophen or Ibuprofen with opioids.

Depending on the percentage and the mixture, the name of the medication is different. One of these combinations known as Watson 3203 contains two of the very well known painkillers!

What is Watson 3203?

Watson 3203 is a generic narcotic analgesic medication that belongs to the opioids category because it contains hydrocodone. Each Watson 3203 pill contains 325 mg of acetaminophen and 7.5 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate. Is it over the counter (OTC) medication? No! You need a prescription for this drug as it contains hydrocodone.

This type of drugs works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain to help block the perception of pain. Based on The American Journal of Medicine,  combination analgesics are believed to be more effective compared to the effects of doubling the dose of either the narcotic medication or the analgesic drug. That’s why there are several medications that contain both analgesics and narcotics.

Name of the product might seem unusual to you but it comes from the laboratory that produces this drug. Watson Laboratories, Inc. is a California based private pharmaceutical company, operating as a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited.

As mentioned, the drug is a combination of two known medications but you might want to know more about each of the ingredients.

What is Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen is an analgesic drug which is used to relieve minor pains temporarily. Pains from a headache or a mild backache, minor arthritis aches, and very common for cold or a toothache. You definitely have heard about the famous brand: Tylenol. That’s basically acetaminophen.

Acetaminophen is used in a variety of pain cold medications either in a table or oral syrup forms at different amounts (650 mg is very common, for example in DayQuil). Tylenol itself comes in different dosages. Regular Tylenol, for example, has 500 mg of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is also an antipyretic and very commonly used to reduce fever temporarily as well.

At low dosages, it is safe for children as well. Paracetamol or N-acetyl-para-aminophenol (C8H9NO2) are chemical names of acetaminophen that you may have heard.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a strong painkiller and an opioid. It is not an OTC drug meaning that it needs to be prescribed by doctors. It is one of the most popular medications in the US! Hydrocodone’s chemical formula is C18H21NO3 and it is derived from Codeine which is a very chemically similar opioid.

Hydrocodone belongs to the narcotic analgesics category which simply means pain medicines. This medication is used to treat mild to severe pain and It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Hydrocodone might be prescribed for severe coughing situations. This drug comes in different forms and brands.

For immediate release of the drug, hydrocodone is usually combined with acetaminophen (like Watson 3203), ibuprofen, and aspirin. Hydrocodone with acetaminophen is a usual form for oral administration.

Hydrocodone with acetaminophen is available by different brands including Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet, Maxidone, Norco, and Zydone. Vicodin, for example, has 300 mg of acetaminophen with 5-10 mg of Hydrocodone.

Who Makes Watson 3203

Watson Laboratories, Inc. which operates as a subsidiary of ATeva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited is the manufacturers of Watson 3203.

Is Watson 3203 Prescription Only?

Yes! Watson 3203 contains hydrocodone and therefore its available by prescription only. Watson 3203 Usage H2Watson 3203 belongs to the category of narcotic analgesics combinations and is mainly used to manage different types of medium to severe pains especially Rheumatoid arthritis-related pain and in some case Cancer related chronic pains.

Watson 3203 can be used to manage chronic pain depending on your doctor’s diagnosis. What is pain management? Read on!

Pain Management

Pain management is a branch in medicine that applies an interdisciplinary approach for easing the suffering of life for those who are living with chronic pain. Pains can be acute (meaning sharp and sudden) or they can be chronic (pain lasting for months or even years!).

Watson 3203 can be used for treating both acute or chronic pain depending on the source of the pain; back pain, cancer-related pain, and Rheumatoid Arthritis chronic pain or example!

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Watson 3203

It’s not uncommon that your doctor recommends Watson 3203 for managing pain coming from Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints which leads to inflammation and thickening of the tissue that lines the inside of joints, resulting in swelling and therefore pain in and around the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the US and unfortunately, it’s skyrocketing based on Arthritis foundation. There are more than 100 types of Rheumatoid arthritis.


Watson 3203 contains hydrocodone which is also a cough suppressant (antitussive). It works on certain centers in the brain which leads to stopping the urge to cough! So, hydrocodone-containing medications can be used to treat excessive coughing!

Watson 3203 Risks and Side Effects

Acetaminophen and hydrocodone and their combination come with side effects and risks. Obviously, the risk is more prevalent when we talk about hydrocodone itself which not only has some temporary common side effects but it may also become dangerous as well if not taken properly or at prescribed dosages.

Having difficulties with breathing, for example, is the most common side effect which could become severe and even cause death!

Addiction is another risk that comes with consuming opioid-containing medications. In terms of pregnancy, Watson 3203 is categorized in group C which means risk cannot be ruled out! Watson 3203 comes with the following risks and side effects:

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Watson 3203 which mainly come from the hydrocodone include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Possible mood changes;
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth.

