How long does hydrocodone last?

Hydrocodone lasts about 4-6 hours. Learn more about hydrocodone dosing, dangers, and more here.

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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
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Im on hydrcodone/acetaminophen fo a foot surgery, 325mg
    My six hours was up at 11am. I would like to have a Mikes hard lemonade, how soon is it safe and im doing fine so i wont be taking anymore of this med.
    Thank you jane

  2. How long does it take Hydrocodone 10 325 mg to get into your system taking it once a day to appear in a urine drug test?

  3. I have several conditions that I have been prescribed pain meds for. I have 3 herniated disk in my low back for a work injury that happened in 2008. I have radiculopaty in my ledt leg from nerves compression from the herniated disk. Rotator cuff tear in each of my shoulders
    . i am in constant pain and without pain meds I would not be able to move or lift my arms. I have upcoming surgeries for my back and both shoulders. Coordinating with surgeons and getting work compensation insurance company to authorize this is time consuming and overwhelming. I will be on pain meds for longer period than I would like to be. I have tried acupuncture, chiropractic care, lumbar steriod injections series and recently corticosteroid injection in each shoulder. I am 54yrs old. My question is what options do i have to manage my pain before and after my surgeries. Please advise. Thank you.

  4. I take Norco 2x daily for back nerve pain and Naxproxen 2x daily for inflammation..and Baclofen at night for spasms…how long should i wait to take the Baclofen after the Norco…4hrs..6 hrs..8hrs?

  5. So frustrated! Having severe pain in right buttocks that extends partway down the back of my leg along with numbness & tingling on the bottom of foot extending to calf. Not getting any relief from hydrocodone.

  6. I struggled with a headache/migraine most of the day. I couldnt find my Imitrex (i only get these headaches 4-6 times a year) but i had a hydrocodone (M357) so I took it 3 hours ago. It did not help, I fell asleep for 30 minutes and woke up with the headache still and can’t get back to sleep. I am miserable with the pain. Now I found the Imitrex. Can I take one? It has been 3 hours since I took the hydrocodone. I have not had any other medications today. Thank you.

  7. If someone OD on hydrocodine seven days prior to being put to sleep for surgery is it possible that hydrocodine is still in the body and being put to sleep can cause blood pressure, heart rate and respirations to slow or stop when given within seven days of one another?

  8. Can a drug test determine the level of hydrocodone in my system, or only that I have it in my system?. I wonder if taking one at 5am before work at 8am, would show no difference in the test then as if me taking it at 10-11pm the previous evening before bed time?

  9. I’ve taken small dosages day but increased my dosageto about 3 pills at I believe 10/320 and this pat Wednesday after dinner vomited and that stopped but the dihirrea continued I’ve now stopped and won’t be taking it any longer. Will the side effects disparate and I’ll start feeling myself again ?? Thanks for your help !!

  10. Hello, I took 1 hydrocodone pill this past Friday for back pain. Beginning Saturday I have been extremely drowsy, bouts of chills then sweats, and now headaches and some shallow breathing. I have had some issues on Percocet in the past where I would get dizzy and my head felt clogged for days. I do not regularly take any painkillers. Can this be an after effect of this medicine? Is this a reason for concern? I’m 53 and I’m good health as I exercise regularly. Is there anything I should do at this point or wait it out.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Scott. It seem to me that you’ve experienced some side effects from the medication. Consult with your doctor about this.

    1. Hi Charles. Usally, hair tests requires a hair sample of 1.5 inches in length. Each 0.5 inch represents 30 days. The hair sample must be cut as close to the scalp as possible and only the most recent 1.5 inches are tested.

  11. Accidentally took two10/325 hydrocodone at 3:00 am. I am also on amytriptaline which I took 50 mg at midnight. Am very concerned

    1. Hi Marlene. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for an assessment of overdose risk.

  12. I take Norco 10/325 in the evenings for chronic back/neck/arm nerve pain. The drug itself gives me energy. Because I work full time obviously can’t take at work. I take between 3-6 of them (I know it is too much) and am usually in bed by 10pm, get up at 6am. When I do this regularly the pain stays subsided enough through the day to function…EXCEPT about 2pm I get extremely sleepy, falling asleep at my desk, even worse while driving. Is there an explanation for this? I feel well rested until the afternoons.

