How long does Vicodin last?

The effects of Vicodin last for about 4-6 hours. More on how long Vicodin stays in the body, as well the effects of taking Vicodin to get high here. More on Vicodin dosing and dangers.

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Vicodin lasts for about 4-6 hours. But Vicodin can stay in the body for a day or two after you take it. Read on for more about Vicodin’s duration of action, as well as Vicodin and euphoric high. Your questions about Vicodin are welcomed at the end.

Vicodin effects on the body and brain

Vicodin is a central nervous system depressant. As a pain reliever, Vicodin alters the body and brain’s responses to pain. How? Vicodin affects the body and can provide pain relief thanks to the way its main ingredient, hydrocodone, works on the central nervous system. So, Vicodin affects the body through the brain, so to speak. But what happens at a chemical level?

Hydrocodone works by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs. As a result, hydrocodone can diminish the perception of pain. But hydrocodone can also cause a person to feel relaxed and euphoric by affecting areas of the brain that deal with what we perceive as pleasure.  What makes Vicodin addictive?  When taken to try to get high, or used long-term to control pain, Vicodin can become addictive because of hydrocodone’s strong reaction on the pleasure center of the brain.

Vicodin effects on the body can include:

  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • feelings of pleasure, relaxation, and contentment
  • impaired coordination
  • lessened feelings of pain
  • nausea/vomiting
  • slowed or shallow breathing
  • slowed heart rate
  • stop coughing

Vicodin duration of action

Vicodin reaches its peak level in the blood after about 1.3 hours. And the half life for Vicodin in the typical adult is just under 4 hours. Depending on the person, Vicodin can last for 4-6 hours, more or less.

Vicodin time in the body

After more than a day or two, it’s unlikely that Vicodin will still be present in the blood. However, Vicodin will show up on urine screens for 1-2 days after last dosage (and even longer for chronic users), but can stay present in hair samples for 90 days or even longer.

How long do Vicodin effects last?

The effects of Vicodin last between 4 and 6 hours. Vicodin contains two medications to help relieve pain, the addictive opioid hydrocodone, and acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is not addictive, but can be dangerous to take in larger amounts that prescribed. Because of this, Vicodin needs to be only taken in the amount and frequency recommended by your doctor.

How long does a Vicodin high last?

Do people get high on Vicodin? Yes, but using Vicodin for non medical reasons or without a prescription is illegal.  A Vicodin high will last between 4-6 hours, since that’s how long it takes for the drug to be cleared from the human body. However, you may have to take higher or more frequent doses of Vicodin than would normally be prescribed to achieve a high. This kind of dosing is dangerous due to the low overdose threshold of acetaminophen. Taking large amounts of Vicodin to get high may result in liver damage.

Plus, mixing Vicodin and alcohol to get high has been thought to increase the duration or intensity of euphoric sensation. Instead, combining Vicodin with other depressants puts you at risk of slowed breathing and heart rate or losing consciousness and is never recommended.

Vicodin high effects

Vicodin’s pain-relieving effects can also have the side effect of causing a high. In fact, Vicodin acts on the limbic system, which controls emotions. As a result, opioids like Vicodin can produce feelings of pleasure, relaxation, and contentment. Some of these euphoric effects of Vicodin include:

  • drowsiness
  • extreme well being
  • heaviness
  • relaxation
  • numbness

Vicodin is addictive, so abusing it to get high does carry risks. A Vicodin addiction can result in powerful withdrawal symptoms, uncontrollable cravings for the drug, and compulsive use of the drug despite negative consequences. It can also cause long-term damage to the liver, and potentially death.

How long Vicodin lasts questions

Do you still have a question about how long Vicodin lasts? Please leave your questions and comments below. We will be happy to provide you with an personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: NIDA for Teens: Mind Over Matter: Opiates
DEA: Hydrocodone
Medline Plus: Hydrocodone
Toxnet: Hydrocodone
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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