How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Urine? | Experts Insights

Hydrocodone is the most commonly used opioid medication to relieve severe pain. Though the medication has the proven ability to manage intense pain, it comes with some potential addiction and misuse. So, if you are a patient who has been prescribed hydrocodone for chronic pain treatment or is about to undergo a urine drug test, it is crucial to learn “How long does hydrocodone stay in urine” along with its potential side effects and possible withdrawal risks. In general, this medication can be detectable in urine for about 4 days after the last dose. However, this detection period can vary based on dosage taken, age, frequency of use, and certain health conditions. So, here, we are with this article to give in-depth knowledge about hydrocodone, how long it takes to work, how long it takes to wear off, how long it stays in your urine, and the factors affecting its effects. With this, we will also discuss its side effects and withdrawal symptoms with some effective treatments!

Glance At The Topic

  • Hydrocodone is a potent opioid medication that is helpful in pain relief treatment.
  • Hydrocodone stays in the urine for up to 4 days.
  • The common hydrocodone side effects like constipation or nausea are mild, but its severe side effects can cause difficulty in breathing, slow heartbeat, low blood pressure, etc.
  • Withdrawal symptoms can lead to irritability, restlessness, fast heartbeat, fast breathing, etc.
  • If you struggle with hydrocodone addiction, consult the doctors immediately for the right treatment.

What Is Hydrocodone?

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States, Hydrocodone is a potent opioid drug that helps relieve moderate to severe pain. It supports pain management which can’t be achieved with other medications. It is prescribed to prevent severe pain like arthritis pain or cancer pain, persistent coughs, and after a major surgery or injury. For treating pain, this medication is paired with acetaminophen, and for healing cough, it is combined with homatropine methyl bromide. You can find hydrocodone in tablets and capsules.

As it is a prescription drug, it has some addiction risks due to its relaxing and pleasurable effects on different parts of the body. Since 1999, 1 million deaths due to drug overdose have been reported. Hence, doctors recommend hydrocodone only to those patients who do not respond well to the other medications.

People already taking or considering taking hydrocodone or soon going to have a urine drug test may wonder, “How long does hydrocodone take to work?”, “How long does hydrocodone take to wear off?” and “How long does hydrocodone last in urine”? So, the next sections take you to the answer!

Did You Know?

More than 75% of deaths in 2021 were because of the overdose of prescription opioids.




How Long Does Hydrocodone Take To Work?

As hydrocodone is an oral medication, it is taken orally (by mouth). So, this means, it will pass through your digestive system where its metabolism takes place before you start feeling the effects of this medication. Typically, you will notice the relief of pain in 1 hour. After the medication is taken, its amount reaches extreme concentration in approximately 1.3 hours. Moreover, it takes some time for the body to get used to this drug. So, people taking hydrocodone may take time to feel relief from pain or the pain relief might not be that strong. So, in this situation, healthcare professionals may recommend increasing the dose or prescribing some other types of painkillers. Keep in mind that do not consume excessive doses without consulting the doctor.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Take To Wear Off?

Measuring the half-life of hydrocodone is the way to find how long it will take to subside in the body. The half-life of any drug is the time taken for half (50%) of its concentration to be eliminated from the body. It takes around 4-5 continuous half-lives to remove the given drug from the body. The half-life of the hydrocodone is about 4-9 hours. This means that this medication will be precisely eradicated from the body from 16-20 to 36-45 hours after the first use. However, it is crucial to understand that every person metabolizes hydrocodone differently, so the half-life of the medication will differ from one person to another. It takes many half-lives to get rid of a medication completely. For some people, hydrocodone will be fully eliminated from the blood in one day, but it can be detectable in urine, hair, or saliva for a longer time.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Urine?

You may think that once the hydrocodone’s effect has decreased in the body, it would not be detectable in the drug tests. Well, the body takes time to break down the elements of the medication and eradicate it from the system. So, if you are soon going to face a urine drug test, knowing, “How long does hydrocodone stay in urine” may be a piece of essential information for you. Typically, hydrocodone lasts in the urine for up to 4 days after the last use. As per research, post the last dose, hydrocodone gets to high concentrations in the urine from 3:30 to 7 hours. However, the existence of this medication in the urine is significantly impacted by many factors. Those may include dosage, metabolism, frequency of use, etc. Let’s discuss these factors in detail in the next section!