  13. I have a drug test on Saturday morning at 10am if I take a half of 10-325 norco will it be in my urine on sat it is now Thursday at 1:16 pm I do want it in my test , what’s a good time to take it

  14. I am on Hydro. 325. Taking one per day. for nagging back and knee pain. Feel great for about six hr. I attribute the good feeling to my loss of pain. What are the withdraw symptoms ?

  15. My doctor prescribed Hydro 10/325 for pain related to a herniated disc. It seems to work pretty well. One tablet will alleviate moderate pain for 6 to 8 hours. Really bad, shooting/electric nerve pain takes two, sometimes.

    Basically, it takes sharp pain and turns it into heat or warmth around the affected area. It is not at all mind altering, or hallucinogenic. The main effect, for me, is nausea. And I avoid taking them if I can just bear the pain because the nausea is about as bad as the pain, sometimes. Over the counter motion sickness pills seem to help with that, though.

    One thing that I do not understand is how people can abuse this drug. If you take one of the tablets when you have no pain, they do absolutely nothing. Literally, nothing. Except the nausea.

    My question is, if I am taking only one tablet a day, possibly two in a day, (morning and evening), about three or four days per week (I skip days when I don’t need it or can just tolerate the pain), how long can I expect that to be enough to provide pain relief before I start to develop a tolerance for it, and it no longer works, or needs increased dose?

  16. For the past two years I have been taking Norco “Recreationally” I.e. Once a week, on a Friday or Saturday night I would take two or three pills and mellow out. I thought there was no harm but lately have noticed mood changes (depression) and have decided to stop this practise. I have the will power to do it and have thrown away my “stash” of pills. I as wonering, since I did not take the pills every day, how long it would take my brain chemistry to rid itself of the drug(?). I want to become completely clean, get back to “normal.”

  17. I took a half of a 10mg hydroconone pill around 2:30pm…I have a urine test tomorrow morning around 11. Will it show in my system? I’m about 5’2 and 150pounds. I’ve took 3 water pills and have been peeing like crazy.

  18. my husband has spinal stenosis which is getting more painful, he was put on tramadol and Tylenol – did not help. now put on Norco 5/325 and after 5 pills over the last day and a half sees no change – his pain level is about a 9 or 10 – if this Norco (which I believe is a generic vicodin) is not giving any relief then what do you think will be the next step. I have been in touch with the pain management practice but they are slow in responding so I was hoping to get your opinion, he can hardly navigate even with a walker- we are house bound. Has he taken enough pills over the last day and half for the medicine to work. I thought he would feel an effect very early. TRYING TO HELP MY HUSBAND.


  20. 1) If I break my pills into halves (Norco), does it make it to where it doesn’t last that long?
    2) Is two and a half Norco (10mg tabs) and Effexor XR OK to combine?
    3) When experiencing shallow breathing, when is it obvious you should seek medical attention?

  21. Hi, my question is why would hydrocone still be in my hair folicule if it has been the 90 days since my last time taking a pill .
    Is it normal for it to still be present even after the 90 days ?

    I took one pill for pain back in august 4th 2016 & yet when i got tested now Jan 8th 2017 it is still present. Why?

  22. My husband took a hydrocod/acetaminophen 5-325 tab at 4:00 pm yesterday. He still seems disoriented and goofy at 7:30 this morning. He also takes insulin, pravastatin, losartin, metaprolol, etc. He is 74 years old. How long will it take for the effects of this pill to go away?

    1. Hi Pam. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for an assessment of overdose risk or with help on what to do next.

    1. Hi Tom. It seem to me that tablets may be broken. However, before crushing the tablets, I suggest that you talk with your doctor first.

  23. My doctor took me off Norco 10/325 two times a day for negative drug test I had been taking them regularly until I ran out 3days before my appointment she said I had not been taking them isn’t there other ways of testing other then urian teat

    1. Hi Amanda. You can ask for a hair drug tests to be done (usually you have to cover the costs). But traces of drugs stay in your hair follicles for up to 90 days.

  24. I’ve been taking Hydrocodone 10 milligram 4 times a day how hard is that all mine liver lungs and kidneys? I’ve been taking them for several years

  25. my wife is taking hydro/apap 7.5-325mg for shingles pain.the pain relief is only lasting two hours instead of six hours.will a stronger strength of hydrocone give longer lasting relief or should her doctor prescribe a different pain reliver for longer lasting relief?

