Hydrocodone is a strong opioid drug that blocks pain signals in the brain. The time it takes for hydrocodone to leave the system varies among individuals, but it can range from a day to a few weeks.
Hydrocodone is one of the
Many people know this medication as Vicodin, though Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and another drug called acetaminophen. Other brand names for this combination include Norco, Lortab, and Lorcet.
These hydrocodone-based medications have a high potential for misuse. In 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Additionally, hydrocodone can leave traces in the body for a long time, meaning healthcare professionals can detect even small doses in a person’s blood, urine, saliva, and hair.
This article explores how long hydrocodone lasts in the body.
According to Addiction Resource, it takes at least 18–24 hours for the body to clear most hydrocodone from the system. By this point, the body eliminates more than
The timing varies significantly depending on the area of the body that a healthcare professional is testing. Traces of the drug can remain in certain areas well beyond 24 hours.
How long does hydrocodone stay in the urine?
Tests can detect the drug in the urine for around 1–4 days after a person takes it.
How long does hydrocodone stay in the blood?
In the blood, hydrocodone is present at its highest level after about 1.3 hours and is detectable for up to 24 hours after intake.
How long does hydrocodone stay in the saliva?
Tests can detect hydrocodone in the saliva anywhere between 12 and 36 hours after a dose.
How long does hydrocodone stay in the hair?
In the hair, traces of hydrocodone are detectable for the longest period — nearly 90 days after a person takes the drug.
There are many reasons why the time it takes for hydrocodone to leave the body varies. Some factors that influence this include the following:
A doctor prescribes a dosage depending on a person’s height, weight, and body fat composition, so dosages vary from person to person.
In the body, there are two classes of enzymes that help process hydrocodone: CYP450 and UDP-glucuronosyltransferases.
The quality and quantity of these enzymes vary from person to person according to their genes. This, too, can affect how a person metabolizes a drug.
When a person takes hydrocodone for a longer period — such as months or years — it likely takes longer for the drug to clear their system than it would for those who only take hydrocodone for a few days.
This effect relates to pharmacodynamic tolerance. This is the process by which a person
Frequency of intake
The body takes longer to eliminate the 24-hour tablet from the body.
Common side effects of hydrocodone use
Other symptoms may include:
- shortness of breath
- drowsiness or a nagging feeling of fatigue
- abdominal pain
- itchy skin
Hydrocodone also has the potential to cause weak or shallow breathing, so it is best if people with asthma, sleep apnea, or other respiratory conditions check with a doctor about other forms of treatment.
Hydrocodone is an addictive drug, so it carries a strong risk of misuse.
Signs of hydrocodone misuse
- sleep apnea
- difficulty breathing
- slow heart rate (bradycardia)
- clammy skin
- pupil constriction (miosis)
- a blue hue to the hands, fingertips, or feet (cyanosis)
- low blood pressure (hypotension)
- loss of consciousness
Another condition that may occur in people who misuse opioids such as hydrocodone is
Hydrocodone and acetaminophen
The length of time that hydrocodone stays in the body varies from person to person. This is due to factors such as age, genetics, and the frequency of intake. Generally, one dose takes at least 18–24 hours to leave the body.
There are certain risks associated with hydrocodone, especially in the case of long-term use. People taking hydrocodone should do so as a doctor instructs and report any side effects.