Vicodin is a drug that is often prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. This medication is created by combining an opioid pain reliever (hydrocodone) with a non-opioid pain reliever (acetaminophen).  Because of the opioid component of this drug, Vicodin is often abused and there is a high risk that dependency on it will develop in a short time. 

Often, people are prescribed Vicodin for pain relief after oral surgery. Since the pain from oral surgery is usually brief, it’s unlikely that users in these cases will become addicted to the drug. However, it is also commonly prescribed for chronic pain or back pain, and ongoing use of Vicodin for these purposes can be dangerous in the long term.

If you’re someone who is using Vicodin, you may have come here to find the answer to the question, “How long does Vicodin stay in your system?” Whether you are someone who struggles with dependency or addiction to this drug or are someone who is just using it temporarily for pain, this is a good question. Because of the opioid effects of this drug, it is unsafe to operate heavy machinery or drive while under its influence. Furthermore, even after the noticeable effects of Vicodin wear off, you might want to know how long it is still in your body so you can be sure not to mix it with other drugs.

In this informative post, we have the answers to your questions. Read on to learn more about Vicodin.

Effects of Vicodin

Vicodin is ingested by mouth, usually in pill form, but it is available in liquid form as well. Some patients experience nausea when they take Vicodin; this can be helped by taking the medication with food and by lying still for an hour after taking it. Your doctor will tell you that you should take Vicodin as soon as you begin to feel pain for the best results. Patients who wait for the pain to increase before taking the medication may not achieve optimum results.  Most patients take Vicodin for sudden spikes in pain rather than for ongoing pain – people with chronic pain will likely be prescribed some sort of long-acting opioid instead.

Once ingested, Vicodin will provide pain relief for about four hours. This can be just what a patient needs to get back to sleep or to make it through the end of a busy day. 

However, Vicodin also has a number of negative side effects. Some patients report minor problems like constipation, lightheadedness, anxiety, mood swings, dry throat, and problems urinating. Larger and more worrisome side effects may also include agitation, hallucinations, vomiting, loss of appetite, or dizziness.

Whether you’re someone who is taking Vicodin for pain as prescribed by a doctor, or are someone who is taking this drug recreationally, it’s important that you do not take more than the recommended dose. Because of the opioid content of Vicodin, it’s very easy to overdose on it. 

Further, combining Vicodin with other drugs, especially depressants like alcohol, can be extremely dangerous. Vicodin slows heart and breathing rates on its own, so when combined with another depressant, it can keep oxygen from getting to the brain. Lack of oxygen in the brain can lead to coma, brain damage, and death.

Factors Affecting the Duration of Hydrocodone

How long does Vicodin last? Although the average amount of time that someone will feel the effects of Vicodin is about four hours, that length of time can vary based on a number of factors. Drugs affect different people in different ways due to differences in each person’s body. Someone with greater body fat content or body mass may have a different experience than someone who is slim or frail. The age of the person may influence the drug’s effects, also. And, the liver health of the individual may play a part, too.

Besides the above factors, there are external factors that will affect the length of time that Vicodin stays in the system, too. The size of the dose, obviously, will make a difference; so will the presence of other drugs in the user’s system. Also, the amount of time the user has been using Vicodin will play a part as well. As with most drugs, tolerance to Vicodin can develop very quickly.

Metabolism and Elimination of Vicodin

As explained above, a person’s metabolism can have a big effect on how long Vicodin stays in his or her system, so it’s not an exact science. There is no way to accurately predict exactly how long Vicodin will stay in your system or anyone else’s; it varies based on the individual. This is true of all drugs, not just Vicodin and other opioids.  

Vicodin Half-Life

The half-life of Vicodin for the average person, though, has been calculated to be about 3.8 hours. This means that it takes about 3.8 hours for half of an appropriate dose for an average human being to leave that person’s system. It will then take another 3.8 hours for half of what remains to disappear, and so on; it continues to decrease by half every 3.8 hours. It will take many hours – days even – for the drug to completely disappear from a user’s system.

How Long Does Vicodin Stay in Your System?

So, how long does Vicodin stay in your system? As you can see, the answer to this question isn’t an easy one. It depends on the constitution, body, and metabolism of the person, and it depends on how much of the drug is taken. Other factors play a part as well. If you’re wondering “How long does Vicodin stay in your system?” for a drug test, then the answer may be a bit simple. Below, the different types of drug tests are discussed in regard to Vicodin. But again, remember – these are just estimates – the truth depends on all the factors mentioned above.


How long does Vicodin stay in your urine? Most drug tests involve urinalysis. In most cases, a urine test can detect traces of Vicodin in someone’s system for two to four days after Vicodin was consumed. Most over-the-counter drug tests can find Vicodin in urine with accuracy.


Blood tests do not work for Vicodin due to its chemical makeup. 


Hair tests are the most accurate tests for drug testing for substances used in the distant past, but they are very expensive, but they are uncommon. However, these tests can detect Vicodin for as much as ninety days after use.


A saliva test can detect Vicodin for twelve to thirty-six hours after ingestion.

How to Get Vicodin Out of Your System

The only way to successfully and completely get Vicodin out of your system is through waiting. In time, Vicodin will break down and it will eventually disappear from the body.  There is no way to rush or hurry along this process. Only time will do the trick.

If you are prescribed Vicodin, use it wisely. If you are using Vicodin recreationally, stop. This drug is dangerous and addictive. It has provided pain relief for so many people over the past few decades and is very effective in helping people manage their pain. However, it is an opioid and it should therefore be used with great care.

If you or a loved one is dependent on or is addicted to Vicodin, we can help. At Clear Sky Ibogaine, we are here to help you get started on your own path to recovery from any type of addiction.  Our ibogaine detox treatment is innovative and effective, and our staff is standing by to answer any questions you may have about our staff, our facility, or the process.  Please give us a call today.  We can’t wait to hear from you.