A Guide to Hydrocodone Detox

Hydrocodone is a highly addictive painkilling medication. It can cause overdose and other medical complications when misused. If you or a loved one has lost control over hydrocodone, including the amount you take and what you take, you may need professional help for hydrocodone detox.

When you are addicted to a drug like hydrocodone, changes occur in the brain and body that causes withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication. 1 Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, no matter the commitment to quitting. Professional help can be the difference-maker to help get through the detox process.

What Are Hydrocodone Detox Symptoms?

Typically, hydrocodone detox symptoms will occur in two phases. The first phase of symptoms includes:

  • agitation
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • low energy
  • problems sleeping well
  • restlessness
  • runny nose
  • yawning

As more time passes, further hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms occur. These usually take place about 24 hours after their first symptoms occur. These include:

  • diarrhea
  • fast heart rate
  • goose bumps
  • high blood pressure
  • nausea
  • stomach cramping
  • vomiting

The second phase of opiate withdrawal usually takes about three days to go through. While a person may experience milder symptoms for several weeks after initial withdrawals, they aren’t usually as pronounced as the first week after hydrocodone withdrawals. 3

While withdrawal symptoms are not necessarily life-threatening, a relapse can. The withdrawal symptoms can result in intense cravings for the drug that can be difficult to overcome. At a professional medical detox center, medical staff can help with these short-term symptoms.

How Can Professional Medical Detox Help?

A person going through medical detox can receive several medical treatments throughout hydrocodone detox. Examples of these interventions include:

  • Administering anti-nausea medications, such as ondansetron (Zofran), to reduce the incidence of nausea and vomiting
  • Administering intravenous fluids or regular hydrating fluids to prevent dehydration

In addition to these medical interventions, you may wish to consider taking medications that are FDA-approved to reduce addiction to opiates like hydrocodone. Examples of these medications include:


Buprenorphine or Subutex is a medication that can help reduce a person’s cravings for hydrocodone without giving a euphoric high that a person may otherwise experience when taking hydrocodone.


Clonidine is a medication that doctors prescribe to help reduce some of the symptoms associated with hydrocodone detox. While clonidine doesn’t lessen cravings for hydrocodone, it can help to reduce the incidence of symptoms like anxiety, agitation, muscle aching, sweating, and runny nose.


Methadone is another medication that works to reduce drug cravings for hydrocodone. This medication requires routine monitoring to ensure excess levels of the drug haven’t built up in the bloodstream.

Using these medications can help reduce a person’s dependence on hydrocodone and reduces the likelihood that a person will overdose. If a person has gone through several opiate withdrawals in attempts to quit, they should consider talking to a medical professional about prescription medications to overcome opiate addiction.

Why Choose Professional Help

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one of the biggest complications associated with hydrocodone detox is an overdose. 2 After a person has gone through opiate detox, they can unfortunately overdose more easily on a smaller amount than they’re used to taking.

An estimated 2.1 million people in the United States struggle with addiction to opiates such as hydrocodone. 3 If you or a loved one struggle, you aren’t alone. You also don’t have to go through the detox process alone.