Tuesday June 27th 2017

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What is hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is a a semi-synthetic opioid derived from codeine. Hydrocodone is in a group of drugs called narcotic pain relievers. It is a Schedule II or Schedule III drug (this varies as a result of different formulations) available only in combination with other ingredients, specifically intended for oral use. In fact, hydrocodone is contained in hundreds of prescription medications as an active ingredient.

Hydrocodone comes as a tablet, a capsule, syrup, a solution, an extended-release (long-acting) capsule, and an extended-release (long-acting) suspension (liquid) to take by mouth.

Why do people use hydrocodone?

Doctors prescribe hydrocodone as a narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) and a cough medicine, usually combined with paracetamol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen.  Basically, hydrocodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain and as a medicine to treat cold and cough.

However, many hydrocodone users take higher doses to achieve a sense of extreme well-being and euphoria. But taking hydrocodone OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED is considered drug abuse and is illegal.

Hydrocodone effects

When used as prescribed and with caution, hydrocodone relieves pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It also relieves cough by decreasing activity in the part of the brain that causes coughing.

In higher doses, one of the most common effects of this narcotic is a warm and pleasant numbing sensation that stretches throughout the body. At the same time, many report a warming of the abdominal area, and sometimes a pleasant cooling in the lungs.

Hydrocodone may also cause side effects, upon which a patient should consult with a doctor and probably stop using the medication. Some possible negative side effects of hydrocodone include:

  • anxiety
  • constipation
  • impaired brain activity
  • impaired lung function
  • nausea
  • rashes
  • vomiting

There is also a deadly side to hydrocodone abuse. If users take too many pills or if they mix hydrocodone with other drugs or alcohol (especially central nervous system depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines), the outcome can be fatal. Also, in long-term users, the body builds up tolerance to the prescription medication. Increased tolerance to hydrocodone after daily dosing for a period of a few weeks or more can increase risk of overdose. When abused for a longer period, hydrocodone causes liver damage and liver failure, which can also lead to death.

Is hydrocodone addictive?

Yes, hydrocodone is addictive. Because of the euphoric effects it causes, people may develop patterns of abuse which lead to addiction. Even after only several weeks of use, people can develop physical and psychological dependence to hydrocodone. Symptoms common among hydrocodone addicts include:

  • compulsive use of hydrocodone
  • continued hydrocodone use despite the awareness of negative consequences to health, home, work or social life
  • craving hydrocodone
  • loss of control over dosing amounts and frequency
  • taking hydrocodone to cope with psycho-emotional issues

After your body and brain have become accustomed to the presence of the medication, you can experience hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit suddenly and abruptly. Consult your doctor before lowering doses or stopping altogether. Stopping hydrocodone is much safer when you taper doses down gradually and slowly, and treat symptoms as they occur. Your doctor can help you create a tapering schedule fit to your needs, or refer you to a hydrocodone detox center if you require extra medical help during this period.


14 Signs and symptoms of hydrocodone addiction

Signs and symptoms of hydrocodone addiction

February 14th, 2014

Hydrocodone addiction can occur in anyone using prescription medications that contain hydrocodone. Here, we explore the main signs and symptoms of hydrocodone addiction and what you can do to identify and address hydrocodone addiction.

162 How to withdraw from hydrocodone

How to withdraw from hydrocodone

November 1st, 2013

Practical suggestions for how to withdraw from hydrocodone safely. Plus. a section on How to ease withdrawal symptoms from hydrocodone. More here.

9 How is hydrocodone abused?

How is hydrocodone abused?

August 27th, 2013

You abuse hydrocodone anytime you take hydrocodone other than prescribed, or use hydrocodone for euphoric effect. More on the definition of hydrocodone abuse here.

24 Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment: How to treat hydrocodone withdrawal

Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment: How to treat hydrocodone withdrawal

June 12th, 2013

What’s the best way to withdraw from hydrocodone? Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment should ideally be individualized by case. But you can treat flu-like symptoms that occur during hydrocodone withdrawal using over-the-counter and prescription medications. More on how to treat hydrocodone withdrawal here.

55 When does hydrocodone kick in?

When does hydrocodone kick in?

