Wednesday October 22nd 2014

How long does hydrocodone last?

Hydrocodone lasts for about 4-6 hours, even though it takes about a day or two for hydrocodone to clear the blood.  In fact, the hydrocodone detection period is many times longer than pain relief effects. More here on the effects of hydrocodone on the body, as well as what you risk when getting high on hydrocodone. We invite your questions about how long hydrocodone lasts at the end.

Hydrocodone effects on the body and brain

Hydrocodone is a narcotic class of opioids used to manage moderate to severe pain by changing the way the body and brain respond to pain. Hydrocodone is also sometimes prescribed to help relieve coughing. Hydrocodone also produces euphoric effect in the central nervous system, a feeling of extreme well being. But when you take hydrocodone to get high, or used long-term to control pain, you can become addicted to hydrocodone.  And although snorting hydrocodone side effects are about the same as taking hydrocodone orally, the immediate delivery of hydrocodone to the brain can get you addicted to its effects over time.  In terms of the body, hydrocodone is central nervous system depressant, and its effects on the body can include:

  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • impaired coordination
  • nausea
  • shallow breathing
  • slowed heart rate
  • vomiting

Hydrocodone duration of action

The half life for hydrocodone in the typical adult is just under 4 hours. Hydrocodone reaches its peak level in the blood after about 1.3 hours. However, the amount of hydrocodone in someone’s system will vary on the type of medication they’ve taken: hydrocodone as a painkiller or as an anti-tussive cough medication.

Hydrocodone time in the body

After more than a day or two, it’s unlikely that hydrocodone will still be present in the blood. Hydrocodone will show up on urine screens for 1-2 days, but the longest hydrocodone can stay in your system is in hair samples that detect hydrocodone use for 90 days or even longer.

How long do hydrocodone effects last

The effects of hydrocodone last anywhere for 4-6 hours. Tablets usually last about 6 hours. But hydrocodone should not be taken more frequently than once every six hours. The cough medication that contains hydrocodone may not last as long, because the doses may be smaller.

How long does a hydrocodone high last

A hydrocodone high will last between 4-6 hours, since that’s how long it takes for the drug to be cleared from the human body. In order to get high, however, you may have to take higher doses of hydrocodone than would normally be prescribed, and this is dangerous because of the risk of overdose and addiction. Because hydrocodone often comes combined with acetaminophen, taking too much hydrocodone to get high can directly result in liver damage.

Hydrocodone high effects

Hydrocodone’s pain-relieving effects can also have the side effect of causing a high. This is because hydrocodone binds with opioid receptors in the central nervous system that regulate mood, sensation, and pleasure. In self-reported examples, people have reported some of these effects:

  • drowsiness
  • euphoria
  • relaxation
  • numbness

However, hydrocodone is very addictive, so using hydrocodone to get high does carry risks. A hydrocodone addiction can result in powerful withdrawal symptoms, uncontrollable cravings for the drug, and compulsive use of the drug despite negative consequences.

Hydrocodone duration questions

Still have questions about the effects of hydrocodone? Please leave your questions below. We try to answer all questions about hydrocodone with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: DEA: Hydrocodone
Medline Plus: Hydrocodone
Toxnet: Hydrocodone
NIDA for Teens: Opioid and Pain Reliever Facts

Photo credit: Sarah @ pingsandneedles

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19 Responses to “How long does hydrocodone last?
eswar
12:13 pm February 5th, 2013

i had a medium sized dose yesterday night,.i had become high after having it……later i slept.had a good nap……forgot to say……..this is the first time i had a drug……i still feel drowsiness in me……..i just want to get rid of that…..suggest some remedies ASAP….

12:34 pm February 6th, 2013

Hi eswar. The effects of hydrocodone usually last for about 4-6 hours. If you’re feeling fatigued, this can be caused by many conditions. But if you suspect that you may have overdosed, seek medical help immediately. Call 911 or the poison control center in your area ASAP.