  26. My 26 yr old daughter died two months ago. The coroner report just came in saying 10 times the legal amount was found in her system. She had been seeing a pain management doctor for 4 yrs. She had been on that drug for 4 years. I’m struggling to understand the drug and it’s effects.
    I know she took more than she prescribed at a time. She told me she had grown a tolerance to the medication.
    We would disagree a lot and she would get very defensive.
    I feel like I should have done more to help her or to stop it.

  27. I was wondering I take norco tablets 10/325mg. My dosages changed alot with only a few months of using. I’m a 5’3 27 year old male but started taking opiates recreational purposes at 18. I noticed the addictive behaviors but didn’t want to stop. Before I did stop I got up to taking 10-12 10/325mg tablets. You can imagine right? That dose could put andre the giant in a grave. But I needed that much. Well I stopped the w/d were not fun at all to say the least. That’s was at 24. Here I am 27 started the same tabs again a few months back. I still had a pretty high tolerance at needing at least 21/2 tabs at a time. So I’m wondering is there anything I can be doing to lower that tolerance. I also only take it for a few days before stopping anywhere between a week- 2 weeks. Another unbelievable claim right? But seriously the R.L.S and lethargy, irritable mood swings and insomniac w/d symptoms were the worst I’ve even experienced. With physical sym. Lasting 3-4 days and psychological symptom almost a year even more, I don’t want to be there again. Also if I have a medication to treat adhd will this decrease the effects of my opiate medication?

    By the way, Please do not think that you can become so addicted or build such a tolerance that you will be able to take 40-50 10/325mg tabs. At once or even in two sittings. I’m positive this will not cause liver damage, this will cause liver failure, respiratory failure and you would almost certainly die before you pass out or stop breathing all together in the night. This is the not effing around drug people not eating too much candy. If you can take 50 tabs more then one time then God only made you with 3-4 livers and kidneys. Seriously kids the u.s nations exagration is not a competition because somewhere some your teen read that and thought well if he can take 50 I can take 5-10 and that easily done. If your addicted you need to stop. One of the earlier posters was right you have control most of all. The mind tells you you need it and then you tell the mind I won’t take it instead of I cant. Telling yourself you can’t do it is defeat. Telling yourself you won’t do it is different in a way saying you choose not to. Trust me I stopped tolerance went down alot. I did start again but keep in mind you are a junkie he there physically or psychological a junkie needs it he believes. But you control the outcome. I don’t withdraw anymore take a week stop a week take every other day never increase dosage, and stop taking for euphoria. I’m still strong with my plan and will never go back. I feel horrible for the 50 pill a day guy. If he’s still with us.

  28. I was charged after 13 months from oxycodone to oxycotten for 2 months. When I informed the doctor that I was sleeping more and to tired to work she snickered and said it could not be affecting me like that. She also was straight forward in letting me know she want changing me back.. I could schedule the oxycodone around my work hours and still care for my disabled daughter. I have been tired and suffered from lack of energy for 21 years that is diagnosed and medicine prescribed for depression. Next I suffer from obesity that also affects my energy level. Then there a diagnoses of sever sleep apnea and COPD. The time release does seem to put me over the edge 24 hours a day. I haven’t been able to work but a couple of hours a day. She. Repeated back to me ” so your saying this medication put you over the edge.” With the tone of voice as if to make me out to be lying. She Is New At THIS Pain Management center. I ask if she had reviewed my record and she said she had and that was pretty much all I was allowed to say. I broke down in tears as I was so angry. I tried to tell her about my job I have worked 19 years but she handed me my prescription. I then was going to tell her that the baclofen was not helping I would not need a prescription. She cut me off no sooner than I got the name of the med out and stated yes it’s for sleep
    LOL REALLY. After I had told her all I could do is sleep. As any other people done better on immediate than with time release. Wish I Didn’t HAVE To Take Anything But My Pain Level Is A Seven Even With oxycodon. I will be the first to say my level of pain decreased on oxycotten but all I did was lay around. I have less pain anyway if I don’t get out of bed.

    On the verge of Loosing my job and my son is staying here with me in the evenings cooking, cleaning and taking care of his 33 year old sister who has Down syndrome. Please can you tell me what I need to do to get my medication changed back so I can have a better quality of life and still be a productive citizen. Feel I am to young to give up at age 53 and go on disabilty.

