Thursday April 2nd 2015

How to stop taking hydrocodone

How to stop taking hydrocodone

Are you interested in stopping hydrocodone?

It can be difficult to quit hydrocodone without a doctor’s assistance, because how hydrocodone works is related to the brain. There are a variety of reasons why you might have trouble managing hydrocodone dependence or addiction. Learn more about hydrocodone dependence, addiction, and how to stop taking Hydrocodone below. And ask your questions about taking hydrocodone at the end.

Can I just stop taking hydrocodone?

Yes, you can just stop taking hydrocodone…but only if you’ve just started. Many people are given hydrocodone for a week or two for the management of pain from an illness, accident, or operation. If you’re only taking hydrocodone for a short period of time, you can easily stop taking hydrocodone when you no longer need it or your prescription runs out.

Many people, however, will need to stop taking hydrocodone gradually. If you’ve taken hydrocodone to help manage chronic pain, things get a little more complicated. Hydrocodone uses and side effects can include physical dependency.  You’ll experience withdrawal symptoms after taking hydrocodone long term, making it difficult to quit using hydrocodone. You may also have developed an addiction to hydrocodone which does not allow you to simply stop taking hydrocodone without intense cravings.  How addictive is hydrocodone?  Relatively very addictive.

What happens when you stop taking hydrocodone?

Your brain and body body becomes used to the presence of hydrocodone over time. When you abruptly stop taking hydrocodone, your body has to adjust again to function without the medication, which can cause minor or even severe withdrawal symptoms. Even if you aren’t psychologically dependent (addicted) to the medication, this will still be the case.

Side effects stop taking hydrocodone

Different people will have a different length of time they can take hydrocodone for without developing a dependence, but in general it takes several weeks of continuous use to develop hydrocodone dependence. Withdrawal effects can include a number of side effects, such as:

  • insomnia
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • shakiness

Taking hydrocodone long term – over several months or even years – will cause much worse withdrawal symptoms than those experienced from short-term use. Hydrocodone withdrawal syndrome may also be worse if you have abused hydrocodone by taking it in very high doses or in a manner other than prescribed such as snorting or injecting hydrocodone.

Stop taking hydrocodone suddenly

If you’ve only been taking hydrocodone for a short while, you can suddenly stop without ill effects. If you’ve taken hydrocodone longer than a few weeks, this isn’t advisable because the withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly unpleasant. Most doctors will recommend gradually reducing your dose of hydrocodone to make quitting easier.

Stop taking hydrocodone cold turkey

There are some situations in which it would make sense to quit hydrocodone cold turkey. If you’ve previously had a bad reaction to the medication or it’s causing unpleasant side effects, tapering your dosage may be intolerable or even dangerous. If you suffer from a hydrocodone addiction, it may seem tempting to quit cold turkey, but you need to address the underlying addiction issues with a medical professional as well to help prevent relapse.

How do I stop taking hydrocodone?

Reducing your dosage over several weeks or months is the safest way to quit hydrocodone. It’s also the best way to ensure that you don’t experience a relapse and start taking hydrocodone again.

How to stop taking Hydrocodone safely

The safest way to stop taking hydrocodone is by consulting a doctor and following his or her instructions. There may be medical treatments available to help you deal with withdrawal symptoms, but it’s usually preferable to stop taking hydrocodone without taking other opioid medications for withdrawals.

Stop taking hydrocodone questions

Do you still have questions about how to stop taking hydrocodone? Please leave us your questions here. We wll do our best to answer you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: Medline Plus: Hydrocodone
NCBI: The Relative Abuse Liability of Oral Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Hydromorphone Assessed in Prescription Opioid Abusers
DEA Drug Fact Sheet: Hydrocodone 

Leave a Reply

44 Responses to “How to stop taking hydrocodone
10:45 am July 5th, 2012

god **** restless leg syndrome

12:25 am July 6th, 2012

I went to a detox to get off of drugs and alcohol safely. I have known some people who have tried by themselves without much knowledge of the dangers of detoxing without professional help. I got and stayed sober with the help of a sober living facility.

5:24 pm July 9th, 2012

Hello Johnathon. Restless leg syndrome can be a disturbing and uncomfortable symptom of withdrawal, or it can be related to a neurological disorder. Have you seen a doctor for possible RLS?

4:33 pm November 20th, 2012

AM 65 will cold turkey stop of 750/10 hydro up to 5/6 daily for 8 yrs be harmfull to me

10:39 am November 21st, 2012

Hi Frank. Cold turkey is not advisable for daily use of hydrocodone over the course of many years. Instead, taper your dose down with the help of your prescribing doctor. This will help to minimize withdrawal symptoms and make the process less severe. Otherwise, you’re in for a possible longer, more difficult process.