Harry
3:01 pm February 13th, 2013

I’ve been taking 2 to4 7.5 mg a day for two months, I want to stop. Any suggestions and what should I expect ? One problem is that I suffer from pretty bad depression. Thanks for any help

8:33 am February 14th, 2013

Hi Harry. Great question. It’s good to be prepared! I’d suggest that you first talk with your prescribing doctor to set up a tapering schedule. This can help minimize the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, which usually feel like a really bad flu. Also, ask for a referral to another doctor who may be able to prescribe you with anti-depressants. Significant feelings of dysphoria, or dissatisfaction with life, can be present during hydrocodone withdrawal. So, any underlying depression can be felt more severely. With this medical support behind you, however, you can hope to feel better within 2-3 weeks after quitting.

Does this help?

Joe
9:09 pm April 5th, 2013

I,ve been taking 10 mg a day or at times 20 for 3 months- this is for chronic knee pain and today have not taken any – thinking of taking 5mg 6 hours before I go to bed with plenty of water all day is this safe ?

6:16 am April 10th, 2013

Hi Joe. Take hydrocodone as prescribed, or seek advice from a pharmacist or your prescribing doctor.

Floyd
2:47 pm June 12th, 2013

I took two hydrocodone, one at 7 am and one at two pm 24 hrs before a urine test, will I pass the test ?

Floyd
3:45 pm June 13th, 2013

nevermind, thanks anyway, I passed.

NotReadingFromAScript
3:40 pm February 22nd, 2014

From a lot of experience, I find the advice from “Addiction Blog” to be just a little too ‘ideal’ – i.e., not what really happens. Don’t think for a moment that ‘consulting your prescribing doctor’ (when you suspect an addiction) is always the best thing. Only occassionally is it a good thing to do, but not in many cases. Not all doctors react the same way; many radically different.

For just one example, someone I know told their doctor they’ve taken just a little more of the pain pills than they should have – asking for help. The doctors responded angrily, as though it was a personal insult. Zap! No more pain pills, no replacement. Threw the person into a very sick period. That isn’t what you want to happen if you have a good job! You can lose it from being too sick for too long. And you want up turning to illegal drugs.

“I’d suggest that you first talk with your prescribing doctor to set up a tapering schedule.”

Hello Dr. xxxx, I got advice saying that I should call you, to set up a tapering schedule. Another doctor I know would say (when you can reach them, that is): “Go the E.R.” Basically handing your problem over to someone else. You go the E.R. and sit for hours, labeled as a narcotics addict, until you can’t take it any more. Then worse things can happen.

Yet another doctor that I know once told a good person, who’d become dependant on Demerol through a surgery, “My training is that ‘the poison must be withdrawn at once!’” I.e., none of that tapering stuff. It wasn’t pretty what happened later.

Not every medical professional will embrace you and say, ‘come dear, let’s walk through your recovery together.’ In fact, most are way too busy for this type of thing.

I know Addiction Blog means well, but obviously has little experience. I offer this advice to those worried about being addicted to their medicine: (1.) Keep it discreet. The less people you tell, the better. Because they’ll always remember you that way. No matter how good a person you’ve been. (2.) Get a grip on it. You can. If you’re taking 20 mg. of something 5 times a day, then go to 20 mg. twice a day. Move down from there.You’ll soon realize that you do have some control and no, it wasn’t that bad. And your doctor, friends and coworkers won’t have you permanently labeled as a narcotics addict.

Everything in moderation, no freaking out and no crying to crisis hotlines. Like a good doctor I know says, “it’s the way you, yourself, process the situation.” I wish all the best. Better days are coming.

9:52 am February 25th, 2014

Hello NotReading.

We want to clear up a few misconceptions posted in your comment.

1. Dependence on a drug does NOT indicate addiction. Dependence on opioids like hydrocodone is a physical phenomenon that occurs after regular dosing after a period of about few weeks. Dependence results in withdrawal symptoms when dosing is abruptly stopped or significantly lowered.

