Tuesday September 30th 2014

Hydrocodone detection times

Hydrocodone is most likely to be found on a drug test if you’ve taken it within the last 24 hours. After that, the amounts in blood and urine are low enough that many labs won’t pick up on them.

Here, we’ll look more at how hydrocodone is metabolized and how it stays in various bodily systems. Keep in mind that hydrocodone narcotic addictive and can lead to side effects hydrocodone withdrawal, even when used as prescribed.  Your questions about hydrocodone use and detection are welcomed at the end.

Main hydrocodone uses

Hydrocodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone works by changing the way the body and brain respond to pain; it also affects the part of the brain that controls the coughing reflex, which is why it’s so useful in prescription cough syrups.

How do you take hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is usually administered in pill form, and is only available in combination with other non-narcotic painkillers. These include acetaminophen, and aspirin. Sometimes hydrocodone is used as an active ingredient in cough syrups. However, hydrocodone is usually taken orally, both for medical and illicit purposes. Many people may take hydrocodone in combination with alcohol, which can be extremely dangerous and raises the risk of serious adverse effects.  And you should always take hydrocodone as prescribed.  Can you die from hydrocodone?  Yes, especially when you take hydrocodone more often, in higher doses or in ways other than prescribed (snorting, inhaling, injecting, etc.)

Peak levels and half life of hydrocodone

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

Hydrocodone drug testing detection times

Hydrocodone is metabolized fairly quickly in the body. It’s difficult to detect hydrocodone in someone who isn’t a heavy or habitual user, especially after 24 hours or more. However, hair sample testing may detect hydrocodone use up to months after last dose. More on the types of drug testing for hydrocodone here.

Hydrocodone detection time in blood

Because of its short half-life, hydrocodone is unlikely to be detected in the blood after about 24 hours. A blood test would mostly be useful in cases of medical emergency, impaired driving, or any other situation where there’s reason to believe someone is currently under the influence of hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone detection time in hair

Hydrocodone can be detected in hair. Hair testing for hydrocodone can usually uncover substance abuse that occurred several weeks before, a time frame during which urine tests will no longer be accurate.

Hydrocodone detection time in urine

Hydrocodone reaches its peak concentration in urine after about 8 hours. At that point, levels of hydrocodone in urine begin to taper off. Depending on the dose taken, hydrocodone may only be detectable for 6-24 hours after taking the drug.

Hydrocodone and addiction

Like all opiate medications, hydrocodone is addictive. Hydrocodone addiction is characterized by drug craving, in spite of negative life consequences and even when the drug is out of your system. Even if you don’t get addicted to hydrocodone, users can easily develop a tolerance to hydrocodone, leading them to take hydrocodone in progressively larger doses to achieve original effect. Hydrocodone also fosters a physical dependence, even in people who are using it for legitimate medical reasons like pain management. People dependent on hydrocodone experience withdrawal when they lower dose or stop taking hydrocodone completely. Hydrocodone cannot be stopped abruptly without causing cravings and physical side effects and you should always detox from hydrocodone under medical supervision.

Problems with hydrocodone?

If you think that you have a problem with hydrocodone, you probably do. If you’re addicted to narcotics, there are support groups and medical treatments available to help. If you’re a patient with a hydrocodone prescription and you’re having to take large doses for pain relief, speak to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or trying a different medication. If you’ve developed and dependence on the drug, but want to quit, your doctor can help you slowly wean yourself from the drug.

Hydrocodone detection questions

Do you still have questions about the detection time for hydrocodone or how long hydrocodone stays in your system? Please leave your questions here. We try our best to answer all legitimate questions about hydrocodone with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: PubMed Health: Hydrocodone
Forensic drug testing for opiates

Wisconsin Crime Laboratory System: Toxicology

Photo credit: Intrepid Flame

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59 Responses to “Hydrocodone detection times
Robert Foreman
5:08 am November 18th, 2012

I have a prescription for hydrocodone apap 5mg/500. I rarely take them and only if needed and try to not unless the pain is severe enough and I know I wont be driving, or working. I took one friday evening, one saturday and one saturday late night probably 11 pm. I had a 5 panel DOT test monday afternoon. The initial test done there showed nothing. A week later no call nothing. I was expecting a MRO to call the next day or day after for my prescription info. But nothing a week later. Since 5mg is low, and I rarely to hardly use it for pain management is this why it was low enough below levels to not be flagged or out of the system 24 hours to 32 hours later? A MRO would call in less then 48 hours correct?