April 8th, 2013

Hydrocodone takes about 30 minutes after oral ingestion to kick in. More on how modes of administration affect hydrocodone onset here.

30 What happens when you snort hydrocodone?

What happens when you snort hydrocodone?

April 4th, 2013

When you snort hydrocodone, you deliver a concentrated dose of the opioid almost immediately to the brain. You can get high and you risk developing hydrocodone dependence, experiencing overdose, and adverse side effects. More on snorting hydrocodone here.

31 Cold turkey hydrocodone

Cold turkey hydrocodone

February 25th, 2013

Going cold turkey off hydrocodone can be severe and is unnecessary. Learn more about cold turkey hydrcodone risks and benefits of tapering your doses first.

6 What is hydrocodone withdrawal?

What is hydrocodone withdrawal?

February 9th, 2013

Once you stop taking hydrocodone after regular use, a period of withdrawal will occur. Why? Because the brain compensates for opiate effects and suddenly speeds up when hydrocodone is no longer present. More on how hydrocodone affects on the central nervous system and body here.

2 Help for hydrocodone addiction

Help for hydrocodone addiction

December 10th, 2012

Here, we outline how to find and get help for hydrocodone addiction (starting with your family doctor). National hotline numbers and more ways to find help for hydrocodone addiction here.

2 How to treat hydrocodone addiction

How to treat hydrocodone addiction

November 7th, 2012

If you or a loved one is addicted to hydrocodone, how do you treat hydrocodone addiction? Here, we explore possible treatmentsfor hydrocodone addiction and what to expect from treatment. Your questions about addiction treatment are welcomed at the end.

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15 Responses to “Hydrocodone
6:37 pm February 26th, 2016

If hydrocordone is snorted, will it still appear in a urine test in 3 to 5 days?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:40 pm March 3rd, 2016

Hi, Jag. Regardless of mode of administration, hydrocodone stays in the system and may be detected on a urine test up to 2-5 days.

6:56 pm March 26th, 2016

Will prescription use of hydrocodone test positive for codeine?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:08 pm April 7th, 2016

Hi Lane. Codeine will show up as an opiate.

4:13 am April 24th, 2016

When I was in my mid-40s and partying (once or twice a week) I would drink beer (up to perhaps eight or 10) and take vicodin (maybe four or five over a six-hour period) and on the same take day I would take perhaps 10 altogether over 24 hpurs. I could drink much more without feeling or acting drunk, however I must have been. Also, any hangovers were minimized with a vicodin in the a.m. The other days (five or six days a week) I didn’t drink alcohol at all but I still took vicodin (six or eight a day). Why did I never have those reactions or responses that were typical. I have never read of anyone with my reactions. Its been 20 years now and have never had an answer to this question. I’d love to know.

2:23 am June 15th, 2016

Hi everyone, I’ve recently quit taking vicodin.. I’ve been abusing vicodin for close to 13 years. I’d been in the same situation about 20 years ago (hard to believe) and only started again the night my Dad died. Thank goodness I was vicodin free the three years he was sick (cancer) and I was able to help my Mom care for him. We had a vicodin rx for him but I was never once tempted until he lay dying. I’m a Daddy’s girl and I just decided I needed to be fortified that night. But that started the addiction again. Not that vicodin ever really made anything better. Seriously, I never felt great when I was taking it, it just felt like kind of a shield. For family gatherings, or social occasions I felt like I would enjoy it only if I had vicodin. My rx was for 5/325. I never took more than one at a time but I’ve taken up to 10 in a day. Over the last few months, my doctor has reduced the number of refills. . I guess I’ve been pondering the problem for a few months and when my supply was running low this past two weeks and I had another 2 weeks before I could expect a refill I just started dosing down. I was just sick of it but of course terrified of withdrawals. When I quit 20 years ago it was cold turkey and I was just freaked out. This time I took 1/2 a pill twice a day and than once a day and then my last 1/2 pill was sunday. I’ve been taking effexor and wellbutrin for a few years and also some xanax and ambient and I’ve been taking some of the supplements recommended in the Thomas recipe too. I’m not feeling too bad

3:56 am September 5th, 2016

I go to a pain clinic and they drug test every month for 3 or 4 months my drug test come back negative for hydrocodone but I take them daily as prescribed. It was recently brought to my attention that water pills can cause a false drug screen Is that true?

