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How Long Does Vicodin Stay in One’s System?

How long does Vicodin stay in one's urine, blood, hair

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How Long Does Vicodin Stay in One’s System?

Depending on the sample tested, Vicodin may stay in one’s system for twenty-four hours to ninety days. The individual results may vary. Nonetheless, the duration of detectable Vicodin in various body fluids is:

  • Saliva: Twelve to thirty-six hours after the last use.
  • Hair: Up to ninety days.
  • Urine: Up to three days.
  • Blood: Less than twenty-four hours.

How long does Vicodin stay in the system? The question is one of the most common queries among the users of the drug. It may be that a woman is planning for a pregnancy and would like to protect the future baby from its harmful effects. Alternately, one may want to know how well the pain medication is working.
In any case, patients should first understand that finding the answer may take time. In fact, many factors determine how long a drug stays in the body fluids or organs. But this does not take away the fact that certain standards help the clinicians interpret the test results.

A Quick Overview of Vicodin

Vicodin is a pain medication that contains an opioid Hydrocodone and a NSAID Acetaminophen. Doctors prescribe it to treat moderate to severe pain. Hydrocodone acts on the brain and alters the pain sensations, while Acetaminophen reduces pain by blocking the actions of inflammatory chemicals. Being an opioid, Hydrocodone is very addictive. The risk significantly elevates if one abuses it.

Drug tests focus on the detection of Hydrocodone as it’s the addictive chemical in Vicodin.
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How is Vicodin Metabolized?

Like most drugs, Vicodin is metabolized by the liver enzymes. After a series of complex biochemical reactions, Vicodin forms the major metabolites Hydromorphone, Norhydrocodone, and Dihydrocodeine, (which is a minor metabolite). In fact, both Hydrocodone and Hydromorphone account for the drug’s pain-alleviating effects. Also, the drug tests can detect the levels of both primary chemicals in the sample.
vicodin pills on the tableFor this reason, one may test positive even when taken a drug that flushes out of the body rapidly. If the metabolites take a longer time to eliminate from the body fluids, there is a chance of testing positive.
Metabolism or biotransformation is a natural process in which a drug is chemically changed into other substances once they reach the bloodstream. Liver enzymes metabolize most drugs taken. Metabolites are the products that form after metabolism. Similarly, the portion of the drug that does not change is called parent drug or just, unchanged drug.

When Does Vicodin Appear in Blood?

If one takes a Vicodin tablet that contains 20 mg Hydrocodone, blood, and saliva tests may detect it within thirty and fifteen minutes respectively.
But, this does not mean a patient will have a positive test result within an hour or two after the last dose. As a matter of fact, there is a difference between drug detection and positive test result. To get a positive drug test, the amount of the drug in the sample must fall within a standard value or range. Officials and health professionals call it “cut-off limit.”
Likewise, “window of detection” is the period of which the sample contains enough drug that may fall within the cut-off limit.
If one gets a positive test result, there is a need to take a confirmatory test, while a negative result requires no further investigations.

How Long Does Vicodin Stay in Urine, Blood, Hair, And Saliva?

Urine Test for Hydrocodone and Metabolites

The urine test is standard and easy to conduct. Also, the drug in urine tends to remain for a longer duration. When a patient takes a urine test, the detection time for Hydrocodone and its metabolites is two to three days after the last dose.

Blood Test for Hydrocodone and Metabolites

As a matter of fact, a blood test to determine the amount of a drug in the body is used less commonly. It is because drawing the blood is an invasive process. Moreover, the drug flushes out of the blood more rapidly than from the urine. Nonetheless, the hospitals and research facilities may use the blood tests. On a positive note, blood tests are more accurate than the urine test.
When one takes a blood test, the detection time for Hydrocodone and its metabolites is less than 24 hours.

Other Tests for Hydrocodone

The tests that analyze saliva or hair strands are also the options. Nonetheless, they are less common than the urine test.
Notably, Hydrocodone remains in the saliva for twelve to thirty-six hours after a patient took the last dose. Likewise, the hair strands may contain measurable drugs for up to ninety days.

Factors That Influence How Long Vicodin Stays in One’s System

  • Dose: If one takes a higher dose, it tends to stay in the system for a longer duration. Meaning, a high dose extends the detection window.
  • Frequency of Use: When patient uses more frequently, it may accumulate in the body tissues. Thus, it will take a longer time to flush out of the body.
  • Individual Metabolism: The levels of the liver enzymes determine how much of the drug gets metabolized. If a patient has any liver disease, the rate of metabolism slides down by a significant margin. Moreover, every individual has a unique metabolic rate. Meaning, the same amount of Hydrocodone may stay in the system for different times among the people.

Want To Know More?

Talk to the experts to find out more about “How long does Vicodin stay in one’s system?” They are one of the few sources of trustworthy health information. With the correct information, one can expect to benefit better.
Looking for professional medical help for Vicodin or opioid addiction? Get the best rehabs page here.

  1. Sven M Guenther, Travis C Mickle, Andrew C Barrett, Kathryn Ann Roupe, Jing Zhou, Vincent Lam. Relative Bioavailability, Intranasal Abuse Potential, and Safety of Benzhydrocodone/Acetaminophen Compared with Hydrocodone Bitartrate/Acetaminophen in Recreational Drug Abusers. Pain Med. 2018 May; 19(5): 955–966.
  2. Krishna Devarakonda, Kenneth Kostenbader, Michael J. Giuliani, Jim L. Young. Single-dose pharmacokinetics of 2 or 3 tablets of biphasic immediate-release/extended-release hydrocodone bitartrate/acetaminophen (MNK-155) under fed and fasted conditions: two randomized open-label trials. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2015;
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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