How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your System?

Hydrocodone is prescribed predominantly within the United States, with the International Narcotics Control Board reporting that 99% of the worldwide supply in 2007 was consumed in the United States.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid drug used to eliminate moderate to severe pain. It is only utilized to deal with people who need pain relief and who cannot be treated with other medications.

Hydrocodone may be recommended following an injury or a significant surgery or to deal with other kinds of severe pain, like cancer pain or arthritis.

Hydrocodone is derived from codeine, a natural alkaloid that originates from the resin of poppy seeds. When in the body, hydrocodone binds to and triggers the mu opiate receptor to block the feeling of pain.

When combined with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, hydrocodone passes the brand:

  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet
  • Norco

There are likewise some extended-release formulations of hydrocodone, including:

  • Hysingla ER
  • Zohydro ER

Hydrocodone includes lots of cautions due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. For this factor, it is categorized as a federally controlled substance (C-II). Extended-release formulas of hydrocodone are specifically created to be difficult to squash, break, or dissolve in order to avoid abuse.

If you have been recommended hydrocodone, you may be curious regarding the length of time the effects will last in your body and the length of time the medication may appear on a drug test.

How Long Does It Take to Feel the Effects of Hydrocodone?

hydrocodone in your system

Hydrocodone is taken by mouth (orally) and needs to pass through your gastrointestinal system before you start to feel its effects. You need to begin feeling the impacts of hydrocodone in under an hour.

According to the plan insert, a 10-mg oral dose of the medication reaches peak concentrations in the bloodstream in roughly 1.3 hours following intake.

People who take hydrocodone frequently will build up a tolerance to the drug with time. For these individuals, it may take longer to feel pain relief or the relief may not feel as strong.

When this takes place, your doctor might wish to increase your dosage or change you to a various type of pain medication. Do not take a bigger dosage of hydrocodone without first speaking with your medical professional.

How Long Does It Take for the Effects of Hydrocodone to Wear Off?

One method to find out for how long a drug will last in the body is to measure its half-life. The half-life is the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body.

Hydrocodone has a typical half-life of roughly 3.8 hours in healthy men. Simply put, it takes 3.8 hours for the typical healthy male to get rid of half of the dosage of hydrocodone.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to keep in mind that everybody metabolizes medications differently so that the half-life will differ from individual to person.

It takes some half-lives to remove a drug completely. For the majority of people, hydrocodone will fully clear the blood within a day; however it can still be identified in the saliva, urine, or hair for a lot longer than that.

According to the American Addiction Center, hydrocodone can be detected in:

  • saliva for 12 to 36 hours after the last dosage is taken
  • urine for as much as four days after the last dose is taken
  • hair for approximately 90 days after the last dosage is taken

You will likely stop “feeling” the pain relief of hydrocodone long before it clears your body. This is why your medical professional may have you take a single tablet of hydrocodone every four to six hours while you’re in pain.

Information verified by the team.

Extended-release formulations last a bit longer, so they are generally taken every 12 hours in order to manage pain.

Factors That Influence How Long the Effects of Hydrocodone Last

Many factors can influence the time it considers hydrocodone to clear the body. These include:

  • weight
  • body fat content
  • metabolic process
  • liver function
  • the length of time you have been taking hydrocodone
  • if you have taken opioids before
  • dose
  • other medical conditions
  • other medications
  • alcohol

Alcohol and hydrocodone taken in the mix have a synergistic result on one another. This means that the effects of hydrocodone are increased if you consume alcohol. It will take longer to clear hydrocodone from your body. strongly recommends to quit alcohol to everyone!


Integrating alcohol with hydrocodone can likewise result in hazardous side effects, consisting of the possibility of a fatal overdose.

Your body clears hydrocodone through a path known as cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A). Drugs that prevent CYP3A4 make it harder for your body to break down hydrocodone.

Combining hydrocodone with the following could lead to severe issues, including potentially deadly breathing anxiety:

  • macrolide antibiotics, such as erythromycin
  • azole antifungal representatives
  • protease inhibitors

Other medications that have been revealed to engage with hydrocodone and increase its results include:

  • other narcotics.
  • antihistamines.
  • anti-anxiety representatives (like Xanax).
  • Tricyclic antidepressants.
  • antidepressants called MAO inhibitors.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

You should not stop taking hydrocodone quickly without consulting your medical professional since you can have severe withdrawal symptoms. These may include:

  • uneasiness.
  • broadened pupils.
  • irritation.
  • failure to sleep.
  • muscle cramps.
  • joint pain.
  • vomiting.
  • sweating.
  • chills.
  • fast breathing.
  • fast heartbeat.

Your doctor might reduce your dose gradually with time to prevent withdrawal. This is called tapering. It is advised that the dosage is decreased gradually, by 25 to 50 percent every two to four days, while keeping an eye on carefully for symptoms and signs of withdrawal.

If you do experience withdrawal symptoms, they can be classified as moderate, moderate, or extreme. Everyone experiences withdrawal in a different way.

In basic, symptoms begin to enhance within 72 hours and considerably decrease within a week. Your physician can assist you to handle your symptoms.

What Else?

The pain relief result of hydrocodone will wear off within 4 to 6 hours. However, the drug may still be found in the saliva for approximately 36 hours, in urine for four days, and in the hair for 90 days after the last dose.

There are likewise a variety of aspects that might modify the time it considers hydrocodone to clear the body, consisting of age, metabolic process, weight, dose, and other medications.

You should not drink alcohol or take other street drugs while taking hydrocodone as these will increase your risk of experiencing severe side effects. Be sure likewise to tell your medical professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription medications.

Never take more than your recommended dose of hydrocodone, even if you feel that the medicine is not working also. It is possible to overdose on hydrocodone. You ought to seek emergency healthcare if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking hydrocodone:

  • unusual lightheadedness.
  • slowed breathing.
  • unresponsiveness.
  • severe sleepiness.
  • lightheadedness.
  • hallucinations.
  • nausea.
  • vomiting.
  • chest pain.

Although they are prescription drugs, opioids such as hydrocodone have been associated with severe health problems and have led to a series of overdoses and deaths across the nation.

In 2015, more than 20,000 individuals passed away from opioid prescription-related overdoses in the United States, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

It is essential to take your recommended dose of hydrocodone and to do it under your doctor’s guidance. Check out the information consisted of in the Medication Guide before you start treatment with hydrocodone. Talk to your medical professional if you have any questions or issues.

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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