What are Vicodin withdrawal symptoms?

Common Vicodin withdrawal symptoms can appear a few hours after your last dose of Vicodin and may include: diarrhea, stomach pain, sweating, and chills. More here on Vicodin withdrawal symptoms, including how long you can expect symptoms to last.

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Thinking about detoxing from Vicodin (acetaminophen and hydrocodone)?

Read on to learn more about how does Vicodin affect the brain and which Vicodin withdrawal symptoms to expect during detox, as well as how long they last. Plus a section at the end for your questions about Vicodin.

Why do Vicodin withdrawal symptoms occur?

Vicodin is part of the opioid family of pain killer medicines. The main ingredient in Vicodin is hydrocodone, which is an opioid man-made synthetic derivative of drugs like morphine. Like most opioids, hydrocodone suppresses the pain receptors in the brain and (in effect) slows the overall body responses. This is why when you are on Vicodin, you can no longer feel pain and/or feel Vicodin euphoria, the feeling of being high.

But the bottom line about Vicodin is: If you are taking Vicodin every day, you run the risk of developing a physical dependency on Vicodin (hydrocodone). When you are dependent on Vicodin, this means that the body has adjusted to the presence of hydrocodone in the central nervous system, and compensates for the chemical imbalance. So when you stop taking Vicodin, the body needs to adjust to the new chemical state. In other words, Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are just a sign of the body “rebounding” from the slowed state which was chemically produced by hydrocodone and are a necessary part of detox if you want to stop using Vicodin.

What are symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal?

Vicodin can become habit forming and drug cravings can make it harder to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. You can expect to feel Vicodin withdrawal shortly after a missed does, sometimes even a few hours after the effects of Vicodin have worn off. The degree and timeline for Vicodin withdrawal symptoms fluctuates depending on the doses and frequency of Vicodin taken. There are a variety of symptoms you may experience withdrawing from Vicodin. Symptoms include:

  • abnormal skin sensations
  • chills
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • erratic moods
  • excessive yawning or sneezing
  • extreme drowsiness
  • seizures (more serious)
  • sleep disturbance
  • stomach pain
  • strong drug craving
  • sweating
  • yellowing of the skin and the whites of eyes

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms: How long?

Symptoms of withdrawal from short-acting opioids such as hydrocodone can develop a few hours after the last use, peak within 36–72 hours, and subside over 5–10 days. Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal can manifest after only a few hours after a missed dose or when stopping or significantly reducing Vicodin dosage suddenly. The first couple of days of Vicodin withdrawal are the hardest. Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal can include drug cravings, sweating, diarrhea, extreme moods. But after about a week or so, you should begin to feel normal or at least better. After this, protracted Vicodin withdrawal symptoms can linger and often include: insomnia, continued mood swings, and psychological cravings.

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms treatment

Vicodin withdrawal symptom treatment aims to lessen discomfort during the withdrawal period. If you think you are physically dependent Vicodin, you might want to seek a rehab facility or detox clinic so that you can be monitored while withdrawing from Vicodin. Medical attention not only makes sure that the withdrawal period goes smoothly, but also provides emotional and psychological support during this period. Then, once you have detoxed and taken care of most of the withdrawal symptoms you can begin to take care of any possible psychological aspects of Vicodin addiction.

There are two main forms of Vicodin withdrawal treatment:

1. Supportive care

2. Medications

1. Supportive care for Vicodin withdrawal – Withdrawal from Vicodin can be accomplished with psychological support and symptomatic treatment alone, along with periodic reassessment by a health care provider. While possible to withdraw from Vicodin cold turkey or at home, experts still suggest that you seek professional help in order to decrease chances of relapse.

2. Medications for Vicodin withdrawal – Pharmaceutical interventions during Vicodin withdrawal aim to reduce the occurrence of signs and symptoms of withdrawal, and may or may not include the use of a substitute narcotic. Vicodin, like Heroin, can be painful to withdraw from and there are various methods of treating withdrawal symptoms. Some doctors prescribe Clonidine to reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle cramps, and sweating. Buprenorphine can also be administered to support and shorten detox. However, prescriptions for opioid withdrawal can vary and will depend upon your ultimate goal for either maintenance or abstinence. Furthermore, beware of rapid opiate detox has not been proved to decrease time in detox, nor the severity of symptoms as some claim.

Vicodin withdrawal symptoms questions

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Still have another question about Vicodin withdrawal symptoms? Please ask your Vicodin questions below. We are happy to respond to you personally, and will try to answer your questions ASAP. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: Federal Bureau of Prisons: Detoxification of Chemically Dependent Inmates
DailyMed FDA Drug Info on Vicodin
Drug Enforcement Administration: Drugs of Concern Hydrocodone
MedLine Plus: 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. How do you stop taking hydrocodone when you have pain on a daily occurance.I am allergic to all nsaids so all I can take for the pain is tylenol and it does not help at all, so can you please advise me on how and what to do for the pain I have.

    1. Hi Candace. The safest and most successful way to stop hydrocodone is tapering. A gradual dose reduction made in accordance with a doctor will ensure you go through as least withdrawal as possible. As for the pain there are many natural ways you can use to ease your pain.
      #1: Use fish oil and turmeric. They have anti-inflammatory properties and might help you with the pain.
      #2: Learn some meditation practices.
      #3: Try to exercise as much as you can to better handle pain.