1:05 pm September 7th, 2016

Hi Karen. Water pills may be the cause for a false drug screen because they help your body get rid of the unneeded water. Did you tell the toxicologist that you use water pills? Every time before taking drug test, tell the professionals which medications you use because they may affect the test results.

10:03 pm October 17th, 2016

i had to take a test regarding hydrocodone yet that did not show up on my test morphine did is there a reason for that I need to know now my doctor basically thinks otherwise of me

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:26 pm October 21st, 2016

Hi Julie. Hydrocodone is a semisynthetic opioid in combination with acetaminophen. Also, morphine is an opioid, so maybe there’s connection. I suggest that you speak with a toxicologist for better understanding. Also, you may find useful information regarding drug testing in our free e-book.
Download it here: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/the-definitive-guide-to-drug-testing/

Dennis C
6:04 am November 16th, 2016

I have been taking Norco for awhile. My previous doctor prescribed it for pain on my right side that includes my neck, arm, back and hip. When it is really bad it also feels like I have a really bad ear ache. I have had everything from x rays to MRIs and everything in between. We have also tried every kind of pain reliever from Motrin to Gabapentin and a bunch of non narcotic and narcotic pain relievers. Most of them either didn’t work as well as the Norco or gave me intense upset stomach problems. I have tried acupuncture and massage which didn’t work well at all. After all the tests and trials my doctor diagnosed nerve damage along with other problems. My doctor retired leaving me in the lurch and another doctor is working out of his office until January. She sent me for more x rays and more MRIs and tests and agreed with his diagnosis and kept prescribing the Norco 10/325 which I take 6 times a day along with over the counter Aleve which does not upset my stomach like the prescription Tramadol. I also am a type 2 diabetic and so I have an appointment every 3 months. At my last appointment she told me that she was just on contract with this medical group and would be leaving the practice and retiring this January. She also told me that the doctor that was taking over the practice would not be very likely to continue prescribing the Norco for me even after all the tests I have been though and all of the diagnosis. All I know is that I don’t abuse the drug and the combination of Norco and Aleve works for me better than anything we have tried in the past. I just can’t understand why doctors would end pain management that works for me with no ill effects. Is it because it is so abused and vilified that the doctor would rather see me suffer with the pain and the side effects of other treatments and just not bother with me? I don’t know what I’m going to do after January. I know that my medical insurance won’t pay for more of the exact same tests all over again if this new doctor wants them and some of them like MRIs are really expensive. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

1:26 am February 23rd, 2017

I took 11 hydrocodene 10mg orally, how long before it is out of my system as I have to take a urine drug test soon?

5:52 pm February 24th, 2017

Hello Pete. Hydrocodone can usually be detected in urine for 2-4 days after you stop use. However, this depends on how much you used, how often, how high was the dosage, your metabolism, etc. The time period for detection can be shortened or prolonged based on these factors.

8:03 pm March 12th, 2017

I am on norco 10/325 3 times a day for years in pain management and last test i was lower dosed but never went 24hrs without last 3 days before test was tues 5 and half , last one late and wed 1 and half and thursday before 8am test the next day went like this 5am half 1pm and midnight half and didnt pee until 8 am test so i was in 8-24 detection period with 10mg total but split up til test will it test positive without saying low because i have tested with high levels and low and they never said nothing and they use the opiod twat that tells exactly which pain pill is in urine and i read hydrocodone levels cant show in urine but saw u say it can so will my test show positive if i took pills that way and they also do not check for marijuana so im not sure if they only check every opiod pill specifically

5:34 am April 4th, 2017

My Doctor prescribes me 150 Norco per month for pain. I’m in need of two knee replacements and have severe arthritis in both knees. I’m fearful that with all the drama involved with Doctor’s prescribing opiates that my Doctor will cut me off. I’ve tried other pain relievers and find that Norco works the best for me. I do not take more than I’m prescribed and mostly do not take more than two to four tablets daily. Any commetns?

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