What is hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is an opioid medication used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It is only used to treat people who need pain relief and who cannot be treated with other medications. Hydrocodone may be prescribed after an injury or major surgery, or to treat other types of severe pain, such as cancer pain or arthritis.
Hydrocodone is derived from codeine, a natural alkaloid derived from the resin of poppy seeds. Once in the body, hydrocodone binds and activates the mu-opiate receptor to block the sensation of pain.
In combination with paracetamol or ibuprofen, hydrocodone bears the brand names:
There are also several extended-release formulations of hydrocodone, including:
Hydrocodone comes with many warnings due to its potential for abuse and addiction. Because of this, it is classified as a federally controlled substance (C-II). Extended release hydrocodone formulations are specially formulated to be difficult to crush, break up, or dissolve to prevent abuse. If you’ve been prescribed hydrocodone, you may be curious about how long the effects last in your body and how long the drug shows up on a drug test.
How long does it take before you feel the effects of hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone is taken orally (orally) and must pass through your digestive system before you begin to feel its effects. You should feel the effects of hydrocodone in less than an hour. According to the package insert, a 10 mg oral dose of the drug reaches peak concentrations in the bloodstream within about 1.3 hours after ingestion. People who take hydrocodone frequently will develop a tolerance to the drug over time.
In this case, your doctor may increase your dose or switch you to a different type of pain reliever. Do not take a large dose of hydrocodone without first talking to your doctor.
How long does it take for hydrocodone to wear off?
One way to find out how long a drug lasts in the body is to measure its half-life. The half-life is the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body. Hydrocodone has an average half-life of approximately 3.8 hours in healthy adult males. In other words, it takes the average healthy male 3.8 hours to eliminate half of the dose of hydrocodone.
However, it is important to note that each drug metabolizes differently, so the half-life varies from person to person. It takes several half-lives to completely eliminate a drug. In most people, hydrocodone completely clears the blood within a day, but it can be detected in saliva, urine, or hair for much longer.
According to the American Addiction Center, hydrocodone can be detected in:
. saliva for 12 to 36 hours after taking dose
. Urine up to four days after taking the last dose
. Hair up to 90 days after taking last dose
. You will likely stop “feeling” the pain relief from hydrocodone long before it fully cleanses your body. For this reason, your doctor may have you take a single hydrocodone tablet every four to six hours while you are in pain.
Extended-release formulations last a little longer, so they’re typically taken every 12 hours to control pain.
Factors that affect how long hydrocodone effects last A number of factors can affect the time it takes for hydrocodone to clear the body. Estos include:
- body fat percentage
- liver function
- how long you are taking hydrocodone
- if you have previously taken opioids
- Other diseases
- other medicines
- alcohol and other medicine
- Alcohol and hydrocodone in combination have a synergistic effect on each other. Hydrocodone takes longer to clear from your body.
Combining alcohol with hydrocodone can also lead to dangerous side effects, including the possibility of a fatal overdose. Hydrocodone is cleared from your body through a pathway known as cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A). Drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 make it harder for your body to break down hydrocodone.