If you have been using Watson 3203 for some time, some of these side effects may decrease over time upon consumption. If any of these effects though worsen, you must tell your doctor or promptly!

 Addiction Risk

Hydrocodone-containing medications can be habit-forming If overused! Plain and simple! Just because a drug is prescribed a doctor, it doesn’t mean you are safe from all the risks! It’s interesting to realize that many drug addicts report their substance abuse started after they received a prescription for hydrocodone or similar painkillers from their doctors.

Due to hydrocodone content of Watson 3203, these drugs come with similar risks.

In some cases, over time, patients may require higher doses of Watson 3203 to receive the same benefit. At this point, it may become difficult to end the consumption and therefore the patient becomes addicted! Will all this being said, if the drug is not overused, the chance is of addiction is slim!

 Alcohol Warning

Alcohol and medication together is not a good idea regardless of the drug. Due to the hydrocodone, Watson 3203, may give you feel similar to that of alcohol! So, you may get relaxed, feel pleasure or get light headed. Therefore, if you take Watson 3203 and consume alcohol, you may get very drunk or feel very high which comes with the risk of overdose and even death. This combination can affect your heart rate and breathe dramatically!

A 2014 CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report found that alcohol was involved in almost 19% percent of opioid-related emergency room admissions and 22% of deaths caused by opioid overdose!

So, very important note: Do Not Take Alcohol and Watson 3203 due to its hydrocodone!

Overdose Risks

According to CDC, around 115 Americans die from an opioid overdose on a daily basis! Overdoses with methadone, heroin, hydrocodone, and some other prescription opioids were among the list! Opioid abuse is very common in the US. Watson 3203 is not excluded from the list due to its hydrocodone and therefore it must be treated with caution.

If overdose occurs, the patient may feel the following side effects and symptoms:

  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Shallow breathing
  • Increased Sweating
  • Severe Drowsiness
  • Mood Swings
  • Severe feeling of discomfort

Alternatives to Watson 3203

As a narcotic analgesic painkiller, Watson 3203 has several alternatives which all include an opioid. Vicodin and Oxycontin (Oxycodone) are two examples!


Vicodin is very similar to Watson 3203 in terms of its ingredients. Vicodin has 300 mg of acetaminophen with 5-10 mg of Hydrocodone so depending on the doses, it can have very similar effects on the body.

Dizziness, Nausea, vomiting, and lightheadedness, are some of the side effects of Vicodin.


Oxycontin which is a brand name for oxycodone is also an analgesic narcotic that is prescribed for managing severe pain. It is an opioid, and it is stronger than Watson 3203 or hydrocodone itself. Oxycodone is available under other trade names including Troxyca, or Percocet.

Oxycodone is very widely used and prescribed across the U.S. Oxycodone also may cause physical dependence, habit formation, and opioid addiction just like Watson 3203.

CBD is a Natural Alternative

When it comes to managing moderate to severe pains using opioid analgesics, one has to realize that although these opioids are strong and effective in reducing pain, they come with risks and side effects and also are subject to abuse, misuse, and addiction. As mentioned above, 115 people lose their lives every day due to opioid overdose!

But you have to realize that depending on the pain and severity, CBD could be a natural alternative! Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD is a chemical present in the marijuana plant. This chemical has been used for treating joint and muscle pains several hundred years ago based on Chinese ancient history!

Since then, there has always been an interest in this compound but more recently, researchers started studying the effect of this compounds on the body and it is an ongoing subject of research.

It’s good to know that CBD is nonpsychoactive which means it does not give you that ‘high’ feeling which is associated with cannabis use, making it safe as well as effective! Some people may be concerned about the mind-altering effects of other cannabinoids such as THC but fortunately, CBD doesn’t have that!

Oils which contain CBD are popular products. CBD to THC concentrations and ratios though may vary depending on the product and/or the manufacturer. CBD oils have shown several health benefits that could improve the quality of life of many patients.

Scientists are hopeful that more studies confirm the CBD effect on easing pain and it’s other benefits. It has been shown that through interactions with certain brain receptors, CBD reduces pain and inflammation.

Pain relief, anti-seizure properties, and anxiety, and even reducing the risk of diabetes are some of the advantages of CBD. So, you may consider CBD as a natural alternative to narcotics.

CBD May Be a Natural Alternative to the Opiate Watson 3203

Watson 3203 is a narcotic-containing prescription medication and contains hydrocodone, a relatively strong opioid and although effective, it comes with its risks and side effects. CBD is, however, a natural alternative painkiller which is not only effective, it doesn’t cause addiction and it doesn’t need a prescription!

CBD is mostly available and used in form of oil and you can buy different CBD containing products online if it is legally allowed in your state! Again, it is very important that you consult with your doctor before taking any medication especially those that come with risks.


Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purpose only. It is not a substitute for professional advice. For medical conditions and treating chronic pain, you must consult with your health care provider.