12:35 pm December 2nd, 2012

My friend is addicted to vicadine. I don’t know the strength. They are yellow pills. She has been hiding this for years . I’m very cocerned.
Her husband takes pain pills because of a back problem which he had surgery for . Jane, says her neck hurts, she has been to a pain management Dr. Which tells me someone thought she needed to be monitored. Pain mang. Last time she went gave her a series of shots around her neck, which she said were painful and didn’t work. I figured that they knew she was hooked on the codine. I am in the medical field she has asked me several times if I could get some for her and she has a script for them and her husband has a big 120 refill for his needs. She has taken his pills so much he now hides them from her. I’ve seen her going thru his stuff looking for them. Her feet hurt her back hurts her neck hurts ?? I think she says that so her husband will give her some meds. I don’t know the best way to Handel this. I am prepared for her to be mad and that this could end our friendship. I’ve known her since the 6th grade I’m now 50. She can hate me if she wants but she WILL have the rest of her life. Can you die from withdralls ? How long would you think it would take her to detox ? Could she take off work ” vacation “.and complete detox treatment ? Granted she would probably still be seeing someone for the mental issues of quiting the codine.
Thank you for your time I hope you can help with advice in this situation. I realize not knowing the patient or the dosage she has been taking you can only give me general information. She has been taking itfor years, many pills a day and I’ve seen her freaking out looking for them because her husband has started hiding them. She reminds me of a cocaine addict sniffing the carpet to see if any might have fell on the carpet. It’s awful to watch.

frank villagrana
12:45 am January 16th, 2013

reply to johnathons comment….when i run out of the medicine…my bad limb…which is my left foot and leg….start shaking by itself…pain gets intense…travels through and up my leg…hip…heart…and all the way to my left hand…tip of my fingers…anyone else experience the same thing let me know…i described this to my doctors…and honestly they look at me like if i am loosing my mind…i am honest though…it happens everytime…i mentioned to my doctor…that i concentrate on just not having a heart attack…what am i going to do…

arlene windham
7:08 am May 21st, 2013

My neurologist prescribed hydrocodone/apap 10/500 4 times per day for my fibromyalgia/arthritis 13 years ago! I kept asking him to put me on something else but he wouldn’t. I’ve NEVER abused them. Recently he died of a heart attack. Now I’m seeing a GP who I’ve also seen for years for other mild sicknesses. He said he would help me get off of this & several other meds I’m not happy with taking (all addictive)…we haven’t started yet because I had to have a brain tumor removed…benign…a year ago but still having pain from it. I had some blood tests run last week & just learned today that I have elevated liver enzymes & elevated ANA levels. I also have Hepatitis A. I want to get off of this particular med ASAP! Should I get my doctor to help me taper off or consider going into rehab to get off of them all? What can I take for pain that is NOT addictive & will work? Thank you.

1:18 pm May 21st, 2013

Hello Arlene. Unfortunately, most pain medications are opiate or opioid based and can cause addiction. I’d suggest that you consult with an MD experienced in detox and seek an opinion so that you can set your course towards a sober life without endangering yourself. You can call a local detox clinic and set up an assessment at your earliest convenience.

charles hager
3:18 pm June 17th, 2013

I some have been taking some sort of pain Rx for 15 years plus, from lortab to percecet, fentenal, methadone, and now back to Norco. I have been taking Norco for 1year now. I am trying very hard to get off of all pain meds, but am having a very difficult time with it. I have had an anxiety/pain disorder for years and OCD, long before I had taken the pain Rx. I am unable to take anti-depressants because of side-effects. I find that the more I reduce the dose of hydrocodone the worse the anxiety and panic are. I have read on web MD that hydrocodone is on of the meds given for this disorder, I am confused about this, I had come to believe that it was the Norco that was causing the anxiety to become worse, I don’t know anymore, the only time I feel less anxious is after the dose of Norco. I am only taking 15mgs of hydrocodone a day now from 80mgs. I take clonazepam also, but it seems to have little effect on the anxiety/panic stuff. I don’t know where to proceed to, I want to feel better but it seems that there is no end to this.

11:53 am July 5th, 2013

Hello Charles. I have not read of opioids being using clinically to treat anxiety disorder. I’d suggest that you check in with a psychiatrist for a more clear picture on what’s happening with the combination of drugs and to help you get out off the pain medications with a tapering schedule. You’ll probably need to address the psycho-emotional issues which underlie the anxiety and can do this without pharmacological therapies, given the correct guidance.

