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Hydrocodone, an opioid painkiller with a potency similar to morphine, is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. The prescription medication is most frequently combined with the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen, which enhances the effects of hydrocodone. These drugs are sold under the brand names Vicodin, Norco, Lorcet, and Lortab, among others. Pure hydrocodone, sold under the brand name Zohydro ER, comes in an extended-release capsule.

Because of its potency, hydrocodone is habit-forming, which means a person can quickly develop a physical dependence on it, sometimes without realizing it. Misuse and abuse can lead to hydrocodone withdrawal, which occurs when long-term users suddenly stop taking the drug. Withdrawal happens when the body is attempting to function without the drug in its system. Withdrawal can be uncomfortable, and its effects include flu-like symptoms, constipation, and insomnia.

Hydrocodone Abuse, Addiction, and Withdrawal

Hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid in the US, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It also is linked with more drug abuse than any other licit or illicit opioid, the agency says. While the drug is used to relieve pain, recreational users abuse hydrocodone for its relaxing and euphoric effects. Compulsive, long-term misuse of the drug can lead to acetaminophen toxicity and liver damage among other serious medical conditions.


Heroin Signs

For some users, hydrocodone dependence and addiction are hard to track because it’s easier to build up a tolerance for the drug without realizing it. However, once longtime users have stopped using the drug, they may start to notice signs of withdrawal.

The duration and intensity of withdrawal depends on a few factors. Among them are:

  • The person’s age, health, lifestyle habits
  • Hydrocodone tolerance
  • How long hydrocodone has been used
  • Dose taken
  • If other substances were used along with hydrocodone, such as alcohol
  • Addiction

Physical symptoms can occur within six to 10 hours after the last dose and peak within a day and a half to three days. This experience will vary for everyone for a variety of reasons, but below is a general idea of what to expect.

  • Bone pain
  • Chills
  • Cold flashes
  • Constipation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Goose bumps
  • Nausea
  • Involuntary leg movements
  • Lightheadedness
  • Muscle aches, pain
  • Runny nose
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Urinary retention in higher amounts
  • Appetite changes
  • Confusion
  • Delusions
  • Distractions (or problems concentrating)
  • Insomnia (or other sleep disorders)
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Euphoria
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depersonalization (a state in which one’s thoughts and feelings seem unreal or not to belong to oneself)

Symptoms of withdrawal are rarely life-threatening, but they are uncomfortable and enough to make some people consider using again just so they can stop feeling ill. Some withdrawal symptoms can lead to more serious health complications, so if you are experiencing:

  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat (which can lead to heart failure)
  • Painful urination

Or any other serious conditions that are causing great discomfort and pain, call 911 immediately or visit an emergency room or urgent care center immediately for medical attention. These symptoms are red flags that yours is a more urgent situation, and you must seek help now.


Heroin Timeline

The process can take at least a week or longer, though each person’s situation and experience will differ. Duration and intensity depend on several things, including the kind of hydrocodone ingested.

What takes place during withdrawals from hydrocodone addiction or dependence and how long withdrawals take depends on several factors including:

  • The kind of hydrocodone that was taken. Regular hydrocodone, which has a half-life of 3.8 hours to six hours will mean a shorter withdrawal, whereas extended-release hydrocodone means a longer withdrawal.
  • Age, genetics, medical history, daily use habits, and environment, among other things, will all affect how long and how difficult the the process will be.

Here’s a general outline of what a seven-day withdrawal looks like.

In the first 48 hours, early withdrawal symptoms will occur that are much like the flu. These include muscle aches and bone pain, fever, sweating, a runny nose, and teary eyes. Yawning, abdominal cramping, and dilated pupils also happen at this stage. The discomfort experienced within the first few days of going off hydrocodone can make people vulnerable to relapse, so it is advised that professional medical treatment is received while undergoing the process of quitting this drug.

As the person abstains from hydrocodone use, they will continue to feel discomfort that may include a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, goose bumps, shakes, and fatigue. Cravings for the drug are also common at this phase of withdrawal, so medications in detox treatment, such as clonidine and buprenorphine can help minimize symptoms.

Physical symptoms likely have diminished at this point. Users at this stage of withdrawal may become more sensitive to their thoughts and emotions. It is common for users to become anxious or depressed at this stage. They also may still have lingering cravings for hydrocodone. It is recommended that users continue to seek treatment to address their hydrocodone addiction after the withdrawal period has ended.

