Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms & Duration
Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid that is used to treat pain.1 You may be prescribed hydrocodone as Hysingla (extended-release), Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, or Zohydro (extended-release); some of these medications combine hydrocodone with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.2 If you take hydrocodone consistently for a long time, you can become physically dependent on it and experience symptoms of withdrawal if you stop taking it.3,4 Abuse of prescription opioids like hydrocodone is one of the leading causes of opioid withdrawal in the country.4
This page is designed to help you understand more about hydrocodone withdrawal, including:
- What to expect during hydrocodone comedown and withdrawal.
- How long hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms last.
- How hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are treated.
- If hydrocodone detox can be done safely at home.
- How to detox from hydrocodone using medications.
- Where to find a hydrocodone detox center in Nevada or across the United States.
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Abuse or long-term use of hydrocodone can increase the likelihood of physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms.3,4 When a person who is physically dependent on hydrocodone stops taking it, they will experience acute withdrawal symptoms.3 Symptoms of acute hydrocodone withdrawal appear shortly after stopping use of hydrocodone and include diarrhea, dilated pupils, fever, goosebumps, hot and cold flashes, increased production of tears, increased response to painful stimuli, muscle and bone pain, nausea and vomiting, restlessness, runny nose, sensitivity to light, stomach pain, sweating, trouble sleeping, yawning, and increased blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate.3,4,5,6
After the acute withdrawal period has ended, some people may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or protracted withdrawal.7 This occurs when ongoing symptoms are felt at a lower intensity but for longer periods of time.3,7Post-acute withdrawal for hydrocodone may include symptoms of anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, drug cravings, exhaustion, impaired memory, irritability, poor impulse control, and trouble with paying attention to a task.3,7 These symptoms may linger for weeks or months, and can fluctuate in intensity.3,7 Depression can potentially increase suicide risk, and people who experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms may be more likely to relapse in efforts to relieve these distressing symptoms or because of poor impulse control.7
Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timetable
Acute hydrocodone withdrawal follows a predictable pattern.3 However, the severity of hydrocodone dependence and the associated experience of withdrawal can be influenced by various factors.3,5 These can include how long you have been taking hydrocodone for, how much you take, how many times you take it daily, if you abuse any other substances, and if you have any co-occurring physical illness or mental health disorders, as well as your individual makeup.5
Withdrawal symptoms appear between 6 hours to 1 day after the last use of hydrocodone.3,6 The earliest symptoms that are experienced may not be directly observable, and include feeling anxious, irritable, or restless, along with having an achy sensation in the legs and back, and becoming more sensitive to painful stimuli.3 More withdrawal symptoms occur, gradually increasing in intensity over the next few days until they reach a peak between days 1 and 3, slowly resolving after that.3,6,7 Acute hydrocodone withdrawal typically lasts between 4 and 10 days.3,6,7
The length of hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms may be extended if longer-acting opioids, such as extended-release hydrocodone formulations, are used.3 Withdrawal symptoms can take between 12 hours and 4 days to begin, and last between 10 and 20 days.3,6,7
Is It Safe to Detox at Home?
Before deciding to quit using hydrocodone on your own, it is always a good idea to discuss this with your doctor or another medical professional. A healthcare professional will ask you about your hydrocodone use patterns, any other substances you may be using, your physical and mental health, your detox and treatment history, and any potential risks associated with hydrocodone withdrawal. This information will be used to help determine the appropriate level of detox and/or rehab care that you will need to keep you safe and comfortable while meeting all of your recovery needs. The goal is always to suggest the least restrictive treatment setting that will be able to address your hydrocodone recovery needs.5
When thinking about whether you want to detox at home, it is important to be aware of the dangers associated with hydrocodone detox. Speaking with a medical professional who is knowledgeable about substance use or hydrocodone withdrawal can help you understand the risks involved as well as your available options.