Bonnie Bastian
11:41 pm July 23rd, 2013

I Have been on 10-325 hydrocodone for about 1 1/2 years due to having 2 bad knees—I had a very sick husband who passed away last Oct-2012. I finally had 1 complete knee replacement done on June 4th–the pain was and is still not gone but getting better. I was on about 5 pills a day since surgery. I just starting pulling back to about 3 a day and feel sick to my stomach n the afternoon. I want to go off this pill but I did not know it would be so difficult. Should I join a detox program or talk to my Doctor. I have never been on a pain killer before this.

11:59 am July 24th, 2013

Hello Bonnie. Talk with your doctor first. You may have reduced dosage too quickly, resulting in withdrawal. Your prescribing doctor can recommend a tapering schedule just for you so that you can slowly get the hydrocodone out of your system. I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. This must be a difficult time for you. You are in my thoughts.

7:07 pm August 9th, 2013

I have been on hydrocodone for 6 years, the last year loracet 10/650, 4 a day. I tapered over 6 weeks to stop them. It’s been 2 days without and I feel fine but tired. Is this going to get worse? Diet and acupuncture have helped reduce the need for the pills. Wondering if this will be all the discomfort.

4:22 pm September 16th, 2013

I have been taking 90 to 120 pills of hydrocodone a month and want to stop but I am a single mother and have a job and I need help on how to proceed to ween myself off of these so as to not have aweful side effects because I still have to function for obvious reasons

10:45 am September 19th, 2013

Hello Melanie. Here are some general guidelines from the Office of Veteran’s Affairs. You can also do a Google search for: opiate taper guide

serge geneau
10:35 pm September 21st, 2013

my friend was incarcerated for 4 months ,she was an addict on the very first day of her release went back into injecting hydro-morph ,she takes roughly 3 to 4 sixes a day,can she quit on her own by cutting down daily

1:04 am October 16th, 2013

need advice on tapering – I have been taking hydrocodone (750) since back surgery Dec 2008, and would like to remove it from my pill regimen. I also have severe fibromyalgia, and it really seems to help with the muscle cramps I get from that after I exercise. I am down to two pills a day, although my prescription is for 3, but I take one Ibuprofen 800 in the evening instead as I find the evening dose keeps me awake too much. I need some knee surgery and the surgeon suggested I quit the hydrocodone cold turkey so he can prescribe it after the surgery (he says it will not work if I am currently taking it for my back and fibro pain). After reading some of these comments, I suspect at least part of my increasingly severe fibro symptoms may be from not taking more hydrocodone, rather than fibromyalgia on its own. My pain doctor will not give me a tapering schedule, but I would like to taper off (with or without knee surgery). I have changed surgeons for the knee surgery. Can you give me some idea of a tapering plan that I can follow myself? thanks, BJ

4:13 pm October 22nd, 2013

Hello BJ. Wow. Your pain doctor will not provide a tapering plan? Here’s a guide provided by the VA: If you need additional suggestions, I’d recommend that you consult with your pharmacist for ideas on best practices.

10:07 am January 20th, 2014

I have been taking hydrocodone to manage pain related to fibromyalgia and degenerative disc/joint disease. I would like to taper down and possibly go off it, but I am definitely concerned about withdrawal. I’ve cut down before but I notice I get extremely tired to the point I almost feel disoriented, but taking my pills oddly helps me wake up. What would you recommend for that, preferably without relying on caffeine. Also, I’ve always been told you can’t take hydrocodone a few weeks before surgery, but how then do you manage fibro pain?

10:40 pm January 22nd, 2014

So, got myself addicted to hydrocodone. I was taking about an average of 2-4 tablespoons of liquid Lortab every night before bed for the better part of a year. I’m experiencing the WORST, WORST, WORST withdrawals. Anxiety (HORRENDOUS) and tremors, cold, exhausted, UGH! The worst. I cannot BELIEVE I did that. It was never intended and I stopped cold turkey. I just started having a bad feeling and felt like I should stop. MAN, I ALMOST wish I didn’t stop. But I know it’s the right thing to do. Anyway, really suffering.
I feel like I have an electric current running through my body and I am weepy and experiencing the kind of anxiety I haven’t felt in years since I learned the skills to manage it. I am so miserable and I need to get an idea of how long this is going to last. Please help with any information.

12:54 pm January 24th, 2014

Hello Erin. Most symptoms of opioid withdrawal resolve in 7-10 days. Have you consulted with a pharmacist or your prescribing doctor about these symptoms?

