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How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?

Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States and is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other licit or illicit opioid. Read more about the different treatment options for you or your loved ones struggling with Hydrocodone addiction.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System For?

A drug’s half-life, or how long it takes the body to metabolize half of the drug, is used to determine how long it will last. How long does hydrocodone stay in the body? The half-life of a typical 10 mg dose of hydrocodone is about 4 hours, meaning it takes that long for the body to break down and eliminate half of the drug. Although it takes several half-lives for the drug to be eliminated, one dose of hydrocodone should typically disappear within 24 hours.

The hydrocodone’s effects will wear off before they completely leave your body. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms start between 6 and 12 hours after the medication has been consumed. The dosage, usage frequency, and physical health impact how quickly and severely the withdrawal symptoms are.

How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? Within four to six hours, hydrocodone’s painkilling effects begin to disappear. But even after the last dose, the medication may still be found in the saliva for up to 36 hours, the urine for four days, and the hair for 90 days. How long does hydrocodone stay in bloodstream? Hydrocodone can remain in the blood for up to 9 hours.

In addition, several variables, including age, metabolism, weight, dose, and other drugs, may affect how quickly hydrocodone leaves the body. How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? While using hydrocodone, you shouldn’t consume alcohol or use illicit substances since this can raise your likelihood of having adverse side effects. Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter.

Even if you believe the hydrocodone is not working as well, never exceed the recommended dosage. How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? Hydrocodone overdose is a risk. If you develop any of the following symptoms after taking hydrocodone, you should seek emergency medical attention:

  • Unusual dizziness
  •  Decreased breathing
  •  Unresponsiveness
  •  Extreme slumber
  •  Lightheadedness
  •  Hallucinations
  •  Nausea
  •  Vomiting
  •  Chest pain

Opioids like hydrocodone, although prescribed medications, have been linked to significant health problems and have caused several overdoses and fatalities worldwide.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid drug used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Only those who require pain relief and cannot receive treatment from other drugs should use it.

Following an accident or significant surgery, or to treat other severe pain conditions like cancer pain or arthritis, a doctor may prescribe hydrocodone.

Codeine, a natural alkaloid found in the resin of poppy seeds, is the source of hydrocodone. When hydrocodone enters the body, it attaches to and activates the mu opiate receptor, which blocks pain perception.

The following brand names are used for hydrocodone when it is mixed with acetaminophen or ibuprofen:

  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet
  • Norco

Hydrocodone is also available in several extended-release forms, including:

  • Hysingla ER
  • Zohydro ER

Due to its significant risk of abuse and addiction, hydrocodone carries a lot of warnings. Because of this, it is classified as a federally controlled substance (C-II). To discourage abuse, extended-release versions of hydrocodone are designed to be challenging to crush, shatter, or dissolve. This can also help answer how long hydrocodone stays in your system.

If hydrocodone has been given to you, you might ask, “how long do hydrocodone stay in your system?” and how long will it remain detectable on a drug test?

Historically, Vicodin was one of several branded formulations of hydrocodone available in combination with acetaminophen. The drug was discontinued in the U.S. market. According to its FDA drug label, Vicodin is a mixture of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Each Vicodin tablet contains between 300 and 325 mg of acetaminophen and between 2.5 and 10 mg of hydrocodone, depending on the dosage.

The opioid effects of Vicodin last for around 4 hours. However, traces of the drug will stay in the body for several days and can be detected in the hair for months. The exact amount of time it takes for Vicodin to be flushed out of the system depends on several factors, including:

  • Body fat content
  • Body mass
  • Age
  • Liver health
  • Amount of the last dose taken
  • Presence of other drugs in the system
  • How long has use been going on

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Hydrocodone Drug Facts


Hydrocodone and acetaminophen combination is used to relieve pain severe enough to require opioid treatment and when other pain medicines did not work well enough or cannot be tolerated.

Brand names:

  • Anexsia
  • Ceta Plus
  • Co-Gesic
  • Dolorex Forte
  • Hycet
  • Lorcet
  • Lortab
  • Maxidone
  • Norco
  • Stagesic
  • Vicodin HP
  • Zydone

Hydrocodone belongs to the group of medicines called narcotic analgesics (pain medicines). It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain and stop or prevent cough.

