How to withdraw from Vicodin

The safest way to withdraw from Vicodin is under a doctor’s supervision. Taper Vicodin doses, and then eliminate hydrocodone completely. But some people can withdraw from Vicodin at home. Should you? More here on how to withdraw from Vicodin.

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Ready to withdraw from Vicodin?

Vicodin is a strong pain medication which can quickly make you dependent on hydrocodone. When this happens, your body has developed a physical need for Vicodin in order to function normally. When you miss a dose of Vicodin, the body goes through withdrawal.  How long Vicodin withdrawal lasts depends on frequency and amount of use…but generally resolves within a week or two of last dose.

But is there a right way to withdraw from Vicodin? How do you help ease symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal? In this article, we will explore the answers to these questions and offer you to a place to leave any questions you may have about how to withdraw from Vicodin at the end.

When do you withdraw from Vicodin?

You withdraw from Vicodin if you suddenly stop using Vicodin after several weeks of daily dosing. After regular doses of Vicodin, you body can develop physical dependency to its main ingredient, hydrocodone. So, when you stop taking Vicodin your body needs time to readjust.

How long to withdraw from Vicodin?

How long to withdraw from Vicodin depends on the severity of Vicodin use and the level of physical dependence. Prescribed users will withdraw from Vicodin quicker than people who have taken Vicodin for long periods of time or at high doses. However, general onset of Vicodin symptoms start 6-8 hours after your last does of Vicodin has worn off. You can then expect to suffer withdrawal symptoms anywhere from days to weeks later. and it may take months for the psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety or drug craving to wear off. In other words, the acute withdrawal symptoms can last up to four days, while symptoms like depression and insomnia make take a great deal longer to regulate and normalize.

Can I withdraw from Vicodin at home?

It depends. Severe cases of Vicodin use, abuse, or addiction may be best served with a clinical detox. Others who have been taking Vicodin for short periods of time or as prescribed can often withdraw from Vicodin at home. The worst of withdrawal from Vicodin symptoms are like having the flu, which may knock you out for about a week or so while you get better. Taking time off from work to properly treat withdrawal symptoms helps. As does preparation.

If you plan to withdraw from Vicodin at home, be sure to first discuss a tapering plan with your doctor to reduce Vicodin use slowly over time. Tapering is the single most important step in order to reduce the severity or intensity of Vicodin detox symptoms. Then, discuss your plans for withdrawal with your doctor who can supervise you on an outpatient basis. What is important is that, at the least, someone close to you knows that you are planning to withdraw from Vicodin at home.

Further, most of what you’ll need to withdrawal is at home or available in your local pharmacy: over-the-counter NSAIDs, hot water bottles, Immodium AD, natural sleep aids, massage or muscle lotions. Your doctor may also prescribe you medications such as clonidine, buprenorphine, or naloxone to help treat withdrawal. Just make sure you have back up plans to help you if anything potentially goes wrong. And if you are abusing Vicodin and finding it difficult to withdrawal, seek a therapeutic community or a detox facility for help with withdrawing successfully.

Withdraw from Vicodin symptoms

Withdrawing from Vicodin can be distressing and painful, since the body is suddenly flooded with sensations Vicodin was helping to depress. As with most opioid medications, when you withdraw from Vicodin symptoms mimic the flu. Withdraw from Vicodin symptoms usually begin onset about 12 hours after your last dose during which you may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • abdominal cramps
  • anxiety and agitation
  • confusion
  • craving
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness and fatigue
  • erratic moods
  • nausea and vomiting
  • seizures
  • sleep disturbance
  • strong drug craving
  • sweats
  • yellowing of the skin and the white of the eyes

How to ease withdrawal symptoms from Vicodin

Flu like symptoms such as diarrhea, muscle aches, and nausea are some of the most persistent withdrawal symptoms from Vicodin that can last for a couple of weeks. Likewise, insomnia can become an issue. Finding anti-diarrhea OTC medications like Imodium and natural sleep aids will be really helpful in increasing your comfort through the process. Also, make sure to increase electrolytes to ease withdrawal symptoms from Vicodin. Fluids and electrolytes help to flush out all the toxins in your body. The main ways to ease physical withdrawal symptoms from Vicodin are to:

1. Seek a prescription for medications to address and manage acute opioid withdrawal symptoms (clonidine, buprenorphine, etc.)

2. Treat symptoms using home remedies.

3. Treat symptoms using alternative modalities such as acupuncture, massage or biofeedback.

Additionally, you will want to address any psychological symptoms of drug craving that appear during withdrawal. Seeking out a supportive community and someone you can talk to is one way to really help the foundation of withdrawal and recovery. This can also make treating physical symptoms easier if you know you can make it to the other end.

How to withdraw from Vicodin safely

It isn’t always advisable to stop taking Vicodin cold turkey. You run the risk of aggravated withdrawal symptoms if you do. The best thing you can do is to get a plan in line. Talk to your doctor and work something out. Take the advice and the medications given to you by physicians. Seek out support groups and people you can talk to, to get through the thick of it. Withdrawal doesn’t have to be painful.

If you are addicted to Vicodin or have been abusing hydrocodone for euphoric effect, it is best to withdraw from Vicodin safely under the supervision of a medical professional. Detox clinics/centers are safe and support the medical and psychological issues that arise during withdrawal. Relapse is statistically likely in the first hours of withdrawal. Support your chances of this not being you.