12:22 pm November 19th, 2012

Hi Robert. Thanks for your question. Hydrocodone is typically NOT detected in a DOT 5 panel, but requires a special set of tests called an “Extended opioids” screen. You’re probably in the clear, but even if it shows up, simply present your prescription to the MRO and the test will come back to your employer as negative.

Fred Branson
6:09 am November 22nd, 2012

How long can my mom take one half of a M367 per day. She takes 1/2 every day which would be 5mg codeine and 162.5 tylenol per day. I was wondering about the accumulative effects of this small amount on her. She is 89 years old.

Joe
10:55 am January 11th, 2013

I took about 5 5-10mg vicodin or percocet over the course of 2 days, 15 days ago, I took a UA today and it came up positive for morphine, I think it is a 5 panel test. They are going to send it to the lab to confirm, but is it possible to stay in my system that long?
I also took quite a few different types of “Male Enhancement” pills 4 days ago, is it more likely that produced a false positive ? Would the false positive be duplicated in the lab test? Would the Vicodin from before show up in the lab test?

Buddy
9:58 am January 31st, 2013

My doctor prescribed 7.5 hydrocodone for my chronic back pain. I was given a random urine test at my last visit and my urine showed negatative for opioids, but I had been taking them regularly. He is sending the urine sample to the lab for analysis. Do you know any reason I would have a false negative?

11:14 am February 12th, 2013

Hello Buddy. Occasionally immunoassays for opioids can result in false negatives, but this is usually less than 1% of all cases.

You can ask for a combination of immunoassays which include a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for most accurate results.

Best of luck.

Julia
2:09 am February 28th, 2013

I took 240ml of tussionex over a 3-4 day period approximately a month ago and took a hair test today what are the chances it is enough to show up?

Jenn
3:40 pm April 16th, 2013

Yesterday around 8:30am I took a norco and I was notified that I have a urine test today for my new job! I have a prescription for this! I have not taken one since then will it show up on my drug test today?

Chris
1:50 pm May 3rd, 2013

I took a couple hydrocone pills and was given a urine drug screen about 35-40 minutes later. Test showed positive for opiates. The urine was sent to a lab for analysis. It has to be mailed. Will it be detected then. I do not normally take hydrocodone on a regular basis

Steve B
1:48 pm May 15th, 2013

My son was having back pain and I gave him 2 10/325 Hydrocodone, He has not taken any other medication and at the time I gave it to him I thought it was tylenol but now I realize it had an opiod in it. My question is will it be detectable by a hair folical test and if so how long would he have to wait before it is not detectable. these two pills are the only ones he has taken. He is going to take one (hair test) as a requirement for a job and i don’t want any one to think he has a problem because i made the mistake of giving it to him and he didn’t realize what it was. Please email me an answer. Thanks.

Marie
6:36 pm May 22nd, 2013

How long to you have to take hydrocone in order for it to show up on a urine and hair test? I took it for 2 days after a dentist appt. I never took it before.

Mario
4:02 pm May 30th, 2013

I took 2 5-325 tablets of hydrocodone/acetaminophen from a left over I had for pain at 1:30 AM and I had a surprise urine test at 12:30 (noon). If screened for abuse of hydrocodone will it show up as a positive?

10:09 am June 3rd, 2013

Hi Mario. Present your prescription (even if it’s a year old, or so) and you should be OK. Medical review officers know that addicts don’t keep the SAME prescription for years.

selina
8:06 pm June 12th, 2013

Hi, I took some hycodin couph syrup (hydrocodone) on Tuesday and I have to go for a drug test on monday morning. I am tested extensively for narcotics every monday. I was at a friends house cat sitting and needed couph syrup. I did not know it had narcotics in it. I have never heard of couph syrup with narcotics!!!! I probably had about 6 tablespoons in 2 days!!! Then she came home and told me there were narcotics in it!!! Good thing I told her I took some!!! Will this show up on monday morning? I am taking suboxone to stay off of drugs!!!!! So get tested every week!!!

Billie
2:16 pm July 9th, 2013

I have a script for hydro. I broke 3 ribs this month and knew it was no use to ask for anything else in this state even though broken ribs are the worst! So took more Hydro. I saved 2 to take before Dr does Urine test. How long before test should I take them?

