Hydrocodone, also known as Vicodin and Norco, is a prescription painkiller that can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal with chronic use.
Hydrocodone detox may be recommended for people who:
- have been taking hydrocodone regularly for at least several weeks
- have been misusing hydrocodone alone or with other drugs
- feel sick if they miss a dose or go too long without another dose
- are unable to cut down on or reduce their drug use
The safest way to detox from hydrocodone is to find a detox program through a detox facility or drug rehab center.
What Is Hydrocodone Detox?
Hydrocodone detoxification is a type of acute treatment program that can help people get off hydrocodone after developing physical dependence.
Detoxification is the process of removing toxins from the body. With drug abuse or addiction, this includes the removal of addictive substances like hydrocodone.
Detoxing from drugs like hydrocodone may result in symptoms of withdrawal. This is the body’s reaction to the lack of hydrocodone in your system.
How Hydrocodone Detox Works
If you seek help for hydrocodone detox, the first step in this process will involve participating in an initial intake assessment performed by a medical professional.
This initial assessment can help medical professionals come up with a suitable detox and withdrawal plan, based on your physical and mental health needs.
Examples of what they may ask:
- your age
- how long you’ve been taking hydrocodone
- how often you take hydrocodone
- the dose of hydrocodone you take
- your alcohol use
- your medical history
- history of substance use
- history of mental illness
- whether you have detoxed before
During detox, medical staff may provide medicine, fluids, and nutritional support as you undergo acute withdrawal.
After detox, medical staff may offer a referral for further treatment if they determine that you could benefit from additional substance abuse treatment.
Side Effects Of Hydrocodone Detox
Hydrocodone detox can be an uncomfortable process. This can cause physical, mental, and psychological symptoms of withdrawal, or side effects of detox.
Common early withdrawal symptoms include:
- runny nose
- teary eyes
- excessive yawning
- muscle aches
- insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
Common late withdrawal symptoms include:
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach cramping
- drug cravings
- dilated pupils
- hot and cold flashes
- increased blood pressure
- changes in heart rate
Medical treatment for symptoms may be required to help prevent dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other complications associated with opiate withdrawal.
How Long Does Hydrocodone Detox Last?
Acute detox typically lasts four to 10 days at most. Hydrocodone is a short-acting drug, meaning it doesn’t stay in the body for as long as long-acting opiates like methadone.
Getting help through a detox program may help shorten the process. Trying to detox without medical support can cause longer and more severe withdrawal.
Is Hydrocodone Detox Dangerous?
Opioid detox is often described as an experience similar to having the flu.
It can make you feel physically sick and be difficult to deal with emotionally and psychologically due to feelings of anxiety, depression, and cravings.
In some cases, it can be dangerous. Intense bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating may cause severe dehydration and other complications if not properly treated.
Hydrocodone Detox And Withdrawal Timeline
Hydrocodone withdrawal may begin to set in within eight to 24 hours after taking your last dose.
Most symptoms last four to seven days, while some psychological symptoms may linger for longer.
Day 1: Within the first 24 hours, individuals typically begin experiencing mild physical discomfort. You may feel anxious and have trouble sleeping.
Days 2-4: Withdrawal symptoms may grow in their intensity over the next few days, peaking around day three or four. This is when you’ll feel the most physically sick.
Days 5-7: Physical symptoms should begin to decline within the first week of quitting hydrocodone. You may continue to feel anxious, depressed, experience cravings, or have trouble sleeping.
Risks Of Hydrocodone Detox
Detoxing from hydrocodone doesn’t come without its risks, particularly if you have a history of misusing hydrocodone or try to detox at home without medical treatment.
Primary risks include:
- Relapse: Relapse can occur if a person tries to detox alone and is unable to manage withdrawal, or experiences significant discomfort during detox.
- Dehydration: Severe dehydration can develop as a result of sweating, excessive vomiting, and diarrhea without adequately replenishing fluids and nutrients.
- Overdose: Detox reduces a person’s tolerance for opioids. Accidental overdose can occur after detox if a person tries to take the same amount of opioids as before.
Hydrocodone Detox Programs
Beginning a formal detox program through an addiction treatment center or detox facility can help prevent risks associated with Vicodin/Norco detox.
Medical Detox For Hydrocodone Addiction
Medical detox is a short-term detox program that involves staying in a detox facility overnight for the duration of acute withdrawal.
What this can offer:
- safe and secure place to detox
- 24-hour supervision and medical monitoring
- treatment for hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms
- referral for drug rehab after detox
Medical detox, also known as inpatient or medically supervised detox, is the safest way to detox from addictive opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone (OxyContin).
Outpatient Detox For Hydrocodone Addiction
Outpatient detox is another treatment option. This does not involve staying in a detox facility overnight. Thus, it can require a strong support system at home for this to work.
Outpatient detox may be most suitable for people who:
- do not have opioid use disorder
- are mildly dependent on hydrocodone
- do not have a history of hydrocodone addiction
- have a strong support system at home
- are fully committed to getting off hydrocodone
Outpatient detox may offer counseling, regular check-ins with a doctor, and referrals for additional treatment through an addiction treatment center or another treatment provider.
Hydrocodone Detox FAQs
Find answers to common questions about hydrocodone, hydrocodone detoxification, and addiction treatment options.
❓ What Type Of Drug Is Hydrocodone?
✔️ Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid. It is prescribed for moderate to severe pain.
It binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, which help regulate your perception of pain, reward, and are associated with addictive behaviors.
❓ Is Norco The Same As Vicodin?
✔️ Norco and Vicodin both contain the opioid pain reliever hydrocodone and the non-opioid pain reliever acetaminophen.
Although both are similar, Norco contains slightly more acetaminophen than Vicodin. Both can be misused and become addictive.
❓ Can You Stop Hydrocodone Cold Turkey?
✔️ Stopping hydrocodone cold-turkey, or all at once, without medical support isn’t advised if you have an opioid use disorder or have been taking hydrocodone regularly for a long time.
❓ How Long Will Hydrocodone Stay In Your System?
✔️ Hydrocodone stays in the urine for about one to three days. It has a half-life of about 3.8 hours, and it can take several half-lives for a drug to fully leave your system.
❓ What Is The Average Cost Of Hydrocodone Detox?
✔️ Opioid detox programs can range from $0 to $10,000 in cost, depending on the type of detox program and your insurance coverage.
Many health insurance plans cover drug detox programs fully or in part. Rapid detox, a controversial type of detox program, typically has the steepest price tag, costing up to $10,000.
❓ What Medications Are Used For Hydrocodone Detox?
✔️ Opioid detox programs may offer medicine to help relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms, including physical symptoms such as nausea, sweating, pain, and drug cravings.
Common medications used for hydrocodone detox include:
- for drug cravings: methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone)
- for physical symptoms: clonidine, lofexidine (Lucemyra)
- for relapse prevention: naltrexone (after you have fully detoxed)
Find Hydrocodone Detox And Addiction Treatment Today
Millions of people misuse prescription opioids like hydrocodone each year. If this describes you or a loved one, we may be able to help. You’re not alone.
Call our free helpline to learn more about hydrocodone detox and how to find addiction treatment options for hydrocodone abuse today.
Published on August 17, 2021
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Prescription Opioids DrugFacts
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Opiate and opioid withdrawal
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: NCBI Bookshelf — Withdrawal Management - Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings