Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Detox Treatment
Hydrocodone is a prescription opioid used to treat symptoms of pain. While this substance is highly effective in relieving pain, many people develop an addiction to it.
Hydrocodone can cause a rush of euphoria, causing individuals to begin abusing the drug to experience a high. As the person continues to use more of the drug than they are supposed to, they begin to develop an addiction. Once they are addicted to the drug, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal when they stop taking it.
If you are addicted to hydrocodone, you should never attempt to detox from it on your own. The symptoms of withdrawal can be uncomfortable and painful, requiring professional medical treatment in the safety of a licensed drug and alcohol detox center.
Symptoms of Hydrocodone Withdrawal
The symptoms of hydrocodone can range from mild to moderate or severe, depending on your personal relationship with the drug. If you abused the substance heavily for a long time, you are more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid drugs like hydrocodone bind to the opioid receptors in your brain, causing a reduction in your breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. When you are dependent on the substance, suddenly removing it from your system can cause your brain and body to work in overdrive to stabilize your vital signs. In other words, your breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature will spike when you suddenly stop using hydrocodone, causing the symptoms of withdrawal to occur.
Symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal include:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Excessive tearing
- Nausea and abdominal cramps
- Trouble sleeping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irregular heart rate
- Difficulties focusing or concentrating
- Anxiety and irritability
- Mood swings
- Depression and thoughts of suicide
- Night sweats
- High blood pressure
- Cravings for hydrocodone
Because of the risks of hydrocodone withdrawal, you should never attempt to detox at home. The safest and most effective way to recover from hydrocodone addiction is to attend a medical detox program where you can receive FDA-approved medications to soothe your symptoms and prevent cravings.
The Hydrocodone Withdrawal Timeline
There are a variety of different hydrocodone formulations, but most of them are immediate-release. The immediate-release forms of this substance will cause effects for 4 to 6 hours, while the extended-release pills can affect you for up to 12 hours. If you are taking immediate-release hydrocodone, your withdrawal symptoms will appear faster.
In general, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms will appear somewhere between 6 to 12 hours after your last dose. Typically, the symptoms of withdrawal will peak in severity at around 72 hours, lasting anywhere from one week to a month. It is important to note that psychological symptoms and drug cravings can last for several months after you complete the detoxification process.
How long you were abusing hydrocodone and how big of a dose you were taking will affect the withdrawal timeline. The longer any drug is taken, the more time your body has to develop a dependency, and the longer it will take you to complete detoxification. Additionally, underlying mental and physical health conditions can lengthen and complicate the withdrawal process.
Overall, most people experience the first symptoms of withdrawal in the 6-12 hours after their last dose, with symptoms peaking at 72 hours and subsiding after a week. However, you could experience symptoms much longer than a week, making it important that you detox in a medical detox center that can assess your condition and make an informed decision on your personal detoxification timeline.
How Can an Opioid Detox Center Treat Hydrocodone Withdrawal?
The safest way to detox from hydrocodone is to get professional help. Opioid detox centers use medications and monitoring to keep you medically stable and comfortable throughout the entire process. In addition to medication, you will have access to psychological support, group counseling, 12-step recovery meetings, and much more.
The medications used to soothe the symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal and prevent cravings from occurring include:
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that prevents hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms from becoming intense by activating opioid receptors. Because the drug only partially binds to your opioid receptors, it does not create the euphoric feeling that other opioid substances cause. Buprenorphine also has a “ceiling effect” which means taking large amounts of the drug will not cause more potent side effects.
Withdrawal medications like Subutex (buprenorphine) cannot get you high, preventing you from abusing the medication during detox. However, they do provide you with much-needed symptom relief.
Buprenorphine and Naloxone
Medications like Suboxone or Zubsolv contain both buprenorphine and naloxone. They may be used during detox as well. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it prevents other opioids from binding to your opioid receptors. When used in combination with buprenorphine, it further prevents your ability to abuse the medication while still providing you with withdrawal symptom relief.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid drug that is often used as a tapering medication during the detox process. Methadone is only provided in federally regulated clinics, where you are given one dose at a time by your doctor. This prevents you from being able to abuse the drug.
Methadone can stay in your system for up to 30 hours, keeping withdrawal symptoms and cravings at a minimum. Over time, your doctor will gradually reduce your dose until your withdrawal symptoms are gone and you are ready to stop taking the medication.
Lucemyra is the first non-opioid medication that was approved by the FDA to treat opioid withdrawal. Lucemyra is an alpha 2-adrenergic receptor agonist, which means it reduces the release of norepinephrine. According to the FDA, “The actions of norepinephrine in the autonomic nervous system are believed to play a role in many of the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.”
Lucemyra can lessen the severity of certain withdrawal symptoms and is intended to be used for a maximum of 14 days.
Find Support for Hydrocodone Withdrawal Today
If you or a loved one suffer from a hydrocodone addiction, help is available.
Carolina Center for Recovery is a state-licensed and CARF (commission on accreditation of rehabilitation facilities) accredited substance abuse treatment facility. We are a dual-diagnosis facility with a primary focus on substance abuse. We offer individualized, extended-term treatment in an intimate setting located in Charlotte, NC. We take a holistic approach to treating addiction, offering a variety of treatment modalities centered around identifying and resolving the underlying issues associated with the addiction. Each client enrolled in our program will receive individual attention from a therapist and psychiatrist as well as gain exposure to a multitude of traditional and alternative therapies.
The first step is to call for help and start detox. Begin your recovery journey by speaking with one of our qualified admissions counselors today.
Medically Reviewed: October 21, 2022
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.