Rebecca Sims
9:25 pm July 21st, 2013

I have been taking Lorotab 5mg for about 3 months (as prescribed by my doctor) for lower back pain and restless leg syndrome. I try not to take it in the daytime, but prefer to take it at night because thats when I have most of my leg and back pain. My doctor did a urine drug screen on me a few weeks ago. Last week I got a certified letter from her saying that the urine drug test showed no trace of hydrocodone and she (my doctor) is suspicious of misuse and diversion. I am totally intimidated as I am not guilty of this accusation. I have searched for answers and found in this Blog that tonic water with quinine could cause this test to be unreliable and I drink it every night for cramps in my legs. I called my doctors office and told her nurse what I had read in my computer and asked for a second opinion and for asked for my doctor to call me and give me another test when I leave off the quinine water. She will not return my calls and I need a doctor because I am 81 years old and am diabetic. Can you advise me as to what I can do because she has given me 30 days to get another doctor. Will another doctor see me?

9:15 am July 25th, 2013

Hello Rebecca. Yes. You should be able to see another family doctor and seek help. Each individual doctor reserves the right to make judgment calls on possible drug abuse cases. So, ask around your circle of family and friends for a reference.

steve
3:32 pm July 25th, 2013

I took 5 norcos yesterday and have a drug test tomorrow. I am 160 pounds. What are my chances of failing

steve
3:34 pm July 25th, 2013

By the way it is a 5 panel urine screen.

JohnDoe
1:42 pm September 24th, 2013

With a cwe of 15, 10-325 norco, (dosage over 2 days )show up on a homekit drug test? The previous label on the cup showed 3 panels with coc, meth, and thc….would 133hours clean leave ANY trace or indication of usage?

Mc
4:17 am September 25th, 2013

How long would it really take until its not detected in my urine I’m was taking 10 mg hydrocodone for 3 weeks now 6 a day I’m 5’6″ 200 lbs thanx

dmx
11:33 pm November 4th, 2013

How long will a half of a 7.5 hydrocodone be detectable in my urine for lab test

Eric
9:07 am November 20th, 2013

Ive been on narco gen for hydrocodon for pain mag for five years 3 10mg pills a day. My job has closed and moved over sea so I’ve been looking for new jobs once they see that I’m on the meds it’s always the same reply sorry all has been filled one guy told me off the record get the meds out of my system just till I get hired so I guess what I’m asking is will the meds stay in my system longer were I’ve been taking them this long and how long it will show up on a temp sevices

Lee
9:46 pm December 25th, 2013

I took 2 5/500 norcos on tues. I have a saliva drug test on thurs. Will they b outta my system?

marcella
11:16 am January 9th, 2014

Does sniffing Hydrocodone dangerouss and what healtth problems may this cause? Also, can doctors deect this type of use?

John
12:05 am January 14th, 2014

I took 15 mg of hydrocodone and had a urine test 8 days later . What’s the verdict?

Erica
6:45 am January 17th, 2014

I took two 10mg norco on a friday, one 10mg norco on the next thursday, now have a urine drug test next tuesday. What r the chances of a positive result, if not a chronic user?

Carl
6:23 am January 22nd, 2014

I have a prescription for Norco 10/325. I ran out of my pills and I still had severe neck pain. I acquired some Generic Norco M367 pills from a friend. Will the two forms show up different on a urine test? I am going back to my job and I don’t want to give a bad UA. I have the opportunity to be honest with my employer and let them know my situation. I don’t abuse meds but the pain was unbearable and my insurance was canceled when I left. I had to find something that would help me. This will be a pre-employment drug test and I don’t want to screw it up. So again my question is will Norco and the generic Norco show up different on a ua?

amy
1:43 am February 1st, 2014

I took 3 5mg hydrocodoneS a friend gave me for my back pain I rarely take any thing for pain but I took it at 2:00 in the afternoon and had a drug test at 7:00 pm the same day I need to know if they will show on my test I have a fast metabolism so could some one please let me know I don’t know much about pain medication thank you

julie
5:49 am March 5th, 2014

I took one 10 mg of norco today. Tomorrow I have a pre employment drug screen. Will it show in my drug test?

sabadoe
12:22 am May 1st, 2014

after taking two to three 5/325mg hydrocodones a day for approximately 4 to 5 days would it possible for me to be clean for my first outpatient appointment in around 48 hours?

