Most of us are familiar with the renowned pain killer – Vicodin, which helps us to get rid of moderate to severe pain. It is an over-the-counter medication that is meant for the people who have undergone surgery or suffering from severe back pain. Once, there was no prescription required for this medication and was readily available to anyone leading to its misuse. It was highly trafficked in black markets for its pleasant and relaxing effects. Due to its opioid properties, people were getting addicted to this medicine, and it was widely abused across the globe.
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With the chemical composition of Hydrocodone and acetaminophen, Vicodin blocks the pain signals to the brain. It is a widely prescribed medication in the US to relieve the pain of conditions such as cancer and arthritis. Doctors also rely on Hydrocodone for treating the persistent cough.
Lorcet, Norco, and Lortab are some of the substitutes for Vicodin, which contain the same chemical composition. Hydrocodone, as a chemical, is known to leave its traces in the body for a longer time. Even the small doses of Hydrocodone can be detected in the saliva, urine, blood, and hair of the person taking it.
In 2014, most of the hydrocodone based medicines were labeled as Schedule II drugs due to their high potential overuse and psychological dependence.
How long does Vicodin stay in your system?
While the opioid effects of Vicodin last for 4 hours, the traces can be found for many days in the body and many months in hair. There are several factors which affect the duration of flushing out the Vicodin from the body, such as:
- Amount of the last dose taken
As the amount of dosage varies from person to person depending on the weight, height, and body fat, the traces also differs accordingly. Higher the dosage, the greater the duration for the traces of Hydrocodone to be found in the body.
- How long the Vicodin is used
If you have taken the hydrocodone for months or years, your body will take more time to flush it out completely as compared to the person who has taken it for just a few days.
Hydrocodone quickly processes in the body of the young people as compared to the older ones. Young people have healthier and stronger organs, and hence, it helps to process the medication faster.
- Body fat content
- Body mass
- Liver Health
- Presence of other drugs in the system
The half dose of hydrocodone takes 3.8 hours to be flushed out from the body. It can be detected in Saliva for 12-36 hours from the last dose taken. It can be detected in a urine test for 2-4 days, and hence urine tests proved to be more useful to figure out the traces of Hydrocodone. The traces in the blood are highest within 1.3 hours of consumption and remain for 24 hours. Hence, the blood test does not work for it. However, for a heavy dosage of hydrocodone, the given time limit extends.
All opioids, including hydrocodone, can be detected in hair up to 90 days from the last dose consumption. This test is usually uncommon and undertaken only in extreme cases.
The detrimental and dangerous effect of Vicodin could be accessed from the fact that it is very addictive. The high amount of opioids combined with acetaminophen are very strong on the liver and lead to issues like inflammation, damage of the liver, and scarring. The excessive use of Vicodin can lead to life-threatening conditions.
The prolonged use of hydrocodone slows down the respiratory and digestive system leading to chronic constipation as well as damaging the intestine. It makes people prone to many lungs and respiratory infections.
What are the common side-effects of hydrocodone?
Some of the common side-effects of hydrocodone are as follows:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Dry mouth
There are some other side-effects which are less common but still noticed in the persons taking hydrocodone as follows:
- Swelling in feet and hands
- Loss of appetite
- Missed periods
- Cold symptoms like cough and sneezing
- The feeling of fatigue or drowsiness
- Back pain or muscle pain
- Loss of interest in sex
- Burning sensation or pain during urination
What is narcotic bowel syndrome?
The misuse of opioids leads to narcotic bowel syndrome, where the bowel function slows down with the excessive intake of opioids such as hydrocodone. Some of the symptoms of narcotic bowel syndrome are as follows:
- Abdominal distention
If a person takes hydrocodone via the nose, the person can encounter frequent sinus infection, nosebleeds, and congestion. The person can also lose the ability to smell. Long term use of hydrocodone leads to liver or kidney damage.
Various factors affect the presence of hydrocodone in the body of an individual. The prolonged intake of medication takes more time to remove the traces of hydrocodone from the body. While the traces remain for few days in blood, urine, or saliva, it lasts for a month in the hair. There are various risks associated with the intake of medication and hence must be strictly taken as prescribed by the medical practitioner.
If you are experiencing any of the mentioned side effects, you should contact your healthcare professional immediately.
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