2. Tapering is THE MOST HUMANE way to end drug dependence, as the process minimizes the intensity and severity of withdrawal symptoms. While some advocates of “cold turkey” detox may advocate for immediate removal of opioids from the system in order to better address psychological symptoms of compulsion and cravings for people addicted to hydrocodone…cold turkey is not always necessary. Additionally, if immediate hydrocodone removal IS recommended, clonidine, buprenorphine, methadone, and/or antidepressants can be prescribed during the acute and protracted withdrawal period. ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL HELP when you want to get off hydrocodone!

3. Addiction is no longer socially stigmatized. Physical and psychological dependence on opioids are medical conditions that are treated with clear protocols. To advocate that people “Keep quiet” about symptoms or self-treat s irresponsible and can lead to less successful outcomes than complete honesty and medical supervision.

At Addiction Blog, we recommend that anyone dealing with symptoms of hydrocodone dependence, abuse, or addiction seek medical help and consider a longer term, individualized tapering program when coming off the medication.

anita
12:25 am April 14th, 2014

I have a prescription for hydrocodone from 11/10/11 and have never taken all the pills.. Would they still be effective for my
Shoulder pain from a dislocation and if so how long would they be good…I hate to call a doctor for another script if these are
good

Brian
10:40 am May 23rd, 2014

Hydrocodone and other opioids is not a drug you want to be dependent on. They are highly addictive, and probably the most euphoric pharmaceutical or illicit drug that is out there. If you have an addictive personality, you’re more likely to abuse the medicine. I’ve been prescribed to hydrocodone many times in the past due to surgeries and broken bones. Doctors give hydrocodone out like candy if you know what words to use. It’s the most common narcotic prescribed in America. Hydrocodone probably gets rid of 95% of my pain after surgery or injury. It depends on how bad the pain is. I’ve had knee surgery, and the pain pills do very little if you take them as prescribed, because it’s simply not potent enough for major knee surgery. That means you’ll go through about 40-50 of them in 2 days. That’s how bad my pain was. I’ve had such a high tolerance in the past that it would take 34 10/325mg Norco taken in 1 dose to get rife of the pain. That is equivalent to 68 5/325mg Norco. It never caused any liver damage to me. Then again, I didn’t take them for months at a time. Surgery pain lasts(the most intense) of the pain for about 3-5 days. Then the pain is reduced probably by half. If you are thinking about using hydrocodone for your first time when you don’t need then, I’d advise not to even touch opioid pain medication. It will lead to more, because everyone likes the way it makes them feel(euphoria,etc). Oxycodone is 50% more potent than hydrocodone, but when studies were done, the same milligram of both hydrocodone and oxycodone relieve the same amount of pain even though oxycodone is 50% more potent. Hydrocodone is 4/10 the potency of morohine, yet I’ve been prescribed to morohine as well, and it’s not that strong. It’s more sedative than hydrocodone. My advice is to ask for some pain reliever that is not as habit forming as the formal opioids, such as tramodol. The last thing you want is an opioid addiction., I went 3,years without being prescribed to them, then I had to get dental work done, so they they are again. Everyone will probably get prescribed to opiates in their lifetime.

Edmund Kelley
11:02 am July 27th, 2014

I was prescribed Hydroco /APAP 5/325 1 or 2
Every 4 to 6 hours for back and hip pain. The
Tablets did not relieve the pain. I have had the
Following side effects severe constipation bloating
Anxiety breathing problems loss of appetite and
Fatigue. This has been going on for two months
I have to have some oxygen and have been
Hospitalized ,

Scott
9:55 am August 4th, 2014

Hi, I am being prescribed Morphine ER 15mg x 4 daily, and Norco 10/325 x 2 daily for chronic lower back pain, a collapsed T-9 Vert, and for hip pain which I will be having complete left hip replacement surgery in two weeks. Both these drugs as prescribed almost totally eliminate my pain for all these issues. My concern is that, because they work so well for the pain, I may be unknowingly causing more injuries to myself through my daily routines I can now perform on the medications because I cannot feel the pain. Is this at all possible? I am a 8 yr high dose (60-280 Mg daily) prednisone patient (lung disorder) and the Prednisone as cause advanced osteoporosis, of which I now have the mentioned issues plus 5 broken ribs, cracked sternum, and other minor bone problems. Thank you in advance for your information!

