Updated on February 6, 2024
4 min read

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment Options

Vicodin Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone stops using Vicodin abruptly, they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours following the last dose. This is why doctors recommend tapering down your dosage. 

Quitting cold turkey triggers uncomfortable symptoms and increases the risk of relapse. Vicodin withdrawal symptoms are similar to other opiate withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mood swings
  • Chills or goosebumps
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Muscle aches, pains, and cramping
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Hostility
  • Trouble sleeping

Vicodin Withdrawal Timeline

The average time for physical symptoms to end or mostly disappear is 7-10 days after the last drug use. However, some symptoms, especially psychological symptoms, may last weeks or months after you begin Vicodin detox.1

The timeline of Vicodin or any opioid withdrawal will depend on the level of addiction, genetics, and tolerance. It’s recommended that you undergo substance abuse treatment at a qualified treatment facility.

Treatment Options for Vicodin Abuse

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, speak with a medical professional about your treatment options. If you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms, a medical detox can help you manage these symptoms.

Available treatment options for Vicodin abuse include:

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What is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a drug made of a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It’s a pain reliever that depresses the central nervous system.5 

However, Vicodin has a high risk of being misused and abused. Because of this, doctors often prescribe it for severe pain relief or in cases where other pain medications don’t work.6

Is Vicodin Addictive?

The hydrocodone in Vicodin makes it addictive if used for an extended time. If you abuse or use it recreationally, you can develop dependence and addiction.3,4

The risk of dependence is lower if you take Vicodin as instructed. However, you can still develop dependence and addiction.4

It’s possible for someone using Vicodin to treat pain to develop a physical dependence on the drug, but this doesn’t always indicate an addiction. Withdrawal symptoms are possible, so doctors sometimes gradually reduce the dosage.

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Symptoms of Vicodin Abuse and Addiction

Vicodin relaxes users and triggers a euphoric high in larger doses. Using Vicodin in any way that doesn’t match your doctor's prescription is considered substance abuse.

Painkillers are one of the most commonly misused prescription drugs. Prescription opioid addiction and opioid overdose have become an epidemic in the United States.3

Physical symptoms of Vicodin abuse include:3

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Small pupils
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Vicodin abuse can also have behavioral and mental side effects. Someone addicted to Vicodin will continue using it despite its impact on their social life and work or school responsibilities.3

Side Effects of Vicodin

Vicodin can trigger side effects that range from mild to moderate. Short-term side effects include:1,5

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Ureter spasms making urination difficult

There are also side effects specific to either hydrocodone or acetaminophen. For instance, hydrocodone side effects include:

  • Impairment of physical ability
  • Impairment of mental ability
  • Depressed breathing

Acetaminophen causes liver damage when used excessively.

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Drug & Alcohol Interactions

As with most drugs, Vicodin can interact with other drugs and alcohol. For example, Vicodin can interact with:1,5

  • Other narcotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • CNS depressants
  • MAO Inhibitors
  • Tricyclic antidepressants 

Combining Vicodin with other drugs or alcohol can cause: 

  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Increased risk of liver failure
  • Overdose

Summary

Vicodin is an opiate pain reliever typically used for severe pain. However, because of its high potential for abuse and misuse, it’s only prescribed when other pain medications don’t work or following a surgical procedure.

It’s possible to become physically dependent and addicted to Vicodin, especially after long-term use. If you stop using it, you may also feel withdrawal symptoms, which is why doctors recommend tapering off the drug. 

As with other drugs, Vicodin can interact with other drugs and alcohol. Taking Vicodin with other substances can lead to uncomfortable and harmful side effects.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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