Common Side Effects

  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Muscle tightening
  • Difficult, frequent, or painful urination

Serious Side Effects:

  • Chest pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Severe muscle stiffness or twitching
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, or dizziness
  • Inability to get or keep an erection
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Decreased sexual desire

Hydrocodone Statistics

Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the United States; more than 136.7 million prescriptions for hydrocodone-containing products were dispensed in 2013. More recently, misuse has significantly decreased from 6.9 million U.S. persons to 5.5 million in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

2.1 million

An estimated 2.1 million in the United States alone abuse opioid pain reliever medications.

Source: NIDA

136.7 million

Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in The United States, with more than 136.7 million prescriptions.

Source: DEA

6.9 million

There were 6.9 million people who experienced hydrocodone misuse in 2017.

Source: NIDA

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How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? or how long does Lortab stay in your system? It is detectable for up to 90 days, depending on the test used.
How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? or how long does Lortab stay in your system? It is detectable for up to 90 days, depending on the test used.

Hydrocodone Half Life

What is the half-life of hydrocodone? A standard dose of hydrocodone has a half-life of about 3.8 hours. This means it will take 3.8 hours for half of this dose to be removed from the average body. Therefore, it takes about 6-12 hours for hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms to appear if physical addiction has developed, and saliva tests can only detect the last traces of Hydrocodone 12-36 hours after the previous dose.

How long does a hydrocodone stay in your system? Urine tests are more effective and can detect the drug for two to four days. Blood tests do not work for this substance. These time limits are generally extended for chronic, heavy users. Additionally, all opioids can be found in the hair follicles for up to 90 days after the last dose, but using hair tests is uncommon.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your Body?

Before you start to experience the effects of hydrocodone, you must let it pass through your digestive system after taking it orally. The results of hydrocodone should kick in under an hour.

How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? Per the product insert, the medication’s 10-mg oral dose reaches its peak blood levels around 1.3 hours after oral administration. Over time, hydrocodone tolerance develops in those who take it often. These individuals could require more time or may not experience as much pain relief. When this occurs, your doctor may change your pain medication or increase your dose. Never raise your hydrocodone dosage without first consulting your doctor.

How Long Will Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?

Measuring the half-life of a medicine is one approach to determining how long it will persist in the body. The half-life is the amount of time it takes for a substance to leave the body after being consumed in half.

How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? In healthy adult males, hydrocodone has an average half-life of about 3.8 hours. In other words, the healthy male needs 3.8 hours to flush out half of his hydrocodone dose thoroughly. Everyone metabolizes drugs differently. Thus, the half-life will vary from person to person.

According to some studies, Hydrocone can be found:

  • 12 to 36 hours after the last dose is taken, saliva may be present.
  • After taking the previous dosage, it may be found in urine for 2-4 days.
  • Hair for up to 90 days following the last treatment.

Long before hydrocodone leaves your body ultimately, you’ll probably stop “feeling” the pain relief it provides. For this reason, if you’re in pain, your doctor might advise you to take one hydrocodone tablet every four to six hours. Extended-release formulations are typically taken every 12 hours to manage pain because they last a little longer.

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Is Hydrocodone Addictive?

Opioids are a class of drugs that relieve pain.  An opioid is an umbrella term that includes natural opioids, semi-synthetic opioids derived from natural opioids, and synthetic opioids created in a laboratory. Several naturally occurring opiate alkaloids, such as morphine, codeine, and thebaine, serve as the chemical building blocks of many semi-synthetic opioid drugs, including heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

Many opiates are essential in the medical community for their sedative and painkilling properties, though heroin is a morphine derivative that’s exclusively recreational and highly illegal. These drugs have high addiction potential, and even those given out legally via prescription are often abused and can be found on black markets. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2012 World Drug Report, 26.4-36 million people across the globe abuse opiates. With that said, How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your Urine?

A prescription painkiller known as hydrocodone is detectable in urine up to 24 hours after the last dose. It can be found in the urine of those who use it regularly, but it will be more challenging to find this substance in urine samples from those who use it infrequently or just when they are ill.

How long does hydrocodone stay in urine? It’s crucial to remember that if you use hydrocodone, your urine may still contain traces of the drug days after you stop using it. This is because your body has become accustomed to the drug’s presence and is no longer eliminating it in its original form; instead, it has mutated into a new form that a test can only detect.

How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? How long do hydrocodone stay in your urine depends on various things. The amount of alcohol you consume, your weight, health, gender, kidney function, and other factors will affect how long alcohol may be detected in urine. Although everyone’s time for hydrocodone detection will differ, several fundamental concepts will apply in every case.

Only approximately 5% of a dose taken every two days will be excreted throughout the following 24 hours. When taken daily, hydrocodone can linger in your system for up to 7 days before being eliminated by urine.