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
10:58 am August 4th, 2014

Hello Scott. Your situation is anything but easy. I’d have to suggest you make a doctors appointment. Doctors can examine you and see all your past medical conditions and medications, and can give you accurate, professional advise.

shea
1:06 am August 23rd, 2014

I have chronic back pain. I have a bulging disc that sits on a nerve root and degenerate disc dieses and I went to pain mgt. for about 3 years. I was on hydrocodone 10-326 1-2 every 4-6 hrs not to exceed 8. I had injections several times… then I was changed to oxicodone, same dose 10mg 1-2 every 4-6 hrs, not to exceed 8 a day. It didn’t seem to give me alot of relief. I also took muscle relaxer 3x and gabaphintine. It just stopped helping. The nurses sucked and constantly would not call my refills in over weekends and I’d have to page the dr &/or just suddenly have nothing for a few days. It sucked. I often was out a few days before I should have been because if I didn’t have something about 3am I didn’t get any decent sleep. Ugh. I would even take a couple or… of zanex and hurt so bad I just couldn’t sleep. I didn’t like having to take more than 2 mg of zanez but sometimes I did 3 just trying to knock myself out. I just stopped going. I am so sick of this pain though.so… I went to a new pain dr just yesterday after just seeing my primary care doc. I am lucky I have such a great pc doc. He tryed to help me with antidepressant cymbalta and tranadol and muscle relaxer and celebrex. I was taking about 3 200mg ibuprofen several times a day too. I just couldn’t stand the pain anymore… so I went back into oain mgt. yesterday and I really like my new dr & the staff is nice. My first doc was nice untill he changed locations and then Iit was not! Nurses so rude and ? Just wasnt helping me…. anyway, I was prescribed hydrocodone again 10-325 but only 1 every 6 hrs. & muscle relaxer 3x a day & still take the 400mg celebrex and cymbalta… I am hurting so crazy bad! I don’t think 1 10-325 works for me at all. I don’t want to take more than what he said but not sure what to do. I’ve hurt so freaky bad for over 4 years now and I am so tired of this pain, and I don’t sleep near enough. I am scheduled for injections in a couple of weeks. My birthday is next week and I sure was hoping I would have some relief…. I sing in a band and hurting while on stage is not alot of fun! I hope my new doc helps me! I feel like maybe if I took the pain meds every 4 hrs? Maybe it would help or take 1 and a half? Gurrrrr. I don’t want to play dr or self medicate I just want relief! & i dont seem to get the euphoria or ? High so? I don’t know about all of that…? dont notice a “high” I just want the pain to go! Guess I have some kind of ttolerance or something.

Rosanne Stewart
11:38 pm September 12th, 2014

I was prescribed a cough medicine with hydrocodone yesterday. I took one dose around noon and the next about eight in the evening. I haven’t had taken any for about 23 hours now and I’m still feeling unnaturally drowsy.

How is this possible? I’ve noticed before that I tend to have strangely long-lasting reactions to any medication that causes drowsiness. I avoid most cold medicines for that reason. But is no one has ever given me a medical explanation for this.

avery
9:39 am October 21st, 2014

If one was to snort 8 5/325 hydrocones weighing 195lbs was 6foot 3 and had a 9 day period how many half lives would it take to rid ones body to 0

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
1:39 pm October 21st, 2014

Hi Avery. It really depends on the individual’s methabolism, health state, hydration, and is it mixed with other substances. It would take up to 1 week for hydrocodone to be apsent from urine, 10 days from saliva and traces of it can be found in hair up to 90 days after use.

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