How Long Does Vicodin Stay In Your System?

The amount of time it takes for Vicodin to be metabolized/removed by the body varies greatly from person to person, and real-world drug testing results can be influenced by a number of factors.

Vicodin is a now-discontinued brand name painkiller medication containing the opioid drug hydrocodone along with the pain and fever-reducing drug acetaminophen.

Generic formulations and similar combination tablets, like Norco and Lortab, are still available as prescription drugs and are widely prescribed to control chronic back pain or severe pain following outpatient medical procedures like oral surgery.

Depending on various factors, Vicodin can be detected on a drug test for up to four days after last use.

Vicodin Length Of Effect

Pain relief provided by immediate release Vicodin lasts about four to six hours per dose. After a dose is taken orally, the drug’s effects will begin between 15 and 30 minutes later and will peak at about 80 minutes.

Side-effects including nausea vomiting, constipation, lightheadedness, dizziness, and drowsiness may also occur.

Extended-release formulations provide pain relief for up to 12 hours per dose.

Length Of Time Vicodin Can Be Detected In The Body

Different drugs can be detected in different bodily tissues and fluids for shorter or longer periods of time. In the case of hydrocodone and its metabolites, rough drug testing detection periods include:

Saliva Tests

A saliva test can detect Vicodin in the system for between 12 and 35 hours after last use.

Urine Tests

A urine test can detect Vicodin in the system for between 2 and four days after last use.

Hair Tests

Traces of Vicodin or hydrocodone may be detectable for up to 90 days after last use, though hair follicle tests are relatively unusual and less reliable than other testing methods.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are not effective in detecting hydrocodone. 

Factors Influencing Vicodin Detection Times

The amount of time it takes for Vicodin to be metabolized/removed by the body varies greatly from person to person, and real-world drug testing results can be influenced by a number of factors, including:

  • use of immediate or extended-release formulations
  • size of last dose of Vicodin taken
  • hydration level
  • body fat content (body fat tends to absorb and hold on to drugs longer)
  • total body mass (larger individuals are able to diffuse and metabolize drugs more quickly)
  • age (younger individuals tend to metabolize drugs more quickly)
  • liver health (liver damage or disease will delay drug metabolism)
  • length of Vicodin use (as the drug can build-up in bodily tissues over long-term use)
  • use of other drugs (as this can also delay drug metabolism)

Vicodin Half-Life

Vicodin and similar products use a combination of the opioid drug hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, with the over-the-counter drug acetaminophen.

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, is the active ingredient in the brand name product Tylenol and is known for short-term pain relief, fever reduction, and for its surprising level of liver toxicity.

Acetaminophen Half-Life

The half-life of acetaminophen is approximately 2 to 3 hours, meaning that it takes the body around this long to process 1/2 of a normal dose of the drug and that long again to process half of the remainder.

Hydrocodone Half-Life

The half-life of hydrocodone is around 4 hours, which is slightly longer than acetaminophen. It is also longer than other prescription opioids/opiates like oxycodone (2.6 hours), codeine (2.9 hours), and morphine (1.9 hours), though shorter than tramadol (5.5 hours) and methadone (27 hours).

Note that it takes between four and five half-lives to effectively remove a drug from the body.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

The longer a substance like Vicodin is abused, the longer it can be detected in your body. Likewise, the longer you abuse Vicodin, the more harmful it can become.

Opioid use disorder can occur after long-term hydrocodone abuse, and you may experience withdrawal symptoms if abruptly discontinue. However, substance abuse and addiction, like any other disease, can be treated.

Addiction treatment can include detox support, behavioral therapy, peer support groups, and more.

If you or a loved one live with Vicodin addiction or dependence, please contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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