How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System ?

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System ?
How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System ?

Hydrocodone is a popular semi-synthetic pharmaceutical drug. It is commonly prescribed for the treatment of severe pain and chronic coughing.

Upon ingestion of this drug, feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and pleasure are facilitated in your body.

For this reason, hydrocodone has a high potential for abuse and dependence. Hence, it is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States.

Anybody who takes this drug once can quickly become addicted to its dosing. He/she may even require regular dosage at some point in order to derive an increased medical benefit.

Despite the fact that your body attains necessary medical benefits from taking hydrocodone, it is not meant to be used over a long-term.

Long-term ingestion of this drug can impair your receptors and trigger unwanted neurophysiologic effects. Some of them may include mood swings, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired motor skills.

To avoid these devastating long-term complications, It is always advised to discontinue this drug and to clear it out from your system as soon as possible.

Now, In order to ensure that hydrocodone fully leaves your system, you need to discontinue its usage. It will involve some potentially horrific (but inevitable) hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms.

Remember, the discontinuation process should always be monitored by a medical doctor to avoid unnecessary complications and dangers (e.g. blood pressure changes, seizures, etc.).

Assuming you’ve completely discontinued hydrocodone, you’re probably wondering how long will it take to get this drug completely out of your system. This brings us to next section of this article.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?

Research has shown that half-life of hydrocodone is about an average 3.8 hours. In other words, it takes less than 4 hours for your body to excrete 50% of the hydrocodone.

This means that full excretion of hydrocodone from your system will occur in 20.9 hours.  Although, there could be some variation in the half-life of this drug, ranging from 3.3 hours to 4.1 hours.

This indicates that certain users might be able to clear this drug from their system quicker (18.15 hours), while others might have slightly prolonged clearance periods (22.55 hours).  Mostly you will be able to clear 50 % of this drug from your system within 1 day and 100% in 2 days.

Here is some information about how long this drug can sustain in other forms inside your body:

1. Urine

Hydrocodone can be detected in the urine for 3-4 days

2. Blood

A blood test can identify Hydrocodone up to 24 hours.

3. Saliva

A saliva test can detect Hydrocodone for up to 1-4 days

4. Hair

Hydrocodone can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

If hydrocodone is snorted, it will pass in your system more quickly than ingestion.The effects are almost immediate as your body does not require to absorb it.

Depending on how much of hydrocodone is taken, it will approximately stay in the body for 12-24 hours after administration.

Why Is Hydrocodone Test Conducted On Specific People?

Hydrocodone is the most common drug which is used for self-abuse. Although, it is prescribed to treat moderate and severe pain. It is highly addictive and patients who are taking it may find themselves in the need of more.

This can lead to an overdose which can further cause liver and kidney failure.

This drug is most common for self-abuse. Thus, many organizations are incorporating hydrocodone drug testing into their regular drug testing process.

These tests could be done before employment or after an accident for a variety of other reasons. Thus, hydrocodone drug testing is becoming more and more common.

Factors That Influence Longevity Of Hydrocodone In Your System?

There are many factors that can affect the rate of clearance of hydrocodone from your body. They can help you in determining how long the drug stays in your system. Some influential factors include the following :

1. Individual Factors

It is important to consider a fact that if two individuals take the same dosage of hydrocodone for the same stretch of time, one may eliminate the drug quicker from his/her system than the other. This difference in the rate of clearance can be justified by a variety of individual factors. Some of them can be discussed as follows :

i. Age

It is seen that the internal organs of an elderly person ( aged 65+ ) functions slowly when compared to a younger individual. Also, the internal blood flow in their body parts is reduced. Hence, this makes excretion of hydrocodone from their body a slower process.

Further, an elderly person is often on other medications. They face a variety of other health problems which delays the excretion of hydrocodone. Thus, if you are younger, hydrocodone is likely to get cleared up faster from your system.

ii. Body Height / Weight / Fat

It is necessary to consider a person’s height, weight, and fat when estimating how quickly they are going to eliminate the drug from their system.

If the dosage of the drug is smaller in proportion to your body size, the rate of its clearance from your system will be more.

Thus, A person who is tall or heavy will clear a 5 mg dose of hydrocodone quicker than a short or lightweight individual.


There are some genes which are known to influence your ability to metabolize drugs like hydrocodone.  Genetic variants like CYP2D6 that regulate liver enzymes can dictate whether or not you will metabolize hydrocodone at a quicker rate than average.

Based on genetics, some people are “rapid metabolizers,” while others are “poor metabolizers.”  This can result not only in different effects of the drug, but also in variability of clearance rates.

iv. Food Intake

It is observed that taking hydrocodone with food (especially carbohydrates) can slow down the absorption process. Whereas taking it on an empty stomach results in increased absorption.