The best way to withdraw from Vicodin

The best way to withdraw from Vicodin is to have your doses tapered. This means Vicodin doses are slowly decreased over time so that you don’t have to experience the severity of withdrawal all at once. Tapering allows your body time to readapt to lower levels of hydrocodone in the system as the brain’s opioid receptors clear. Opioids like Vicodin have a general tapering method which includes a 10% reduction every week and then a 20% reduction every 3 to 5 days. It is unadvisable to decrease in increments of 50% at any given time. However, while this is procedure is outlined as general protocol for most opioids, everyone is different and it will be important to seek advice from your doctor accordingly.

How to deal with withdrawal from Vicodin questions

Still have trouble knowing how to deal with withdrawal from Vicodin? Withdrawal can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Please ask any questions you may have about stopping Vicodin in the comments section and we will get back to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: Florida health: Opiate Withdrawal
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. I was dismissed from my pain clinic because I had taken one Tramadol not prescribed. Now I can’t get another pain clinic to take me due to that ONE dirty urine. I only have 5 Vicodin left. What can I do? I have tapered myself over two weeks to about 1 tab/day. I’m scared.

  2. I have been taking pain pills since 2008 and i say pain pills because in the beginning it was whatever i could get. I even got stuck on the methadone for a full year before the script literally died out… RIP…. but now its hard to get what i want at a reasonable price and hydrocodone is bout the cheapest i can get and regularly.. so now im addicted and dependent and scared cause now i have gotten into trouble and have to serve 6 months in work release… All the talk about not sleeping i know very well. My body hurts about 5 to 6 hrs after i take vicodin and then im finding myself taking more to feel better.. i have to turn myself into wr in less then two short weeks i guess what im asking here is what home remedy would possibly WORK the FASTEST to a good start of being sober once again?? Please help..its to late to get medical help and i have to go to work through all of this as well.. i have no choice ps.. i have already started tapering down my doses the best i can without professional help..

  3. Hello CJ. Tapering really depends on you and how willing you are to put up with the symptoms. i’d suggest that you consult with your prescribing doctor to set up an individualized (and supervised) monitoring plan. The goal is usually to get off Vicodin with minimal symptoms, even if it means a longer period of time for the process to take place.

  4. I am currently taking 4-5 xtra strength Vicodin a day. I just started to taper off because I want off! I cut them in half and am reducing by 1/2 pill/day every 5 days. Now I am thinking mayb I should have left them whole and just tapered off 1/2 pill/ day/week. Any suggestions using real numbers, I.e., start at 4 whole pills then 5 days later 3 1/2, etc. or is raking them more often but as a 1/2 pill better or worse. Thx for help, been on these for pain from surgeries and fibromyalgia for 15 years and gradually had to increase them.

  5. I have been taking 6 to 8 Vicodin a day for the past 6 months. Do you think i am safe to withdrawal at home? I am wanting to slowly ween myself off of them. When i ran out one time and went 24 hrs without , I had some of the withdrawal symptoms and it wasnt pleasant. Thank you for any input.

  6. Hi Karlee. Quitting Vicodin cold turkey is not recommended to people who have developed addiction to it. Plus, I don’t think it would be safe to just quit considering your age. I’d suggest you see a doctor and taper down the doses gradually and quit Vicodin after some time. Here is a related article that may give you some answers to your questions:

  7. I’m scared!! After taking Vicodin for over 3 years for a neck and shoulder injury, I am addicted! Not only do I take what one doctor prescribes but I go to several doctors and pharmacies for Vicodin! I take up to 6-8 per day! I have even crushed them up and snorted them! I know what a a moron!! Now i know I want to quit! I haven’t made any appointments with any of my Doctors and today will be the last of what I have! I know I probably need rehab but insurance won’t pay and my husband doesn’t know! Am I going to die or will I make it through this!! I’m a 54 yr old grandma and I’m feeling like a n idiot! Is there anything I can take naturally that will help. R there rehab programs from home that aren’t that expensive? I’m very lost and alone!

  8. Hello An. Be careful not to confuse dependence with addiction. It’s possible to be physically dependent on an opioid like Vicodin without being addicted. Have you undertaken an assessment for addiction at this point? Do not worry about full disclosure with your doctors – if anything, they should be able to help you during withdrawal and to refer you to local resources for addiction, if necessary. Please update and let us know how you’re doing!

  9. I’ve been taking prescribed Vicodin 5/325 for over 2 years I have fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and a few other things. I began having severe panic and anxiety about 4 mo after having a total hysterectomy which was in 2010..I have weaned myself off of all my medications and have been doing well without them for over 4 mo., except the Vicodin. I believe that I may be addicted at this point I have tried to reduce my intake and have succeeded a few times but always seem to go back. Lately I am nauseated most of the day I’m having anxiety symptoms again I have to force myself to eat and being around people agitates me. I believe I can withdraw on my own but I also don’t want to make myself worse in the process. I have attempted to discuss this with 2 of my drs and both say I can’t be addicted ( I take a max of 4 every day) because I control how much I take and because I’m so concerned about being addicted. I no longer have insurance and can’t afford to see a dr now can u make any suggestions?

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