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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