Withdrawal can be a process that is uncomfortable, painful, and long. Some people will try to tackle ending their dependence or addiction to hydrocodone by themselves, without any professional help, which is not recommended. If you’re seeking help and don’t want to risk falling back into hydrocodone dependence and/or addiction, give us a call at (855) 619-8070, and one of our representatives will connect you with a treatment center that is ready to help you leave hydrocodone dependence behind.


Heroin Treatment

Seeking Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment and Detox, First Look

Knowing what to expect as symptoms occur can prepare the user for what to expect. Withdrawing from hydrocodone use is not an easy process for many people. There will be discomfort, and while most withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, seeing a licensed medical professional to manage them gets many through the process.

Hydrocodone Detox: How It Works

Hydrocodone detox is considered the safest way to manage withdrawal symptoms and remove the substance from the body’s system. The most common method for people going through professionally monitored detox is IV therapy medical detox. People who undergo medical detox are monitored by licensed medical professionals who administer medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms while monitoring clients’ overall health and vital signs.

In some programs, medical professionals slow down the dosage of hydrocodone by using other medications designed to counter the effects of the substance the person is using, all with the needs of the client in mind. The length of detox will depend on a variety of factors, such as medical history, history of addiction, and how long hydrocodone has been used, among others. In many cases, time spent in a facility for detox can last anywhere from three to seven days.

Common Hydrocodone Detox Medications

The detox process aims to make the withdrawal process as easy as possible for the affected person as well as ensure they are coming off the drug safely. Users may be prescribed to take the medications to help ease the severity of the symptoms as the hydrocodone clears the body’s system. Common replacement medications used during this process include:

This opioid medication is given at a medical facility or doctor’s office, or it can be used at home under a doctor’s prescription. It affects the same receptors as heroin and morphine do, but it does not give the same intense high or harmful side effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Clonidine stimulates parts of the brain to lower the heart rate and blood pressure. It reduces anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, runny nose, and cramping, among other withdrawal symptoms. It is available as an oral immediate-release tablet, extended-release tablet, or patch.

Naltrexone works to block the effects of opioid medication. It is used to prevent relapse in people with drug and/or alcohol dependence. It can be taken in pill form or via injection.

Detox therapies may also include support with diet and nutrition, including methods that promote restful sleep, hydration, pain relief, and relaxation, among other things that promote restoration in the body, mind, and spirit.


Heroin FAQ

Vicodin is the brand name for a hydrocodone combination product. . Pure hydrocodone, sold under the brand name Zohydro ER, comes in an extended-release capsule. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the most frequently prescribed combination is hydrocodone and acetaminophen, which is sold under the brand names Vicodin, Norco, Lorcet, and Lortab, among others In 2014, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officially reclassified hydrocodone combination products, also known as HCPs, and moved the products from Schedule III to Schedule II controlled substances. A Schedule II controlled substances, which includes potent drugs like oxycodone and Dilaudid have a high potential for abuse.

Tapering is a method used in medically supervised detox that gradually reduces the dosage of a drug to safely wean the client off the medication as they experience withdrawal symptoms. The client’s physician usually determines the tapering schedule, but tapering too quickly comes with risks, among them uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and relapse. Users are advised to seek medical help this process is well.

At-home treatments are typically not supervised by a medical professional in a licensed facility, which could put you at risk for dangerous withdrawals or relapse. If you are experiencing withdrawal and are going through the symptoms after stopping long-term use of the drug, you should seek treatment from a facility that is equipped to help end hydrocodone use.



At a drug rehab center, you can start your recovery with a healthy support group of trained clinical staff, other like-minded recovering addicts, and addiction counselors that only want you to succeed.


Addiction treatment programs will vary by individual and substance, depending on the severity of their addiction and whether other treatment methods need to be included, such as dual-diagnosis or holistic therapies.


Some medications that may be expected are: clonidine and burenorphine used to mitigate some symptoms like vomiting, anxiety, and muscle pain. At times, naltrexone is also used to help with the symptoms of hydrocodone detox.


Health professionals advise heavy hydrocodone users to avoid suddenly quitting the drug, also known as “going cold turkey.” Going about the withdrawal process in this manner is dangerous. The safest way to detox from the drug is with the help of licensed medical professionals who can guide you or your loved one through the process. The process of tapering off hydrocodone, in which the user is gradually weaned off the substance, is also an option, but should be done with medical supervision.



of the global opioid supply is consumed by Americans.


of teens believe that prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.


of the global hydrocodone supply is consumed by Americans.