Vicodin is the brand name of a pain relief drug made up of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is an opioid narcotic that is synthesized from codeine. Codeine is derived from opium poppy seeds. Hydrocodone is used for moderate to severe pain. It has also been widely abused resulting in severe addiction issues and even death. These factors have led many to ask how long does Vicodin stay in your system?
Vicodin, like hydrocodone, is commonly prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain following such treatments as oral surgery or outpatient procedures, Vicodin is listed by The Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it is considered dangerous and addictive.
Vicodin, while an effective painkiller, can be addictive and cause adverse side effects and withdrawal symptoms. It is essential to know how long Vicodin stays in your system to avoid any potential dangers if you are taking any other medications with this drug.
How Does Vicodin Affect the Body?
Vicodin’s main ingredient is hydrocodone, a narcotic analgesic synthesized from codeine. Hydrocodone connects to cells in the brain and spinal cord called opioid receptors once it is consumed. Opioids obstruct pain signals sent to the brain which results in changes in a person’s perception of pain as well as their emotional reactions.
Some other potential side effects of Vicodin are:
- Chronic constipation
In addition to the surge of abuse, deaths associated with Vicodin have increased. As hydrocodone, and all opiates, slows down the heart and breathing rate, it can be hazardous if taken with other prescription drugs, such as muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, or medications for mental illness or nausea. Additionally, alcohol can cause issues with Vicodin.
Vicodin combined with alcohol, can reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, leading to a risk of a coma, brain damage, and even death.
Because of the negative effects Vicodin, developing an addiction can be very dangerous. One common side effect of Vicodin is that it reduces the functioning of the digestive and respiratory systems. This can result in potential intestinal damage. Additionally, some who frequently use the drug are vulnerable to respiratory infections and lung problems.
Furthermore, acetaminophen and hydrocodone can cause inflammation, scarring, and liver damage. If a person is affected by a Vicodin overdose, the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Slowed heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach spasms
- Limp or weak muscles
If a Vicodin overdose is experienced, professional medical advice should be sought immediately. If an overdose is caught in the early stages, San Diego Sober Living can offer access to treatment to assist with the effects of a Vicodin overdose.
How Long Does Vicodin Stay in Your System?
Vicodin relieves pain for approximately four to six hours. However, because hydrocodone is synthesized from the opiate codeine, drug tests may be able to detect Vicodin in the body for several days after use.
There are several factors that influence the length of time that it takes Vicodin to leave the system:
- Dosage – If an individual takes one dose of Vicodin, they will have a smaller amount in their system than those who take more significant, frequent doses. Essentially, this means that those who only use smaller doses will notice that Vicodin leaves their system much quicker.
- Body fat – The more body fat a person has, the more hydrocodone will be absorbed. Heavy use of the drug results in hydrocodone being stored in fatty tissues, which keeps traces of the drug in the body for longer.
- Exercise – Physical activity can help speed up metabolism and improve the cardiovascular system.
- Overall health – If a person has liver damage, they will have trouble metabolizing Vicodin. This means the drug will stay in their system much longer.
How Long Does Vicodin Stay in a Drug Test?
If a drug test is required when an individual consumes Vicodin, it will usually be used to detect hydrocodone. Whether its effects are felt or not, hydrocodone can be detected in the body for up to ninety days.
There are a number of options for Vicodin drug testing, such as:
- Saliva test – This is the most convenient type of drug test. However, saliva testing must be completed in the days following Vicodin use as it is not detectable for twelve hours, and all traces of the drug fade after thirty-six hours.
- Hair test – A hair follicle test can detect traces of substances for up to ninety days after use. Although a hair sample can take ten days to test positive, this is the most reliable test method.
- Urine test – Urine tests are the most common way to test for Vicodin, as the drug is detectable in urine for up to four days after consumption.
Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are similar to those experienced when withdrawing from other medications and drugs, such as morphine, heroin, or codeine. Even if Vicodin is only taken for several weeks, users may still experience symptoms. People who have taken Vicodin as prescribed to relieve pain may also experience withdrawal.
When someone develops a Vicodin addiction and suddenly stops taking the drug, withdrawal symptoms, such as the following may arise:
- Muscle aches
As hydrocodone is a short-acting opioid, symptoms will typically surface eight to twenty-four hours after the last dose. If a person thinks they may have a Vicodin addiction, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional to seek help with withdrawal symptoms.
It can be challenging for an individual who has developed a physical or psychological dependence to stop taking the drug can be challenging. The safest way to eliminate Vicodin from the system is through medical detox. Here, a person is monitored throughout their detox experience to help eradicate any potential dangers and ensure that support is available during withdrawal.
If heavy or prolonged Vicodin use is experienced, it is essential to seek treatment during the detox process. When seeking treatment, contacting a healthcare provider will ensure that several methods of treatment and medications can be provided to help with side effects.
Once a person has completed detox, addiction treatment such as therapy is recommended to ensure all issues surrounding addiction are dealt with. Additional treatment can also help those in recovery prepare for a healthy, substance-free future.
Vicodin can be an effective painkiller for severe and chronic pain. It can also help those recovering from an injury or surgery, although we could argue that it is overprescribed in our society. However, it is important to remember the dangerous risks that may arise if Vicodin is taken with other drugs or not taken under medical supervision. The euphoric high that some may experience from taking Vicodin makes hydrocodone addiction a potential danger.
For guidance and support surrounding how to detox from Vicodin, San Diego Sober Living today and we can help you navigate Vicodin addiction.