Vicodin works in the body as a depressant. The central nervous system is affected in addition to both the body and brain. While Vicodin only creates an effect in the body for 4-6 hours, it can stay in the body for as long as two days after ingestion. Vicodin is a drug which can be addictive due to the nature of its effect on the body and the brain so it is important to know how the drug works and how long it lasts in the body.



Many people take Vicodin as a pain reliever, which works to alter the body and brain’s pain response mechanisms. Vicodin impacts the body by providing pain relief due to one key ingredient named hydrocodone. Hydrocodone works by adhering itself to specific proteins called opioid receptors found in many parts of the body including the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract and other organs. This can minimize the sensation of pain and cause a person to feel relaxed (even euphoric) by affecting pleasure centers of the brain. Vicodin becomes addictive when taken to try and get high or used long term to control pain symptoms. Some of the following effects can take place when a person uses Vicodin:


  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • pleasurable feelings
  • relaxation and contentment
  • decreased sensation of pain
  • nausea/vomiting
  • slow or shallow breathing
  • decreased heart rate



The peak level for Vicodin is reached in the blood after approximately 1.3 hours. Each individual will experience different symptoms but generally Vicodin lasts in the system no more than 4-6 hours. No more than two days after initial use, Vicodin is no longer present in the blood. Urine screens can still show Vicodin for up to two days past last dosage or even longer for chronic users of the drug. Hair samples may continue to show presence of Vicodin for as long as 90 days or more.


Although prescribed by doctors for people to use for pain relief, Vicodin is a highly addictive drug. The pain-relieving effects also have a side effect of creating a high. The limbic system is impacted, which controls emotions. Opioids in general (like Vicodin) can produce feelings of relaxation and contentment. Some other effects of Vicodin can include:


  • drowsiness
  • extreme well being
  • heaviness
  • numbness


Withdrawal from Vicodin is powerful which can lead to uncontrollable cravings for the drug and compulsive use despite negative consequences. Long term damage can be caused in both the brain and body from over use of Vicodin. Over time, a person can experience irreversible liver damage which can potentially lead to death.

Vicodin addiction can have long term consequences for a person’s health and life. If you or someone you know needs help, contact Hired Power to discuss treatment options. Counselors are available to speak to you today at 800-910-9299.