How Long Does Norco Stay in Your System? – Norco is a prescription painkiller that can be detected in a person’s urine for up to four days and in the blood for about 24 hours after the last dose is ingested.
Norco Facts and Regulations
Norco includes a combination of the opioid hydrocodone and over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol). Hydrocodone is derived from codeine, an opium alkaloid. It is indicated for the short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain, and when used as directed, the pain-relieving effects of hydrocodone begin to take effect within one hour and last between 4-8 hours.
The acetaminophen present in Norco also provides analgesic effects, which onset within 30 minutes following oral consumption and lasts for up to six hours.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tightly regulates Norco’s distribution, as it has been classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule II substance. This designation indicates that Norco does have a legitimate medical purpose, but also the potential for abuse. Short-acting opioids, such as Norco, also have a high potential for addiction and overdose when misused or used in conjunction with other drugs or alcohol. Norco comes in three tablet formulas (5mg, 7.5mg, and 10mg) that each also contains 325mg of acetaminophen.
Common side effects of Norco include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
Rarer side effects include anxiety, confusion, mood swings, and constipation.
Other Drugs Abused With Norco
When Norco is abused for non-medical purposes, it is commonly combined with other opioids, benzodiazepines, sedatives/hypnotics, marijuana, and alcohol. When used in combination with these substances, the risk of life-threatening complications, such as profound respiratory depression, increases significantly.
Hydrocodone and acetaminophen can also be found in generic form. Other commonly prescribed medications that contain hydrocodone include Lorcet, Lortab, Vicoprofen, and Vicodin.
How Norco Affects the Body
The hydrocodone in Norco achieves its analgesic effects by binding to specific opioid receptors in the body that mitigate central nervous system (CNS) activity. By activating these receptors, hydrocodone can alter the patient’s perception of pain.
Hydrocodone has an average half-life of under 4 hours, and its effect can last up to eight hours. The half-life of acetaminophen, when consumed orally, is 1.25-3 hours and reaches peak concentrations within 10-60 minutes.
Factors That Affect How Long Norco Stays in the System
Several factors affect the length of time that Norco remains in a person’s system. Patients with impaired liver functioning may experience longer elimination times and higher peak concentrations. Age is another key factor, because as a person gets older, metabolism slows, which results in less efficient processing of drugs like Norco.
The average dose and frequency of use also have a notable effect on how long Norco remains in the system. The higher the amount consumed and the more frequently it is used, the longer it takes the body to clear the drug. The patient’s height/weight ratio, body fat percentage, and individual biology are also factors that can affect how long Norco stays in a person’s system.
How Long Does Norco Stay in Urine, Blood, and Hair?
Hydrocodone is commonly screened for in the blood and urine for evidence of use. Norco can be identified in the urine for up to four days following oral consumption and can be present at testable levels in the blood for 24 hours. Hair tests can detect the presence of Norco for up to 90 days after the last dose.
Many opioid tests only check for the presence of opioids in general and their metabolites. Hydrocodone is a bit different in that it can be specifically identified using chromatographic techniques. Blood and plasma levels range from 5-30 ug/L when Norco is used therapeutically and as directed. When misused or abused for recreational purposes, however, blood and plasma concentration can range from 100-1,600 ug/L in cases of profound dependency or overdose.
Treatment for Hydrocodone Addiction
Addiction to hydrocodone can be a devastating condition that negatively affects all aspects of a person’s health and mental well-being. Fortunately, addiction can be treated effectively using an integrated, evidence-based approach that includes behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, substance abuse education, relapse prevention, and group support.
Just Believe Recovery employs addiction specialists who provide clients with the education, tools, and support they need to succeed at recovery and experience long-lasting sobriety. We are committed to ensuring that each client develops the skills they need to manage triggers effectively, resist cravings, and prevent relapse for the rest of their lives.
You can reclaim the healthy, satisfying life you once had—the one that you deserve—and we can help! If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help you on your recovery journey, one step at a time!