Justin
3:25 am May 4th, 2014

I hav Ben taking 10/325norco for about 18months prescribed for back and knee pain I take about 5-6pills a day how long will it take to clear my system to pass a urine test?

Chris
2:23 am May 29th, 2014

Hi! I do not take hydrocodone or any other prescription medication. However, I have been taking a urine drug test once a week for months now. Just last week they decided to tell me a test came back dirty for hydrocodone and hydromorphone…and I know it isn’t possible. What would make it come back that way? I do take OTC sleep aids and allergy pills. I have informed them of everything I take and have never hid anything from them. Please help me in understanding this. Thank you!

Christie Lane
5:10 pm June 11th, 2014

I am a case manager in the dependency system. Two children were sheltered from their parents due to substance misuse. The mother has a prescription for Hydrocodone 10mg. We require her to complete random UAs. She is testing positive with levels of 1152 units, 1134 units, over 3000 units, and 474 units. Can you tell me if this is normal given her prescription?

5:38 am June 13th, 2014

Hi Christie. Thanks for your question. You may need to consult with a toxicologist or a Medical Review Officer in a drug testing lab. This is a very technical question that will require an expert opinion. Best to you!

Kate McGee
9:42 pm June 14th, 2014

I was prescribed Norco 10/325 on Weds, June 11, 2014 for a broken radius. I will be drug tested on either Tues or Weds the following week. If I stop taking them today, Saturday, will I pass the drug screen? Even with a prescription the company I work for has a zero tolerance for narcotic pain relievers. I work as a counselor for an alcohol and substance abuse center. The pain was too immense to not take the meds. But I can stop today as it has eased tremendously. I can’t afford not to pass that drug screen. Any advice?

kimberly
1:41 am July 10th, 2014

Hello, I have taken 10 hydrocodones in two day period-Saturday and Sunday. I have a urine drug test in 9 days from the time of consumption. Will it be gone from my urine in 9 days? It’s hydrocodone 5 375 milligrams.

no name
12:49 pm July 12th, 2014

I took six 7.5 hydros on the 12th and have a urine test that is sent to lab on 17th for pain management. Only methadone is supposed to be in my system. Will I pass?

Kin
6:47 am July 17th, 2014

Took four hours before urine test an the guy said I passed that I wasn’t taking enough for it to show up I have a script I just thought it was crazy it didn’t show up on the test

MattyB
3:03 am July 22nd, 2014

Hi, So I dont usually ever abuse anything and I am currently on a strict diet. I was tempted by the devil and broke into the Peanut Butter jar around midnight on Tuesday. Im supposed to take a UA on Thursday and my question is how ling will the Peanut Butter stay in my system and will they be able to tell that I scooped it out with my fingers instead of a spoon? I also chased it with some breast milk… any info from psychic doctors that can tell me if ill be ok?

Pedro
2:13 am August 2nd, 2014

I took 1 & 1/2 norcos once day for the past 3 days., i stopped 6:30 Friday morning. I have a urine test on monday morning at 8am. I’m active and I metabolism quickly. Will i pass?

Kevin
9:02 am August 3rd, 2014

Anyone who believes hydro is not detected in urine test less than 72 hours is deluded or was given a false test to scare a person because with technology of 2014 & nanogram testing you take it 7pm Friday night just 5mg and it is going to show at 6pm MONDAY night too. No way around it at all no matter your body type or what you do other than make your urine test positive with very clear so they know you tried to flush it out which is impossible now. As a scientists I know these facts & as a person tired of drug addicts making it hard for those in real pain from diseases from MS to Cancer, move to Portugal! You will be busted up to 7 days later but certainly 3 to 4 days not an hour less than 72 hours. That is reality. It’s BS out of system in 6-30 hours. Not sure what idiot came up with that one.

lindsey
11:05 pm August 4th, 2014

I took 2 10/350′s of hydrocodone for my carpal tunnel, i am prescribed the med but took 2 at once instead of 1. I am staying very hydrated, weigh approx 140 lbs. I have a urine analysis in approx 48 hours. It is the test cup with the 7 drug test strips right on the cup. Will I test positive in that 48 hours?

