Hydrocodone Facts

Hydrocodone is a powerful opioid painkiller widely prescribed in the United States to manage moderate to severe pain. While hydrocodone can provide effective pain relief when used as directed, it carries significant risks of dependence, misuse, and addiction. 

Unfortunately, patients can become tolerant and dependent on hydrocodone—requiring more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect—and trapping victims in the cycle of addiction. 

Like many forms of addiction, hydrocodone addiction is complex and can profoundly impact a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being. Additionally, hydrocodone addiction can lead to more severe forms, such as heroin addiction.

Here we provide in-depth hydrocodone facts and statistics to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of hydrocodone addiction, thus empowering you and your loved ones with the knowledge and awareness needed to make an informed decision about your health and recovery.

Quick Hydrocodone Facts and Statistics

  • In the United States, “hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed opioid.” It “is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other legal or illegal opioid.”
  • About 45 people die every day from prescription opioid-related overdose.
  • Prescription opioids, like hydrocodone, were involved in almost 24% of all opioid overdose-related deaths in 2020.
  • About 80% of people who use heroin now misused a prescription opioid first.


Commonly Asked Questions

What is hydrocodone used for? 

Hydrocodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is commonly prescribed to help patients manage a chronic condition, as part of aftercare following medical procedures, or to manage pain after an injury. 

Hydrocodone vs. oxycodone: what’s the difference?

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are very similar. Both drugs are semi-synthetic opioids prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain. These drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain to disrupt pain signals, offering patients relief. Hydrocodone and oxycodone can be habit-forming and lead to misuse and addiction.

The primary difference between these two drugs is the potential side effects. Some patients can tolerate the side effects of one drug over the other. For example, some patients experience severe nausea, stomach pain, or constipation when taking hydrocodone. 

How long does hydrocodone stay in your system?

Hydrocodone stays in your system for up to four days after use. 

What is hydrocodone addiction?

Hydrocodone addiction is the physical and psychological dependence on the drug. Those who suffer from addiction experience moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms if they quit taking the drug or reduce their dosage, making it essential for sufferers to seek professional help and undergo a medically supervised detox. Signs of hydrocodone addiction can include:

  • Taking hydrocodone in higher volumes or more frequently than prescribed
  • Needing more of the drug to achieve the same effect
  • Weight loss or gain  
  • A desire to stop taking hydrocodone, but the inability to do so
  • Strong urges or cravings 


The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Hydrocodone

Review these hydrocodone facts to learn more about the short and long-term effects hydrocodone can have on your body: 

Short-Term Effects Long-Term Effects
Pain relief Lasting effects on mood and thought patterns
Constipation, stomach pain, or diarrhea Changes to brain functions
Dry mouth Insomnia
Itchy skin Liver disease
Nausea or vomiting Kidney disease
Confusion Depression and anxiety
Euphoria Dependency and tolerance
Reduced breathing rate

Addiction and Addiction Treatment

With these hydrocodone facts, you can spot the signs of addiction and make an informed decision about your health and treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from a hydrocodone addiction, Buena Vista Recovery is here to help.

At Buena Vista, we understand the complex nature of addiction and work with you to create a personalized treatment plan. Additionally, our medically supervised detox program can help reduce hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms and help keep you comfortable with easy transition treatment beyond detox.

Contact Buena Vista today to learn more about hydrocodone addiction or your treatment options. 

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