3:01 pm March 11th, 2014

I have been taking hydrocodone for about 18 months now. This month I have realized I have a problem. I get prescribed 100 per month. I still have 14 days before I can get my next refill and I only have a couple left. I am ready to quit taking them but I do not want the awful withdrawals. I tried to quit once and I couldn’t because of the withdrawals. I need to know what the best thing for me to do is. Just take or throw out the couple that I have left and just quit and suffer through the withdrawals or should I not take the ones I have left but every third day or so so that the withdrawals won’t be so bad. Also how long will I feel like crap when I quit?

3:17 pm July 23rd, 2014

I’ve been on Norco for a few years now, I’m allowed 4 pills a day, but only take 3. I’m under pain management for a degenerative disc/ & tendon disorder. I had over a weeks worth left, I got a refill script that can be filled in 3 more days. Then as I went to take one, I dropped the entire container in the trash! I guess I started the withdrawl around midnight last night, complete with the insomnia, body aches, shaking , chills, sweats & diarrhea. My question is, how long does the initial symptoms last, or how long are they the worst? I’m a mom of 4 kids, 2 are disabled & I’m not able to do what I need to do for them on no sleep. Please help! Also, any ideas on helping ease the withdrawl until Saturday ? Thank you.

3:14 pm July 24th, 2014

Im on morphine and hydrocodone for years im so tired …. I have tumors that are cancer i was 180lbs. now im 99lbs no more drs. And i now get on tae street how can i stop taking this im in soooooo much pain

James C
3:37 pm August 1st, 2014

I need help. Regrettably been taking 10mg lortabs for the past few weeks. Like 4-7 a day. Terrible i know. I want to quit and have been experiencing troubl sleeping and constant stomach pain. Should i decreas does to mayb 1-2 a day until i can stand the withdrawals?

beverly h
5:24 pm August 18th, 2014

trying to stop hydro/acetaminophen 10-325 for 1 week. been taking it for 4 years 3 times a day for back pain and arthritis. am 80 yrs old and need to stop, withdrawals have started and I try to work through them mostly at night headache and confusion and leg spasoms are the worst. I only take 1 every other day and want to STOP

4:09 pm September 7th, 2014

My neighbor is looking for a doctor who can chemically bring her off Vicodin over a period of 5 days. She’s been on it for 10 years and takes it only as prescribed. She did it 45 years ago and wants to do it again and said it only took her 4 days before. She’s been trying not to depend on it by herself but when the detox symptoms begin, she cannot do it and her will power goes out the window. She lives in San Luis Obispo county in California. She doesn’t want to pay for a stay at a rehab center and doesn’t want her family or boss to find out either. She’s willing to pay a doctor for a short-time chemical detox. Please advise.

3:00 pm September 10th, 2014

Hello Lowell. You can find a national database of doctors via the directory under “Professional Organizations” here:

I hope that this helps!

4:25 pm September 16th, 2014

As I read some of these comments I’m concerned, is there a danger from taking an opiod when it is needed, taken as prescribed with brief “holidays” to avoid tolerance rather than increasing the dose? It’s been my understanding that people with a true pain need have a very small risk of addiction. As far as dependence that can happen with many alternative treatments that don’t work as well for many such as antidepressants for fibromyalgia which has to build up and also be tapered off if one wishes to stop with some wicked withdrawal symptoms themselves. Or Topomax for migraines, same thing. Lyrica for FMS , is another example. I just wonder if some, especially the fibromyalgia patients who’s illness flares worse when the body is stressed are not being given all the info they should to make properly informed decisions in an “anti-opiod” time? All medications have their pros and con’s, long lasting chronic pain does as well. There are different options available and the severity of one’s symptoms must be weighed with what works best at restoring as “normal” a life as possible with the least side effects and risk. SOMETIMES opiods are not the evil devil portrayed by our media these days. I am concerned because I don’t feel proper education is keeping up with the rapidly growing fear and legislation being passed. Believe me I know both sides of this coin all to well I am a pain patient myself after losing my 20 yrs old son due to being misinformed by a pain management doctor went off opiods myself sending my body into the worst flare I’ve ever had in 35+ years only to discover the options left either are those that don’t work or have an abundance of risks themselves some of which I’ve tried and only made things worse. I really should have stuck with what was tried, true and familiar. Obviously though I would STRONGLY recommend people educate themselves as no medication is to be taken lightly, even OTC NSAIDS kill many people every year. Its so important to take an active role in your health care and make informed choices.

