How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your System, Urine, Blood & Hair

Determining how long does Hydrocodone stays in your system, urine, blood and hair is not easy to calculate. Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco) is a prescription drug containing acetaminophen and hydrocodone, an opioid analgesic synthesized from codeine. Physicians prescribe hydrocodone for relieving severe pain and sometimes to suppress chronic cough. People taking hydrocodone for more than several weeks are at risk for abusing this drug and developing an addiction due to its opioid-like effects on the brain.

Snorting Hydrocodone

Crushing hydrocodone pills and snorting them allows the drug to pass more quickly out of your system. Opioid effects of hydrocodone occur almost immediately after snorting the drug since it does not need to be metabolized by the liver.

  • Depending on the dosage taken, hydrocodone and its metabolites are eliminated from the body within 24 hours.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in Your Urine

Research regarding the length of time hydrocodone remains in the body found that most people can expect to retain residual hydrocodone in their blood, urine and soft tissues for about four hours.

Because the liver primarily metabolizes hydrocodone, cirrhosis of the liver or other liver diseases can increase half-life time and delay elimination of hydrocodone by the body. Kidney disease may also interfere with drug clearance. Hydrocodone users with highly acidic urine may pass a drug test before those with more alkaline urine. By promoting drug reabsorption before elimination is complete, urine alkalinity can slow clearance of hydrocodone from urine, blood, hair and tissues.

Hydrocodone’s Half-life

  • This “half-life” measurement means that it takes the body approximately four hours to eliminate half of a normal dose of hydrocodone
  • People who are height-weight proportionate could expect the elimination of hydrocodone from their body within 24 hours of taking a normal dose

Metabolite Norhydrocodone

One of several metabolites comprising hydrocodone, norhydrocodone is created in the liver following consumption of hydrocodone and produces slight stimulation of opioid receptors in the brain. Urine testing of hydrocodone users has found that norhydrocodone may be detected for much longer periods than hydrocodone and another metabolite called hydromorphone.

Consequently, hydrocodone abusers tend to accumulate and retain norhydrocodone in their blood and urine. Moreover, those abstaining from hydrocodone use for several days following weeks of abuse may not necessarily pass a drug test.

Hydrocodone In Blood and Urine

When taken according to prescription guidelines, hydrocodone remains detectable in blood and urine for at least 24 hours following the last dose. However, norhydrocodone may be detected in urine for up to 72 hours, depending on dosage amounts and certain factors affecting the user–age, weight, health condition, genetics, metabolic rates, etc.

Hydrocodone in your Saliva and Hair

Like other opioids, hydrocodone can be detected in hair follicles for as long as three months after the last dose. Hydrocodone, as well as most drugs, remain in body hair for longer than 90 days.

  • Saliva may contain norhydrocodone for as long as 40 to 72 hours. Factors affecting saliva testing for drugs include oral pH factors and certain diseases such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders.


Video “How Long Does It Take For A Hydrocodone
To Get Out Of Your System”

Additional information

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