How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? Before thinking about stopping hydrocodone suddenly, it is best to consult a medical professional to avoid hydrocodone withdrawal.
How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? Before thinking about stopping hydrocodone suddenly, it is best to consult a medical professional to avoid hydrocodone withdrawal.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your Blood?

Out of all substances in the body, hydrocodone has the lowest half-life in the blood. Because blood tests rely on the drug’s half-life, which is short for hydrocodone like many opioid medicines, this is the case. The time it takes for your body to remove half of a usual dose from your bloodstream is known as a half-life.

The best technique to estimate how long a drug can stay in your body for each individual may not be to use research with healthy male volunteers to determine a half-life. Men and women have varying metabolic rates, as do those with health issues.

How long does hydrocodone stay in blood? Since hydrocodone typically has a half-life of 3.8 hours, it may be detectable in your blood for up to 8 hours. It is, therefore, unlikely that you will undergo a hydrocodone blood test.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Saliva?

How long does hydrocodone stay in saliva? Hydrocodone can still be found in saliva 12 to 36 hours after the last dose. Because of the short time range, these tests aren’t frequently utilized to find opioids.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your Hair?

Compared to other bodily substances, hydrocodone has a substantially longer half-life in hair. How long does hydrocodone stay in hair? Over 90 days after the last time you took the drug, your hair shafts may still contain traces of it and its metabolites.

There is no way to speed detox other than shaving your head because the drug and its metabolites are stored in your hair shaft. This type of drug test is still less prevalent than a urine test due to its expense.

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Factors That Affect How Long Hydrocodone Stay In System

The time it takes for hydrocodone to leave the body can vary depending on various circumstances. People often wonder, how long does hydrocodone stay in your system? To find out, there are factors involved. These consist of the following:

  • Weight
  • Body fat percentage
  • Metabolism
  • Liver performance
  • Duration of morphine usage
  • If you’ve ever used opioids
  • Dosage
  • Other medical issues
  • Alternative medicines
  • Alcohol

When combined, alcohol and hydrocodone can either positively or negatively affect each other. This implies that drinking alcohol intensifies the effects of hydrocodone. Your body will take longer to rid itself of hydrocodone.

Another dangerous side effect of mixing alcohol and hydrocodone is the potential for a deadly overdose.

Your body uses the cytochrome P450 3A route (CYP3A) to eliminate hydrocodone. Your body finds it more challenging to break down hydrocodone when you use medications that block CYP3A4.

The following substances, along with hydrocodone, may cause severe issues, including potentially fatal respiratory depression:

  • Drugs called macrolides, like erythromycin
  • Antifungal azole substances
  • Anti-protease drugs

The following drugs have been demonstrated to interact with hydrocodone and intensify its effects:

  • Additional medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Anti-anxiety medication (like Xanax)
  • Tricyclic mood stabilizers
  • Mood stabilizers referred classified as MAO inhibitors.

Hydrocodone and Drug Tests

The half-life of a typical dose of hydrocodone is 3.8 hours. This indicates that it will require 3.8 hours for the average body to flush out half of this amount. How long does hydrocodone stay in saliva? If a physical addiction has developed, it takes roughly 6–12 hours for hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms to manifest, and saliva tests can only identify the last traces of hydrocodone 12–36 hours after the previous dose. How long does hydrocodone stay in urine? Urine tests are more accurate and can identify the medication for 2-4 days. In general, these time restrictions are lengthened for heavy, recurrent users.

Additionally, even 90 days after the last dose, all opioids can still be detected in the hair follicles, but hair tests are rarely used. Hydrocodone addiction is a very severe issue due to this substance’s risks and adverse effects. Some brands have high acetaminophen concentrations in the painkiller, making it difficult on the liver even without an overdose. Over time, liver damage like scarring and inflammation can result, posing a life-threatening medical condition.

The slowdowns of the digestive and respiratory systems can also lead to chronic constipation, intestinal damage, and increased susceptibility to lung and respiratory infections.

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Symptoms of Hydrocodone Withdrawal

Within four to six hours, hydrocodone’s painkilling effects start to fade. But even after the last dose, the medication may still be found in the saliva for up to 36 hours, the urine for four days, and the hair for 90 days.

Flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches, runny noses, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, chills and sweats, irregular heartbeats, trouble focusing, irritability, headaches, and weariness, are typical withdrawal symptoms. Seizures and blood pressure increases are examples of more severe symptoms. When getting off hydrocodone, it is critical to be under well-monitored medical supervision.

