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How Long Does Norco Stay in Your System?

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Before you take any prescription medication, you should get answers to some basic but important questions. In the case of Norco, common questions include How will this drug affect me? Is Norco addictive? Are there any side effects I should be aware of? and How long does Norco stay in your system.

What is Norco?

Before we answer how long does Norco stay in your system, let’s take a moment to discuss what this drug actually is.

Norco is the brand name of a prescription medication that is most commonly given to people who have been experiencing moderate to severe pain. Norco is composed of two ingredients, acetaminophen and hydrocodone:

  • Acetaminophen can ease pain and reduce fever. It is present in many medications, including both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs.
  • Hydrocodone is an opioid. This is the same category that includes heroin, morphine, and fentanyl. It is a stronger pain reliever than acetaminophen.

Norco is similar to Vicodin, which is another prescription painkiller that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. The primary difference between these two medications is that Norco contains slightly more hydrocodone, while Vicodin contains a bit more acetaminophen.

Doctors typically do not prescribe Norco unless a person has already built up a tolerance for opioids, such as from taking Vicodin or another medication that contains a drug from this category. 

How Long Does Norco Stay in Your System?

How long does Norco stay in your system? The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including:

  • Your weight and metabolism
  • How much Norco you have been using
  • Which type of drug screen you are taking

The half-life of Norco is four hours. Half-life refers to how long it takes for half of a substance to be eliminated. It typically takes about 5.5 half-lives for a drug to reach the level at which it is virtually undetectable. So, for Norco, this would equal about 22 hours.

However, evidence that you have taken Norco can remain in your system for longer than this. 

Depending on which type of drug test you take, here’s how long Norco can be detected after your last dose:

  • Blood test: About nine hours
  • Saliva test: Up to about 36 hours (or a day and half)
  • Urine test: Up to 72 hours (three days)
  • Hair follicle test: Up to 90 days

Is Norco Dangerous?

When you use Norco as directed by the professional who prescribed it to you, it can be both safe and effective. But even if you follow all guidance, you may still experience some distressing side effects. 

Your risk for side effects can increase significantly if you abuse Norco. Most people who abuse this medication do so for reasons such as the following:

  • They received a prescription for Norco, but they began to use it more often, in greater amounts, or for longer than they were told to by their physician.
  • They attempted to self-medicate with Norco that had not been prescribed to them. 
  • They intentionally abused Norco for recreational purposes. 

Regardless of a person’s reason for first abusing Norco, doing so puts them in danger for an array of negative effects, including:

  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Liver damage
  • Disrupted menstruation
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Addiction
  • Overdose
  • Death

Am I Addicted to Norco?

Once you have begun to abuse Norco or other opioids on a regular basis, it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain when you have crossed the line from substance abuse to addiction. If you suspect that you have become dependent on Norco, you should contact your doctor or an addiction treatment provider to schedule an assessment.

To determine if you should contact a professional, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you spend large amounts of time acquiring, using, and recovering from the effects of Norco?
  2. Do you become agitated, irritated, and/or physically ill when you can’t acquire and use Norco?
  3. Have you had to increase your Norco use to achieve the effects that you desire?
  4. Have you lied to or otherwise deceived friends or family members about the amount and frequency of your Norco abuse?
  5. Have you worried about how long does Norco stay in your system, because you fear that you won’t be able to pass a drug test?
  6. Has anyone close to you suggested that you might have a problem with Norco abuse?
  7. Have you begun to use Norco in ways that are especially hazardous to your health, such as by combining it with alcohol or another drug?
  8. Have you ever missed school or work – or failed to meet any other responsibilities – because of your Norco use?
  9. Have you continued to use Norco even after incurring physical harm or another negative effect as a result of prior use?
  10. Have you ever tried to stop using Norco, but discovered that you were unable to stay away from the drug?

Please note that you cannot diagnose yourself with Norco addiction after answering a few questions on this or any other website. But if you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, that may indicate that you have a problem, and that you should schedule an assessment.

Begin Treatment for Norco Addiction in Nashville, TN

Untreated Norco addiction can be devastating. But if you receive appropriate addiction treatment from a reputable provider, you can end your Norco use and build a foundation for successful recovery. Nashville Treatment Solutions offers customized care at three outpatient levels (Nashville detox, partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient program, and outpatient rehab). At each level, you will have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with a team of dedicated professionals. 

To learn more about our programming, to schedule a free assessment, or to get answers to any questions you may have about Norco addiction treatment at our center in Nashville, please visit our admissions page or call us today.