Hydrocodone Detection Timeline [INFOGRAPHIC]

This easy-to-read graphic offers data on hydrocodone detection windows for blood, urine, saliva, and hair. Plus, find out what factors influence hydrocodone detection periods. More here.

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WHAT THIS ARTICLE COVERS: This is a visual presentation that shows you detection periods for hydrocodone on blood, saliva, urine, and hair based tests. You’ll learn average lengths of time of hydrocodone stay in your system. Plus, we elaborate the factors that influence metabolism. Explore it!


Hydrocodone Detection Timeline [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Drug Basics

Drug Name: Hydrocodone
Drug Class: Analgesic / Opiate
Street Names: Hydros, Norco

The semi-synthetic, opioid agonist hydrocodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain, but its regular use comes with a pric.. This medication has a huge addictive potential. This is because hydrocodone is a medication that predicatably changes brain activity and is known to cause dependence (or even addiction) within a few weeks of regualr use. It is even classified as Schedule II controlled substance by the DEA. In fact, the National Safety Council claims that opioid medications like hydrocodone can cause dependence on the medication after only 5-7 days of use.

Furthermore, hydrocodone is hugely popular! This 2014 Customer Reports article stated that hydrocodone was one of the most commonly prescribed pain medications across the U.S. The 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment furthe backs up this fact by announcing that over 6.7 billion pills of hydrocodone were distributed in US in 2015.

Also, the DEA has reported:

  • 136 million hydrocodone-containing products were distributed in 2013.
  • 65.5 million hydrocodone-containing products were distributer in the first six months of 2014.
  • 6.2 billion hydrocodone pills were distributed in 2016.

The other side of the coin is that an estimated number of 11.5 million of Americans aged 12 and older misused painkiller medication in 2016, reported SAMHSA. Moreover, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) found out that in 2011, about 82,480 emergency department (ED) visits were connected with nonmedical use of hydrocodone. Additionally, this 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that 6.9 million people reported misuse of hydrocodone in the past year.

Why Drug Test?

A drug’s “detection window”  is the period of time from the last dose of hydrocodone until it’s detected in your system. Most people want to know more about the drug detection window because they’re expecting a drug test in the immediate future. Why do officials typically order a drug test for this medication? The reasons are many:

  • Employers may require drug test for a job position.
  • Athletes are also tested for drug use.
  • If you use hydrocodone under a doctor’s prescription, you may be asked for drug testing as part of treatment.
  • Court orders may require regular or random drug testing for legal reasons.
  • Emergency rooms do drug tests as a matter of protocol in cases of injury or overdose.

If you’d like to learn more about drug testing, download our free guide here.

If you are required to do a drug test, be prepared by understanding the basic detection window for hydrococodne. The specifics follow.

Detection Window

Q: How long does hydrocodone stay in your system?
A: Generally, the half life of hydrocodone is short: about 4 hours or less. That’s why you need to keep dosing over and over.

However, the detection windows for hydrocodone vary. And the detection period of hydrocodone depends upon the drug test that is used.

Urine: Urinalysis can detect hydrocodone for up to 7 days after the last use.
Saliva: These types of tests detect the presence of hydrocodone up to 36 hours after the last intake.
Blood: The detection period for a blood tests is about 12 hours.
Hair: Hydrocodone can be detected up to 90 days in hair follicle drug test.

NOTE HERE: Drug detection times in urine, blood, and saliva are an average and can vary greatly by individual. This information should be used as a general guidance only.

Influence Factors

Many factors can influence the hydrocodone presence in the system. Some of them include:

  • Frequency and dosage.
  • Age.
  • Metabolic rate.
  • Liver and kidney function.
  • Body mass index.
  • Diet and use of fluids.
  • General health.
  • Physical activity.

As a general rule, younger bodies eliminate toxins faster. Also, if you have a slow metabolism, expect that hydrocodone will stay in your system longer. Moreover, any liver or kidney dysfunction can slower the elimination period of the drug.

Your Questions

Did you find this hydrocodone infographic educational and helpful? Feel free to put in on your website or share it with friends in need. The embeded code is right under it.

In case you have any questions, post them in the comments section below. We try to respond personally and promptly to any legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NCBI: Laboratory Testing for Prescription Opioids
NCBI: Opioid Metabolism
MedlinePlus: Hydrocodone
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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