Symptoms of sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea all contribute to dehydration, while nausea can make it difficult to rehydrate.5,8 If a person becomes significantly dehydrated, this can lead to imbalances in electrolyte levels, which can cause issues with the heart working properly and ultimately lead to heart failure if not treated in a timely manner.8 If you have heart issues, especially if they weren’t previously diagnosed, this can put you at greater risk for complications from hydrocodone withdrawal due to dehydration (electrolyte imbalance) or added stress from raised blood pressure and heart rate associated with normal withdrawal symptoms.5,8 Vomiting could also put you at risk for choking or infection if it is inhaled into the lungs.
Hydrocodone is a pain-relieving drug.1 If you have been taking hydrocodone to manage physical pain of some kind, it is likely to recur and feel more severe because your pain receptors are more sensitive during withdrawal.3,5 Additionally, if you have issues with anxiety, this may worsen during the withdrawal process.5 Cravings, pain, and other withdrawal symptoms can make relapse more likely to occur at home since it will make these uncomfortable or painful symptoms disappear quickly, while depressed mood can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or attempts.3,5
Hydrocodone Detox Process
The first step in detox is drug testing and a thorough assessment where staff will gather information about your substance use history, current patterns of substance use, co-occurring medical and psychiatric health conditions, family history of substance use, prior treatment episodes or attempts at sobriety, whether you take any medications or supplements, housing situation, employment status, and whether you have any relationship or legal problems.5 Staff will use this information to collaboratively work with you and create a treatment plan.5
Medication-assisted treatment is standard in most treatment facilities, as it can ease withdrawal symptoms and help keep people engaged in treatment.4,6,9 In some cases, medication-assisted treatment can eliminate withdrawal symptoms during treatment.10 Medications are provided at doses that eliminate or effectively manage withdrawal symptoms, and are then tapered gradually over the course of detox.4,5 During treatment, staff may frequently assess your status to see how well the medication is controlling withdrawal symptoms and determine when it can be decreased.5 Some medications are only used for a short time, while others may take longer to taper from or can be used as a long-term maintenance medication.4 ,5,9
Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication that is used to manage symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal or can continue to be used as a maintenance medication.4,6,9 It has the potential to prevent symptoms of withdrawal while also helping to manage cravings and blocking the effects of hydrocodone in the event that any is taken.6,9,10 If methadone doesn’t manage all of the symptoms effectively, additional medications can be used as needed, such as non-addictive sleep aids for insomnia, over-the-counter analgesics for headaches, muscle or bone pain, over-the-counter medications for gastrointestinal complaints, or prescription medications to manage nausea and vomiting.4,5,6
Buprenorphine is another medication that can reduce or eliminate symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal and manage cravings, but when it is combined with naloxone (Suboxone) it must be taken after you are already in withdrawal or it can cause withdrawal symptoms to begin.4,5,6,9,10 Buprenorphine has a greater safety profile than methadone since it is associated with a lower risk of overdose and side effects, is more accessible than methadone, and can also be used as a maintenance medication.5,9,10
Lofexidine is the newest medication that has been approved to treat withdrawal from opioids for short periods of time, and it isn’t an opioid medication like the others.4,11 Studies show that this medication reduces symptoms better than a placebo.11 However, this medication may need to be combined with other medications to effectively manage symptoms, and the cost of a course of treatment may be prohibitively high.11
For best results, substance use treatment should last for at least 3 months.9 Detox generally only lasts for about a week, depending on how long withdrawal symptoms last and your insurance coverage, but should be followed up by additional treatment to address the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to and maintain substance use.9 While detox is a good start toward recovery, it generally doesn’t create the changes that are needed to sustain long-term recovery.9
Finding a Hydrocodone Detox Center
American Addiction Centers is one of the country’s foremost providers of addiction treatment for hydrocodone and other substances.12 We have facilities in Las Vegas, Nevada and throughout the country, so it is possible to access treatment wherever you are.12,13 Our compassionate staff will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to meet your unique needs.12,13 Each of our facilities offers a full range of care starting with detox using medication-assisted treatment to ease you through withdrawal symptoms.14 To learn more about how we can help you through hydrocodone withdrawal, reach out to our confidential, free helpline anytime, day or night, at .
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