It can take a few days for hydrocodone to be eliminated from your body, depending on the dose taken. Hydrocodone has a half life of 3-4 hours, which means that this is the time taken to eliminate half of the drug from your body. It falls in the category of synthetic opiates and often a choice of painkiller after surgery. It can be detected in urine by immunoassays. If urine is tested only for heroine and its metabolites, hydrocodone does not show up in the tests. There are special tests to detect hydrocodone and its metabolic product, hydromorphone.
Hydrocodone is an analgesic and a cough suppressant, similar to codeine. It works by blocking the receptors for pain in the body. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain. The normal does for adults is 2.5 to 10 mg. Taking this drug with certain other drugs like acetaminophen, without medical prescription can damage your liver function. Use of alcohol should be avoided with this drug as it causes more sedation and confusion. Thus, this drug should be prescribed with caution.
The side effects for hydrocodone include dizziness, sedation, drowsiness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting and even constipation. It can also adversely ones ability to drive. Though, sometimes it is necessary to prescribe narcotic drugs like this to alleviate pain, it might become a habit, if used for long. Thus, avoid taking this drug without prescription ad once on it ask your doctor before discontinuing use as that might have withdrawal symptoms.
Overdose of this drug, especially in combination with acetaminophen can become fatal. Symptoms include extreme drowsiness, confusion, sweating, shallow breathing along with lower heart rate, yellow urine, muscle weakness, fainting. Medical help should be sought immediately if this happens.
Hydrocodone addiction is rampant as its effect is the similar to drugs like heroin or morphine. The drugs available in the market containing hydrocodone include Vicodin and Lortab. Though the intended use of these drugs is only to eliminate pain, it is a source of abuse by many people who use forged prescriptions, theft and other ways to get hold of the drug for continual use. Doctors believe that dependence on this drug and thus addiction can develop after a couple of weeks of taking this drug in high doses.
Withdrawal symptoms can occur after discontinuation of hydrocodone. These include diarrhea, muscle aches, insomnia and even depression. The patient might have to reply on other drugs to alleviate these symptoms. It often helps to eat right, exercise and keep your distracted and occupied during this time.