Wondering
4:38 pm August 6th, 2014

If a person only takes 1/2 of a 10mg daily for the past 6months absolutely no more than that and has not had any for the past 2 weeks what will show on a hair follicle drug test if they take one now

lisa
8:36 pm August 6th, 2014

I had to take a urine test to check if I was taken my meds, well I have not been taking my norcos so I hurried up and took one and twenty min later I peed for them do u think it will show up

jody
9:57 pm August 8th, 2014

Will lortab show up in urine after 8 hours

Leigh
10:29 pm August 19th, 2014

I have a suboxone appt. @ 9am in the morning.. I took some loritabs today will I be able to pass the urine test they are going to give me at my appt. in the morning??

debbie
11:30 pm August 20th, 2014

I have been going to a pain clinic for a year. Unfortunately, last month when I was randomly screened (urine) the test came back negative for hydrocodone. I was given a half rose of what I previously had been given with instructions to return in two weeks for a repeat screen. Since I was given half the number of pills I was trying toake them last. I took one 20mg around midnight and a second one at about 3:30 am. My appointment was at 1:30. I was told its still negative. But they will send specimen yo an independent lab.

I don’t understand why it didn’t show up? Also this independent lab has the capability of testing half life. Shouldn’t they be able to detect the med?

Thank you

brooke
3:58 pm August 29th, 2014

I took 1 hydrocodone pill 8 days before a hair 5 panel drug test. I am not a frequent user. Will it show up on the panel?

Twinkielover
6:28 am September 8th, 2014

I have a question. Here’s some background on my situation. On Wednesday at 3 pm I took half of a 10 mg hydrocodone Tylenol mix. At 5, I took the other half. I have never taken this before this instance. I went for a laboratory (routine) drug test for pre employment Friday at 11 am of that same week. About 41 hours after taking it. I drank extra water and some Gatorade to help speed up the process. I weigh 140 lbs. my question is, what are the chances of me failing this drug test? Again, first time taking it. 41 hours later. Drank Gatorade and water to help. Please let me know I really need this job!!! Thanks!

Paige
6:33 am September 8th, 2014

I took half a 10 mg hydro condone Tylenol mix at 3 pm Wednesday. The other half at 5 pm. Never taken it before. Drank lots of Gatorade and water to speed up the process. I took a pre employment drug test at 11 am Friday. I weigh 140 lbs. what are the chances that I failed?

debbie
10:34 pm September 10th, 2014

Paige. You should be fine. Hydrocodone is out of your system in 3 days. Since you only took the two small doses probably even less than that. Like 25 hours based on its half-life

todd
11:59 pm September 10th, 2014

Hi I have taken two 7.5mg percacets for a week straight with last one I took was 4 days ago. Will I pass a urine screen tomorrow with it being my fifth day clean??? Kind of worried about a job I need to get and the interview is tomorrow. Thanks.

debbie
12:54 pm September 11th, 2014

Todd. I think you will be OK. Like I said half life has it out of your system in 5 days. That’s kinda cutting it close but all the literature says 3-5 days. Hydrocodone really doesn’t stay in your system for long. If you are really worried tell them you have taken cough medicine with dextramathoraphan in it (like Vicks 44). That ingredient is know to cause false positives

Kimberly
10:44 pm September 16th, 2014

I tested positive for excessive amounts of hydrocodiene. I am allergic to it. I did take it several months ago, why would it show up as massive amounts now? I haven’t taken it since February.

debbie
12:33 pm September 17th, 2014

Kimberly,
Have you eaten poppy seeds, taking any cough medicine with dextromathoraphan, or been on antibiotics such as cipro or levaquin? All of those things can make you test positive

andrew
8:36 pm September 17th, 2014

My question is I had 2 leftover hydrocodone 7.5/200 I was perscribed in February of this year I took both of them this morning (wednessday) around 11:00 am and now I have found out I have a pre employment ua I have to take at 9:30 am Friday morning I still have the prescription bottle but I have no medication left. If I fail the drug test would my empty prescription bottle still count?

Al
6:14 am September 25th, 2014

I took a half a roxy 30 and had a random ua 4 hours later but was clean before that … What will the results likely going to be?

rico
8:36 am September 25th, 2014

i pee about 10 to 15 times aday blood presure med took half a 10 hydro how long will it take to get out my system.

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