How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your System? December 4th, 2019 Orlando Recovery Center

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How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your System?

Hydrocodone pill bottle with instructions on how to take it.

Hydrocodone is a combination prescription pain medication classified as an opioid. Some combinations of Hydrocodone are used to treat severe pain and others are used to treat coughs. So how long does hydrocodone stay in your system? Individual factors impact how long it stays in your system, but on average it may stay in the body for around 24 hours.

What is Hydrocodone Used For?

What is hydrocodone used for? Hydrocodone is used to treat acute pain. When consumed, hydrocodone binds to opioid receptors in the brain and changes the person’s emotional response to pain.

Hydrocodone also changes the way pain signals are sent between the brain and body to relieve pain. Specifically, it can be used to treat pain that’s moderate to severe. Treating chronic pain with hydrocodone or other opioids can lead to addiction and dependence.

How Hydrocodone Affects the Body

When someone uses hydrocodone, it attaches to opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. Along with altering pain signals, hydrocodone slows the functions of the central nervous system. When a person takes hydrocodone, they may initially feel a sense of euphoria and then because of the depressant effects, they may feel drowsy or even nod off.

How does hydrocodone affect the body in other ways? Some other common symptoms of Hydrocodone use include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your Blood?

People often have questions about how long hydrocodone stays in your blood. It’s important to understand this because taking another dose of hydrocodone before the last has left the system can lead to an increased risk of experiencing an overdose. While everyone is different and individual factors can play a role, a blood test can identify the use of hydrocodone for up to 24 hours after its use in most cases.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your Urine?

There is a longer detection window for hydrocodone in a urine screening. The use of hydrocodone may be detected in urine for anywhere from three to four days after someone takes a dose.

Factors like liver and kidney function can make this window of time shorter or longer. For example, if someone has kidney damage or kidney disease, it may take longer for hydrocodone to leave the system and it may show up in urine for longer.

How Long Does It Take To Feel the Effects of Hydrocodone?

When someone takes hydrocodone orally, it has to first go through the digestive system before it can cross the brain-blood barrier and a person feels the effects. Typically, within an hour someone will feel the effects of hydrocodone. However, if someone uses the drug regularly and has a tolerance to hydrocodone, it may take longer for that person to feel the effects.

The peak concentration of a dose of hydrocodone occurs within around 1.3 hours after someone takes it. How long does hydrocodone affect you in total? While it can take a day for hydrocodone to clear the blood fully, the effects often subside well before that.

How Long Does It Take for the Effects of Hydrocodone to Wear Off?

The hydrocodone half-life is approximately 4 hours. So, half the amount of hydrocodone a person took would be processed in that timeframe. It typically takes four to five half-lives for the body to eliminate a drug completely.

Even though it can take a day or so for hydrocodone to fully clear from a person’s system, the noticeable effects of hydrocodone, such as pain relief, last anywhere from four to six hours. There are also extended-release versions of hydrocodone with noticeable effects for 12 hours.  

Hydrocodone Overdose Signs

When someone takes too much hydrocodone, they can overdose. A hydrocodone overdose occurs because the brain and body can’t handle the effects of the drug. Since hydrocodone slows the central nervous system, if someone takes too much it can slow their breathing and heart rate so much that they overdose. Hydrocodone overdose signs include:

  • Slow, irregular or stopped breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Bluish fingernails and lips
  • Skin that’s cold or clammy
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Weakness
  • Weak pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

Get Help for Hydrocodone Addiction

Hydrocodone may be a prescription medication, but addiction can still develop. If you’re struggling with hydrocodone addiction, reach out to Orlando Recovery Center and learn more about opioid addiction treatment programs.



MedlinePlus. “Hydrocodone.” March 15, 2018. Accessed March 1, 2019.

Jacques, Erica. “How Hydrocodone Is Used for Pain Management.” Verywell Health. July 3, 2018. Accessed March 1, 2019.

Cafasso, Jacquelyn. “How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?” Healthline. January 10, 2018. Accessed March 1, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: Orlando Recovery Center aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.