How long will Vicodin stay in your system? To answer that question, it's important to look at the components that make up the drug and how the body reacts to them.
What Is Vicodin?
Vicodin is a prescription drug designed to combat moderate to severe pain. The tablet is a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and hydrocodone. It is most often used as a pain reliever after surgery and to treat patients with acute pain, but it is sometimes used to treat a severe cough as well. As a painkiller, Vicodin is also an opiate; this means it is a narcotic and causes loss of feeling and dulling of the senses.
How Long Will Vicodin Stay in Your System?
While there is not a fixed answer for how long Vicodin stays in your system, the chemicals in the tablets generally stay in the system for four hours. However, traces of the drug can remain in your body for an estimated 72 hours. The drug can even remain in some people's systems for five days or longer. Factors such as age, diet, weight and body fat all play a role in how long Vicodin remains in a person's system. Also, keep in mind that even though the effects of Vicodin wear off, the drug might still be detected in your body by using a urine or hair test.
Like any drug, Vicodin has side-effects that should be noted, especially if you are concerned about having this drug in your system. These include:
- Upset stomach
- Altered mental status (e.g., dizziness, light headedness)
- Reduced pulse rate
There are also more serious side-effects, including Vicodin addiction or dependence on the drug. If you experience any of these symptoms or are concerned about side-effects, seek medical attention immediately. Some of the rare side-effects of having this drug in your system include:
- Mental or mood changes, such as confusion or fear
- Slow or shallow breathing
- Sweating or hot flashes
- Difficulty waking up or unusual drowsiness
- Difficulty urinating
- Yellowing of the eyes or skin
- A serious allergic reaction that causes a rash, itching, swelling, dizziness and trouble breathing
Cautions Against Vicodin
Some of the cautions against using Vicodin are that it can be habit forming, cause damage to the liver and even be life-threatening if misused. Vicodin should not be mixed with any other substances, including alcohol. Discuss any additional health concerns you have with your doctor to make sure Vicodin is a viable choice for you.
Vicodin in Your System
If you are concerned with the question of how long will Vicodin stay in your system, keep in mind there is not just one answer. Talk to your doctor if you have additional questions. If you need immediate medical attention due to an overdose or severe side-effects, visit the closest emergency room or contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.