  29. they dont look for norco in any kind of drug screening theyre only conserned with opium and heroin in other words opiates not opiods…and no its a different chemistry opiod atagonists and opiates are completly different THEY ARE NOT THE SAME i hate when people call norco or percocet an opiate because it is not

    1. Hi Floyd. Hydrocodone can be present in the saliva 12 – 36 hours after last dose, or 2 – 4 days in the urine. It is also present in the hair for up to 90 days after last dose. The urine detection time period does depend on other factors such as your body weight, level of hydration, health state, metabolism, etc.

  30. I have a punched nerve and have been prescribed hydrocodone with acetaminophen- The pain is terrible and my arm Swells and laying down makes it worse.
    Should I ask for another keel. I am not on any pain med at the pressent-

  31. After stopping taking hydrocodone, I feel miserable. A sense of terrible unwellness, runny nose, just feeling totally sick. Why is that?

  32. I have been prescribed different opiates for the last ten years. Recently I failed a urinalysis for marihuana and lost my medicine. I Was thrown into violent withdrawal. Since then I have been buying OxyContin and hydrocodone off the streets. I have gotten myself down to 2-3 hydrocodone 10-325. I was taking 240 mg of oxy. So now I’m at 20-30 mg a day. I can’t afford to be sick like that again. Today I was given an 8 mg suboxone. I was told to take a quarter then cut it into little pieces taking only what I had to have. I Was told this would help to get through the withdrawal. Thanks

  33. If I go to pain mgnt. And prescribed 40 mg a day, can a urine test detect if I have been taking it everyday, can they test the level to see how much is in your system ?

    1. Hi Kate. Yes, they do test for metabolite levels and for quantity of the medication found in your system.

  34. I only took one (1) hydrocodone/ibuprof 7.5-200 tb and I’m very sick nauseous dizzy feel like throwing up… i took the pill at 9:30a this morning how long will the effect take place i want this out my body asap and can i do anything to get this out my system??

    1. Hi Kim. Hydrocodone’s effects usually last for about 4-6 hours. After this time period is over, you should feel better. Don’t hesitate to seek doctor’s help if you don’t start feeling better soon.

  35. Hi I don’t take Vic’s I take 15mg oxy no mix 6x a day and 30mg morphine 2x a day for chronic pain there has been time I’ve over taken to get that not high feeling but the feeling of being motivated and energetic but I do eventually want to get off the crap or lower it after surgery how bad Will the WD be and what can I take to make it more tolerable

  36. I had a bad toothache about 3 weeks ago for the week before my oral surgery I was on hydrocodon. Only 15 pills. A week later I had the survey and they gave me 20 more. I’ve been off for more than a week but I’ve been so sick. I haven’t eaten in days I’m constantly vomiting and having hot flashes and chills. My question is, am I going through some sort of withdrawal? I don’t have much experience with taking this medication. Only a few times in my life. Have you heard of anything like this?

  37. How long does it take 2.5 mg of hydrocodone to reach blood stream? If you take 2.5 mg of hydrocodone will it show in blood 5 hours later if you don’t have any at all in your system at all.

  38. I feel sometimes its not working can you get immuned to them ? I’ve been taking them for over a year I have arthritis around my spine,bulging of the disks and DDD digenetic disk disorder is there something else to take? Thanks for listening please comment

  39. Hello, I have a few questions. My pain management doctor prescribed me hydrocodone 7.5mg. The bottle says take one pill three times per day. When it wears off, it makes me itch and it makes me extremely sleepy. If I don’t at least lay down within about 30 minutes after this feeling takes place, I feel like I want to vomit soon. When I do lay down, I never go to sleep. Also, does he supposed to prescribe me a non-narcotic medication to take along with that? I’m asking because I was taking ibuprofen and he took me off of that medication because I’m anemic. What non-narcotic can I take.

  40. I took a lortab on Monday. I have to see my probation officer on Friday do you think I have time to get it out and Xanax. I’m scared to death that if I don’t pass she’ll violate me. What can I do to clean my system out if? you could give me some advise I’d really appreciate it

  41. I took 60-70mg of hydrocodone on Wednesday around 5pm and was drug tested for the drug on Monday around 1pm. Will I pass the drug test?

  42. 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.

  43. 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

  44. 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.

  45. 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… 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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!

  48. 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 ,

  49. 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.

  50. 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

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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 ?

  54. 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?

  55. 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

  56. 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.

  57. 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….

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