Differences in this absorption time influence the rate of clearance from your body. As a result, if you take this drug along with high carbohydrate meal, it will be excreted very slowly out of your system.

v. Liver/Kidney Function

Hydrocodone is basically metabolized by various enzymes present in your liver. Thus, an Impaired functionality of your liver can extend the half-life and result in prolong clearance of this drug.

For example, someone with cirrhosis will take long hours to clear hydrocodone from their system when compared to an individual with a healthy liver. Hence, renal (kidney) impairment will result in delayed drug clearance from your system.

vi. Metabolic Rate

It is seen that basal metabolic rate (BMR) of your body has a potential influence on the metabolism of this drug.

If you have a faster-than-average BMR, you might metabolize and excrete hydrocodone quicker than someone with a slower-than-average BMR. Although, you can speed up your BMR anytime you want.

BMR is largely determined by genetics – However, factors such as diet, exercise, drugs, and supplements can also influence it.

vii. Urinary pH

It is a complete unknown fact whether or not urinary pH has a significant impact on the clearance of hydrocodone from your system. However, it may play a key role.

It is seen that if you have more acidic urine, you might clear hydrocodone more efficiently than the case where you have highly alkaline urine.

It is because alkaline level of urine is known to promote re-absorption of drugs prior to their elimination, which results in a slower clearance process.

2. Taking Other Drugs

There are some drugs which are classified as “inhibitors” of CYP2D6. These drugs are known to alter the clearance rate of hydrocodone from your body. Since hydrocodone is metabolized by CYP2D6 isoenzyme, drugs that affect this enzyme reduce or extend its half-life.

As a result, They impair your body’s ability to clear hydrocodone and increase its longevity in your system.

Examples of such inhibitors include: SSRIs (Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, etc.), Methadone, Amiodarone, Codeine, Deiavirdine, Perphenazine, Serindole, Yohimbine, and more.

It is advised to Talk to your doctor if you suspect that you are taking a CYP2D6 inhibitor.

Discuss how it will affect you and how quickly you will be able to metabolize it. Remember, certain CYP2D6 inhibitors slow down your metabolism to a far greater extent than other medications.

Why Is It Important To Know How Long Hydrocodone Remains In The Body?

It is very important to know how long hydrocodone remains in your system. Since It is an opiate analgesic, It works by changing the way your brain and nervous system respond to pain.

Hydrocodone is prescribed only to treat severe pain and for 24 hour medication.

If more of Hydrocodone is taken before the last dose is out of the system, an overdose could occur. This will result in some serious repercussions and symptoms in your body.That is why it is important to know how long this drug can sustain in your system.

Here are some symptoms of a Hydrocodone overdose:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Narrowed or widened pupils
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Coma
  • Death

How Does Hydrocodone Get Detected In Drug Tests?


Here are a few types of drug tests available for hydrocodone and their detection times

1. Blood Drug Test

If more than 24 hours have passed since the last dosage was taken, there are no chances that a blood test will detect the presence of hydrocodone in your body. It is mainly because this drug has a short half-life.

In general, this test is used for medical emergencies or impaired driving situations. In such cases, authorities and doctors believe that a person is under the influence of drugs which is mainly hydrocodone.

2. Urine Drug Test

In about 8 hours, hydrocodone reaches its maximum concentration in your urine. After this, the drug level begins to decrease significantly.

In such case, detection of hydrocodone in your urine depends on the quantity that you take. In general, it is detectable for about 6 to 24 hours after ingestion.

3. Hair Drug Test

This is probably the only test that will clearly detect the presence of hydrocodone in your system. It is able to detect drug abuse, even if you have stopped taking this drug a few weeks before taking the test.

Neither a blood test or a urine test is able to offer this precise result. Approximately, this test can detect hydrocodone presence for up to 3 months after the last dose was taken.

Keep in mind that just like any other opiate medication, hydrocodone is also highly addictive.

If you manage to prevent addiction, it allows your body to quickly develop a high tolerance to its effects, thus making you take increasingly higher dosages.

Thus, Try to take hydrocodone-only based on a prescription and only for medical reasons, so that you don’t develop a psychological and physical addiction towards this drug.

How To Get Hydrocodone Out Of Your System?

You can clear hydrocodone from your system. Although, the speed at which it will get out of your system will depend completely on the amount of hydrocodone you have consumed. It is a complete game of your metabolism.

In general, it takes 7 days to fully clear your system from hydrocodone. However, if you have any tests coming up in 24 hours, it is practically not possible to get it out of your system so fast.

You can just try to accelerate the process by drinking additional water. Do not drink it in a short span, but distribute it evenly throughout your whole day. It will help in flushing out all the toxins from your body.

You can also drink cranberry juice along with it. When combined together, they will get hydrocodone flushed out of your system in a time span of 3 days to 3 weeks.