  2. I had 3rd major surgery in January. It was for my second hip replacement. The first had been very traumatic with a resulting infection and second debride surgery as well as the first hip replacement being two inches too long. As a result I had a lot of back, shoulder and hip pain, wore a lift on my shoe and had many resulting falls, etc.
    After the surgery in January to match other hip, I developed fibromyalgia and my daughter continued me on 10 mgs Vicodin for pain with 325 acetaphetamine. It’s now been 8 months and I still take Vicodin 2 to 3 times a day, adding up to 25 to 30 milligrams a day. I am worried about side affects, sluggishness, constipation and more; don’t want to be addicted.
    Six seven hours after taking I begin to feel worse each time with the fibromialgia pain and accompanying mild nausea. I want to lowe my doses and find another way to cope with the pain and ultimately quit the Vicodin all together.
    I have had three other operations previously, one on a badly injured ankle that had to be hammered together and in all three cases I gave up the Vicodin almost immediately. However, the pain seemingly constant in my shoulders neck back arms and fingers from the fibromyalgia somehow got me in this trap. I take Cymbalta 20 milligrams a day and meloxicam. How do I proceed to wean myself from the Vicodin??? Counting on your help and thanking you in advance. BTW, I am an otherwise healthy 66 year old woman.

    How do I come off the Vicodin and at the same time get fibromyalgia relief.

    1. Hi Sirry. I suggest that you speak with a doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule. Also, consider looking for alternative methods for treating pain.

  3. Hi Mat. The symptoms that you describe can be attributed to hydrocodone withdrawal. I’d suggest that you record the symptoms (Time, date, duration, intensity) on a calendar and report them to your prescribing doctor. It’s too bad that s/he didn’t create a tapering schedule for you, b/c cold turkey withdrawal is an unnecessary way to get off hydrocodone.

  4. I was taking hydrocodon acetaminophen 7.5-300 for about 2 months,6 pills a day. My doctor did not refill prescription said to use over the counter Tylenol or aleve.I feel fine except going to sleep, I am going out of my mind, I can’t sleep I am tossing, turning,crawling out of my skin, maybe hallucinating.I just stopped cold turkey. Is this normal?

  5. Hi Mike. First, seek the advice of your prescribing doctor. There are general guidelines for tapering off Vicodin, but you MUST be under medical supervision when you stop taking Vicodin to prevent complications…and to benefit from other medications to address withdrawal symptoms, if necessary. Here are tapering guidelines:

    o Reduce Vicodin daily dose by 10% each day
    o Reduce the dose by 20% every 3-5 days
    o Reduce the dose by 25% per week
    o Avoid reducing the daily dose by > 50% at any given interval

  6. Im no good in english so i’m sorry.

    Can you please describe me how to tempar off from vicodin, i really want a change. I took for back pain nothing else, just another person want to be living healthy normal life again. BTW, I took 7.5/750 hydrocodone/ace and i also wanted to know if dosage makes withdrawal intensity depends of dosage.


  7. Hi Jake. If your last dose of Vicodin was on the 11th and you have a drug screen 8 days later, this should be long enough to test clean in urine for hydrocodone. But most companies don’t even test for hydrocodone, which requires an “extended opioids” drug screen, as it does not usually show up as an “opiate” in a standard DOT 5 panel drug screen. Instead, employers usually request an additional test for opioids like hydrocodone.

  8. I got a job I start 10/22/12. I just got completely off the vicodin on the 11th. I had to dose down. I just got a letter from the company that I have to have a drug screen. I called them and said I would be out of town until the 18th. I will go on the 19th. They said that was fine as long as I get it done prior to the hire date. Do I have enough time to test clean? I was taking 40mgs a day. Please advisel

  9. Hi Jake. Try not to be too hard on yourself. It’s disappointing when relapse occurs, but it’s also a part of the process of recovery. Vicodin is also one of the MOST ADDICTIVE legal opioids out there. So, you’re fighting an uphill battle!

    I’d suggest that you consider going to detox + rehab for 28 days. While expensive, this transition can cause lasting change in your life. Most treatment centers offer sliding scale fees when you pay out of pocket. And while you may incur debt, you can pay off the treatment over time. If you’re serious about recovery, you need to be willing to DO ANYTHING POSSIBLE to get better. And if you trust the process, and totally give yourself over to it, you can be rewarded with a life beyond your dreams. But you have to be willing to make the leap and to do something that seems crazy and extreme in order to get better.

    Are you ready for this?

  10. I was doing quite well staying off this stuff. Well I screwed up and now I am taking it again. The job I wanted called me for an interview 3 times and I thought for sure I had the job. I guess not. I have been hired at a department store that does not drug test. So I took the job. It seems like my motive for staying off drugs is to get a job and pass the drug test. I go to NA meetings but it does not seem to help. There are no other support groups around here other than NA. These people do not call me to see if I am OK. I do not have insurance so I can’t really get the help that I need to help with the withdrawl. I feel helpless, angry, hurting and alone. It is impossible to get it from the doctor. Getting from the streets is not only expensive but frustrating. It is hard to imagine enjoying life drug free.

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