Generally, Vicodin will show in a urine-based drug test for up to four days. It can be detectable in hair follicle samples for up to 90 days.
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin is a prescription pain reliever that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The hydrocodone in Vicodin is an opioid, so Vicodin is considered a narcotic pain reliever. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that serves to increase the effectiveness of the medication.
Vicodin is a Schedule II controlled substance, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Prescription opioid medications like Vicodin are used to treat pain, both in acute situations and for long-term pain management.
Vicodin is a hydrocodone combination of medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It comes in tablet, capsule, syrup, liquid solution, and extended-release forms, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
How Long Do the Effects of Vicodin Last in Your Body?
Vicodin has a half-life of about four hours. This is the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to metabolize out of your body and concentrations of the drug to drop.
Vicodin begins to take effect within 30 minutes, and it is effective at relieving pain from four to six hours. The peak effect of Vicodin occurs between one to two hours after taking it.
The drug may remain detectable in the body for much longer, depending on individual factors and the method of testing.
How Long Can Vicodin be Detected on Drug Tests?
Vicodin can be detected in the bloodstream within an hour after taking the dose. It will be detectable for days to months on various other types of drug tests, such as urine or hair follicle tests.
Hair samples take the longest to show the drug, and they have the most extended detection window. Vicodin will show up in a hair sample for up to three months after it has been taken, but it may be 10 days after the dose before it can be detected. Hair samples are more effective to discover ongoing, long-term use of a substance rather than quickly finding what has recently been consumed.
Saliva testing for Vicodin will show traces of the drug from 12 hours after the dose up to 36 hours later. According to a study published in the journal Clinical Chemistry, saliva testing for opioids is better at indicating recent use rather than ongoing use of opioids, which may be better detected through urine or hair samples.
Urine samples will detect Vicodin from an hour after the dose up to four days later. This variance will depend on how long the person has been using Vicodin and other individual factors.
Factors That Influence Test Results
Drug testing is frequently conducted by employers concerned about workplace safety issues. Some of the factors that can influence how long a drug is detectable in your body include:
Vicodin can be stored in the fat inside your body, which can take longer to metabolize out of your system. Higher levels of body fat in your body composition can mean that the drug will take longer to be metabolized out of your body.
Water dilutes your urine, so the more hydrated you are, the less concentrated the drug will be in your urine output. This means that the more hydrated you are, the harder it will be for the drug to appear on a drug screen. This does not mean that drinking a lot of water before a drug test will ensure a clean screen. Even low levels of the drug may still be detectable, although the concentration will not be as high.
The larger the dose of Vicodin, the longer it will take to metabolize out of your body. The dosage can be the difference between whether the drug is detectable for two days or four days in urine output.
Duration of Use
Prolonged use of Vicodin can cause the drug to be detectable for longer in your system. Each time you take a new dose, the body can build up more of the drug in your urine, blood, and hair. If the previous dose you have taken has not processed out of your body, the concentration of the drug will be higher in your body and will take longer to process out of the body entirely.
Differences in individual metabolism rates can affect the detection of Vicodin in the body. People with a higher metabolism will process the drug out of their system more quickly, whereas those with a slower metabolism could find that the drug remains detectable for longer periods.
Presence of Other Substances
The more substances you have in your body, the harder your body has to work to process and excrete those substances through your natural metabolic process. This process may take longer if you have multiple drugs or other substances that your body is also working to process.
How Long Does it Take to Detox From Vicodin?
Detoxing from Vicodin can take anywhere from one to five days, depending on how much of the drug has been consumed and for how long the person has been using the medication.
Detoxing depends on many factors, such as those listed above. When you take a drug for a prolonged length of time, the substance builds up in your fat cells, so it may take some people longer to get all of the drugs out of their system. A person who has been taking an opioid medication such as Vicodin for several months might have detectable levels in their body for longer than a person who only took the medication once.
Vicodin is an opioid medication, and detoxing from these drugs can be complicated. A person who has only taken Vicodin for a short time may be able to wean off the medication easily within a couple of days by tapering their dose.
However, a person who has been taking opioids for a prolonged amount of time may need a more advanced tapering plan that includes managing withdrawal symptoms as the dose is tapered. The presence of withdrawal symptoms indicates that a person has developed a dependency on the drug, which can happen with prolonged use of opioids.
Withdrawal from opioid medications can occur if you have been regularly consuming prescription pain relievers, even if you have been taking them exactly as prescribed.
If you have been taking Vicodin for a few weeks or longer, you may experience withdrawal. This may include the following symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Abdominal cramping
Fully detoxing from Vicodin could take several days, and the drug may still be detectable in your hair samples for up to 90 days. The length of time it takes for the drug to process and exit the body completely will depend on the individual factors related to your use of the drug and your body’s unique metabolic conditions.
If you have been taking Vicodin for an extended period of time, consider the possible risk factors you have that could contribute to withdrawal symptoms. Seek guidance from your doctor about the best way to taper down your use.
If you have been abusing Vicodin, seek help from an addiction treatment program to safely stop using.