For someone who has become dependent or addicted to hydrocodone, the process may be difficult, uncomfortable, or even painful. It is advised to employ inpatient or outpatient treatment for hydrocodone addiction and a medically supervised detox.

Without first seeing your doctor, don’t stop taking hydrocodone abruptly because withdrawal symptoms may be severe. These may consist of the following:

  • Restlessness
  •  Enlarged pupils
  •  Irritability
  •  Unable to fall asleep
  •  Muscular pain
  •  Joint ache
  •  Vomiting
  •  Sweating
  •  Chills
  •  Rapid respiration
  •  Rapid heart rate

To prevent withdrawal, your doctor may gradually lower your dosage over time. We refer to this as tapering. It is advised to gradually reduce the dose by 25 to 50 percent every two to four days while keeping a close eye out for withdrawal signs and symptoms. People often wonder, how long does hydrocodone stay in your system? And is it addictive?

If withdrawal symptoms arise, they might be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. Everyone goes through withdrawal differently.

Typically, symptoms start to get better in 72 hours and significantly better in a week. You can control your symptoms with the aid of your doctor.

Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment

If you think a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, you should research the substances and their associated addiction to understand better what your loved one needs. Next, you must plan an intervention to provide your loved ones with options to battle the effects of drug addiction in a safe and supportive environment. During this intervention, offer compassion and support instead of judgment. Lastly, show your support throughout the entire treatment process.

In addition, prolonged drug use can have severe physical and psychological effects on you, so it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. To have a better idea on how long does hydrocodone stay in your system, it is essential to get medical assistance when needed. Inpatient drug rehab offers intensive care that can help you promptly get through the early stages of drug withdrawal. 

Hydrocodone Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated drug detox withdrawal but doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior contributing to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete the drug detox.

Cravings are very common during drug detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can give medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient Drug Addiction Rehab

There isn’t one treatment approach or style that will suit everyone. Treatment should speak to the needs of the individual. Inpatient rehab and addiction treatment aren’t just about drug use. the goal is to help the patient stop using drugs and other substances, but drug rehab should also focus on the whole person’s needs.

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. When someone or their family is considering different treatment facilities, they should account for the complexity of addiction and the needs of the individual. The objective of attending an inpatient rehab center for addiction treatment is to stop using the drug and re-learn how to live a productive life without it.

Following a full medical detox, most people benefit from inpatient rehab. Inpatient drug rehab can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Patients stay overnight in the rehab facility and participate in intensive treatment programs and therapy. Once someone completes rehab, their addiction treatment team will create an aftercare plan, which may include continuing therapy and participation in a 12-step program like Narcotics Anonymous.


Many rehab programs will also have early morning classes or programs. Group sessions occur during inpatient rehab, as do individual therapy sessions. Family therapy may be part of inpatient rehab when it’s feasible. Alternative forms of therapy may be introduced during inpatient rehab, like a holistic therapy program, yoga for addiction recovery, or an addiction treatment massage therapy.

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Solution-focused therapy is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. Traumatic experiences can often result in mental health disorders and substance abuse. Dual-diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend mainly on the treatment for both diseases done by the same team or provider.

Having trouble with hydrocodone or any drug addiction? Allow our medical professionals to help you get treated at We Level Up NJ.
Having trouble with hydrocodone or any drug addiction? Allow our medical professionals to help you get treated at We Level Up NJ.

Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our drug addiction treatment program medically. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Drug Rehab Near Me

Drug addiction is a condition that can cause significant health problems, such as an overdose. We Level Up NJ rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition and clarify issues like drug withdrawal symptoms. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please understand that each call is private and confidential.

5 Popular How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?FAQs

  1. How long does hydrocodone stay in your blood?

    This is most often asked alongside, “how long does hydrocodone stay in your system?” Hydrocone typically lasts in the blood for up to 9 hours after the first intake.

  2. How long does hydrocodone stay in breastmilk?

    Hydrocodone can stay in breast milk for up to 24 hours when taken.

  3. Can you cut hydrocodone in half?

    No. Do not crush, break, or open an extended-release pill. Swallow it whole to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose.

  1. How long does a Lortab stay in your system? And how long does hydrocodone stay in the system?

    How long does hydrocodone stay in your system? Hydrocodone can be detectable within the body for up to 90 days, depending on the test used.

  2. How long does hydrocodone stay in saliva?

    For 12 to 36 hours, hydrocodone can stay in the saliva.

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