What Factors Affect Detection Time Of Hydrocodone in Urine?

The hydrocodone detection time is impacted by several factors which may include:

  • Dosage: The higher the dosage of this medication, the longer it will take for your body to get rid of this drug. For instance, a high hydrocodone dose of 30 milligrams can take around 3 days to eliminate from the system. On the other hand, a lower dosage of 5 milligrams might take 1 day.
  • Metabolism: The metabolic rate of an individual’s body is a key factor contributing to how fast hydrocodone clears out of the system. Some people process this drug quickly while a few experience a long time because of the slow metabolism.
  • Frequency of Use: How frequently you are using hydrocodone directly affects its detection time in your urine. People taking this medication regularly may come with a positive urine drug test longer as compared to those using it only one time.
  • Body Fat: As this medication is fat-soluble, it can gradually deposit in the fatty tissues of the body after some time. So, people who have excessive body fat might store a large amount of hydrocodone which can increase the detection time.
  • Hydration Levels: Having a lot of water helps remove the hydrocodone and its specialized metabolites from your body. Dehydration can make your body take much time to eliminate the drug.
  • Health Conditions: The liver and kidney help process and eliminate the hydrocodone from the system. So, a person with kidney issues, liver damage, or any other health problems related to both of these organs will probably show slow elimination compared to a healthy person.
  • Other Medications: Some other medications can also contribute to the detection times of hydrocodone in urine. They can impact the metabolism (breaking down) of this medication and thus, expand its detection time. For instance, drugs such as paroxetine and fluoxetine that are prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and depression can block the activity of enzymes required to break down hydrocodone.

What Are The Side Effects Of Hydrocodone Use?

As hydrocodone is safe to use and has pleasurable effects on the body, this can make people use it in large amounts, leading to overdose. Additionally, consuming it repeatedly can cause dependency, and quitting can lead to some severe withdrawal symptoms.

The potential common side effects of hydrocodone may include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Mood changes (anxiety, fear, and some undesirable emotions)
  • Mild tremors
  • Liver damage
  • Muscle weakness

The severe side effects of hydrocodone may include:

Though the severe side effects of hydrocodone are rare, they can potentially include:

  • Breathing issues such as difficulty in breathing, extreme respiratory depression, and respiratory tract infection.
  • Circulation conditions like slow heartbeat, low blood pressure levels, and too much fluid retention in the legs.
  • Hearing issues that may include hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in ears).
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, inflammation, upset stomach, and unreasonable stomach pain.
  • Skin-related issues such as continuous itching, spreading rashes, and excessive sweating.
  • Neurological problems may include insomnia, headaches, anxiety, and dizziness.
  • Urinary problems like struggling to empty the urinary bladder or infections in the urinary tract.

If you are struggling with serious hydrocodone dependency and suddenly stop taking this medication without taking advice from your doctor, you may experience some severe withdrawal symptoms.

The symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • widened pupils
  • fast breathing
  • inability to sleep
  • muscle cramps
  • fast heartbeat
  • joint pain
  • chills
  • vomiting
  • sweating

Generally, symptoms start to improve within 6 days and significantly subside in one week. The doctors can assist you in managing the symptoms by gradually decreasing the dosage. They may recommend lowering the dose by 25%-50% every 2-4 days while keeping an eye on withdrawal symptoms.

What Is The Right Treatment For Hydrocodone Addiction?

If you are highly dependent on the use of hydrocodone and experiencing any of its side effects, consult the licensed doctors as soon as possible. The right treatment to recover from the addiction to this drug is detoxification. The detox treatment benefits the patients in getting rid of the hydrocodone and its associated metabolites from the body. Moreover, healthcare providers may provide other medications to treat addiction issues. Besides this, some medication-assisted treatments along with behavioral therapies can also emerge as valuable hydrocodone addiction treatments.

Summing Up

This article provides the answer to the question ” How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Urine”. We learned that the duration of hydrocodone in the urine may differ from one person to another. This is because of various factors like dosage, age, frequency of use, metabolism, and other health conditions. In general, hydrocodone lasts in your urine for approximately 4 days after the last intake. If you overdose on the medication, you can experience some side effects. Moreover, addiction can lead to withdrawal symptoms on quitting the medications. So, it is always advised to use the hydrocodone as recommended by the medical professionals. Also, stop using it after consulting the doctors only. If you notice any side effects and withdrawal symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

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