How long does Hydrocodone stay in your System?

Hydrocodone is a narcotic analgesic that is prescribed for alleviation, treatment, and control of moderate to serious pain. Quite similar to codeine, hydrocodone can also be used as an anti-tussive drug for treatment of intense coughs. The drug is quite potent, wherein 30 mg of codeine is equivalent to 5 mg of hydrocodone. It can thus be compared to morphine, heroin, and other such drugs.

Hydrocodone testing is usually done by employers before employment so as to ensure that they hire safe and drug-free workers. Such tests may also be done as part of routine drug tests or after an on-site accident at work.

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Patients are most likely to get a positive result for the drug when tested the next day after using hydrocodone. However, if last known use was more than 24 hours, then most drug tests will not be able to detect hydrocodone in the system.The presence of just trace levels of hydrocodone or even its metabolite in urine or blood can result in a positive drug test result. Such measures are referred as the ‘cut-off level.’ Some drug tests may feature a low cut-off level to rule out negative test results or to find out passive hydrocodone users.


How long does hydrocodone stay in your system?

Half-life and peak levels of hydrocodone are dependent on the amount of dosage as well as whether it was prescribed as a painkiller or an anti-tussive.Hydrocodone taken in a dosage of 10 mg comes with a half-life of around 3.9 hours, which indicates that the system takes nearly 4 hours to process that quantity of the drug and then remove 50 percent of its compounds from the body. The peak levels occur just 70 to 80 minutes after use. Manifestation of the withdrawal symptoms typically start 6 to 12 hours after last use of the drug.

The quick metabolic rhythm of hydrocodone means that it is usually not possible for drug tests to detect the presence of hydrocodone after 24 hours have elapsed since last use, especially if not ingested in heavy dosage. A hair follicle drug test is the only option that can detect the drug for nearly 90 days after last use.

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  • Hydrocodone urine test: Concentration of hydrocodone in urine reaches its highest levels in around 8 hours after use and then it starts to diminish substantially. Detection in such cases is often dependent on the amount of hydrocodone used; usually the drug remains detectible in urine for around 6 to 24 hours after last used.
  • Hydrocodone blood drug test: Since hydrocodone has a short half-life, a blood test for detection of the drug will usually not yield any positive results if over 24 hours have passed since ingestion. Thus, the test is usually conducted during impaired driving or medical emergencies, or when doctors, employers, police, etc. are of the opinion that a person is under the influence of drugs.
  • Hydrocodone hair follicle test: It can be safely said that a hair follicle drug test is the best test to detect hydrocodone presence in the system. It can find out if an individual has been abusing the drug, even when that person has ceased the intake of the drug some weeks before testing.The results of a hair drug test are more precise and offer better results that a hydrocodone blood or urine drug test.
    • Most drugs feature varied elimination rates from the system as well as varied detection time frames; these are usually dependent on different variables like patient age, health, etc. With regards to hydrocodone, it usually cannot be detected with precision or surety, unless a hair drug test is done. This test can detect the occurrence of hydrocodone in the system for nearly 90 days after last use of the drug.

Hydrocodone addiction

Hydrocodone is usually prescribed along with some other medication for pain alleviation or for treating coughs. It may however be noted that like other opiate medicines, hydrocodone is highly addictive and users can quickly develop high levels of tolerance for the drug.Increased tolerance levels mean that users feel the need to take increased dosages for getting the required effect. This is one of the reasons why people who use hydrocodone to get ‘high’ or experience euphoria tend to become easily addicted to the drug.

Patients who use hydrocodone for medical purposes can avoid addiction and physical and psychological dependence on the drug by religiously following the doctor’s dosage instructions. The below listed tips may be helpful in avoiding hydrocodone addiction:

  • Always take the dosage prescribed by the doctor. Do not increase the dosage, in frequency or amount.
  • Do not chew, crush, inject, or snort the drug.
  • Do not use hydrocodone after the prescription period has elapsed.
  • In case you experience a powerful desire to increase the dosage, then immediately consult your doctor.


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