Norco can stay in your system for much longer than the time it takes for the effects of a dose to wear off. Even hours or days after the last time you took Norco, traces of the drug can remain in your body. If you take Norco, it’s important to know how long you can expect the drug to be in your body.
Hydrocodone is the drug’s addictive component and changes the way the brain manages pain. The result is a pleasant sensation of tranquility and relaxation. The drug also triggers the brain’s reward system, leading people to keep seeking it out. These effects are largely responsible for the prevalence of hydrocodone addiction in the United States.
Over time, it becomes increasingly challenging for people who take Norco to control how and when they use it. This behavior can result in addiction.
Norco takes around 10 to 30 minutes to kick in. Its peak effects take around 30 minutes to an hour to set in. Norco doesn’t start working immediately because the drug is taken by mouth and needs to dissolve in your GI tract before it gets into your bloodstream.
A dose of Norco usually lasts between 4–6 hours. However, certain factors can influence whether it lasts a longer or shorter amount of time.
If a person has liver damage, the acetaminophen component of Norco may last longer than expected. The liver breaks down Norco using an enzyme called CYP3A4. Some medications interfere with CYP3A4, meaning that Norco can last in your system for a longer or shorter time than expected. Your pharmacist will be able to tell you if you take any medications that interact with Norco, but some examples include:
Medications that can make Norco wear off faster than expected
Medications that can make Norco last longer than expected
The half-life of Norco is about four hours. A half-life is how long it takes a person’s body to eliminate half the amount of the drug from their bloodstream. Because it takes five half-lives for your body to remove a drug from your system, Norco is usually eliminated from a person’s body within 20 hours of the latest dose. However, the drug can be detectable for much longer when utilizing drug tests.
Traces of the hydrocodone component of Norco can stay in your system for hours or days after the last dose, which far exceeds how long the pain-relieving effects of Norco can last. The length of time that hydrocodone can be detected depends on what is being tested.
Urine screening is commonly used to look for evidence of Norco in a person’s system. Norco and its breakdown products can be detected in urine for up to three days after the last dose.
Norco can be detected in blood for almost nine hours after a dose.
A 1.5-inch hair sample can detect if Norco was used within the past 90 days.
Norco can be detected in saliva up to two days after the last use.
Hydrocodone shows up in breastmilk and can be passed to a breastfeeding baby. For this reason, experts recommend avoiding opioids like hydrocodone during breastfeeding, or limiting hydrocodone intake to a maximum of 30mg total daily. If a baby shows signs of opioid intoxication, you should contact a doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms in a baby include:
Many factors influence how long Norco stays in your system. These include:
within 1–2 days, and improve over the next 3–5 days. Withdrawal symptoms include:
Hydrocodone-acetaminophen products like Norco are the 15th most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, and more than 10 million people a year take them. Further, between 21 and 29% of people on opioids like Norco misuse them. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of signs of Norco misuse:
If you or a loved one struggle with Norco, help is available. A medical detox program can help wean you off Norco while minimizing the risk of withdrawal symptoms, and rehab can help keep you off Norco over the long term.
The Recovery Village Columbus offers inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization rehab programs to help support you in your recovery. Our facility, on 6.5 acres outside Columbus, Ohio, offers a variety of amenities to support your body and mind, including:
If you or someone you know struggles with Norco misuse, call The Recovery Village Columbus today. Equipped with a personalized treatment plan and support in recovery, patients can overcome the challenges of addiction and live a happy, healthy life.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.