4:38 pm September 16th, 2014

My post wasn’t clear, I lost my 20yr old son because I did not question his PM doctor beyond “isn’t that pretty dangerous? When he jumped him from oxy to the fentanyl patch. There were MANY times I questioned and was misinformed. He should have never been on such a strong opiod period since he had central sleep apnea and had to take other sleep inducing medications. My point in sharing this is to say EDUCATE yourself, read inserts, etc because even doctors are human and again not every med is right for every person .

8:01 am September 17th, 2014

Thanks Lori, for your update. And thank you for sharing your story with the purpose to educate others.

5:50 am October 12th, 2014

I have been taking Norco for several years now. A couple of weeks ago I was seen by a new pain specialist for my severe lower sacrum pain due to falling, off horses and ladders over the years. He gave me several injections of cortisone which has helped tremendously!!! Now to detox. How to do this gradually weaning myself off? Precise amounts of hydrocodone per hrs per day per wk per ? Thanks for any help you may give! :)

3:58 pm October 12th, 2014

FDA pulled all hydrocodone medications so now what can I do??? I have been going through withdraws a few days each day I feel worse. Going to see doctor tomorrow, what else can he give me? I have Raynaud’s it’s very painful. Only thing I think I can get is Perocettes. I appreciate any advice

9:43 am October 13th, 2014

Hello Shelley. There are actually quite a few other options available, including other narcotic alone, or others that are also combined with Acetaminophen. What did your doctor say?

9:46 pm October 19th, 2014

I want to taper my self off the hydrocodone 10-325. the safe way. I do not abuse the med. I try to take as less of it as I can, I do have a lot of heath problems autho. spinal stynious bulgingdis fybromialga all spelled wrong. I want to use the med 9only when I cant take the pain

6:52 am October 20th, 2014

Hi Elizabeth. A tapering plan is best when it’s made with the help of a doctor and tailored to your needs. Plus, it’s good to be in contact with a doctor when weaning off hydrocodone, just in case.

4:37 pm October 23rd, 2014

I’m addicted to lortabs and I trying to stop cold turkey..I’m so serious about stopping because I don’t like this lifestyle and its ruining my life. I just want to know, how long will the withdrawals last? Some say the first 3 days are the worst. I don’t want to go to a methadone clinic because eventually you have to withdrawal from that. I just want to get this out my system for good and get my life back.. Any suggestions?

10:23 pm December 8th, 2014

Just thought I would share my experience. I was on percocet 10/325 for the last few years for a back injury and nerve damage. Every time I tried to stop I couldn’t handle the withdrawals. My Doctor prescribed me Lyrica. I ran out of my Percs early and decided to try the Lyrica and see if it would help. I couldn’t believe it!! Not a single withdrawl symptom. That was cutting a 80 mg a day oxy habit cold turkey. There were some side effects with the Lyrica I.e. Felt tipsy, and my vision was a little blurry, but overall I will take that over the pain of withdrawals anyday. It has now been three weeks since my last pill! I weaned off the Lyrica after a week and I am never looking back again! This may not be for everyone, ask your doc, but it was a complete Godsend for me. Hope this helps. Take care everyone.

6:23 am December 13th, 2014

I started taking Lortab 10-325 for back pain about 3 years. Had back surgery 9-10-14 of this year. I’m taking 3 pills a day prescribed by my DR. I’m 60 years old and want to get off the pills. Do u think I have an addiction problem? What is the best way to get off this painkiller? Please let me know. It helps with my pain but scared of being addicted. Thank you for a quick response.

1:03 am February 21st, 2015

I use to be a heroin addict. I stopped and one day I was prescribed percs and I ended up getting hooked. I feel useless right now and I feel lost. I have a bad back but I think I can live with the pain. I just want my life back. Am I destined to be a junky the rest of my life?

8:47 pm March 13th, 2015

i have been taking pain pills hydrocodone for about a year almost two just for the high. when I wake up in the morning that’s all I want and threw the day I am 27 years old I have two daughters and it has come to a point where I cant do for them at times if I need pills. but in my eyes they give me energy to get up and do things when I take them I do everthing with my kids and around the house. what should I do about this

2:54 pm March 29th, 2015

I am trying to get off Hydrocodone….but I get restless leg Syndrome really!!!!!

1:25 pm March 30th, 2015

Hi Shelly. There are no cures for primary restless legs syndrome (or RLS) although various treatments often can help relieve symptoms. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. You can go to the local pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for over-the-counter medications that can help. People say that warm baths, massages, heating pads or putting some pressure on your legs can help too.

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