As a detox method, tapering off hydrocodone allows a user to recondition themselves—mind, body, and spirit—to life without opioids.

Hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller in the category of medications known as opioids and opiates. Like oxycodone, another opioid that hydrocodone is often times confused with, hydrocodone is a semisynthetic opioid. These substances are derived from a natural opium source but perfected and synthesized in a laboratory setting.

Hydrocodone has proven to be an effective pain reliever for decades. Physicians prescribe the medication for any number of ailments or situations, ranging from surgery to cancer management. For all of its perceived benefits, hydrocodone and other opioids are truly a mixed bag. There are certainly plenty of negative consequences of extended use, overuse or illicit misuse of these drugs, including addiction. It is the most prescribed pain medication in the county, and over 100,000 emergency room visits are connected to hydrocodone use each year.

Hydrocodone and other prescription opioids have consistently caused more than ten thousand overdose deaths year after year. Opioids collectively led to 47,600 fatalities in 2016, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Hydrocodone is an accessory to a crisis felt across the entire United States.

An epidemic on such a massive scale requires effective and actionable solutions. While it may take years to see any lasting societal progress, remedies on an individual basis can help in the meantime. The best treatment option requires the collaboration of physician and patient alike. Tapering allows for just that. Any worthwhile hydrocodone tapering schedule requires complete perseverance on behalf of all parties involved. As a detox method, tapering off hydrocodone allows an individual to recondition themselves — mind, body, and spirit — to life without opioids.

Tapering off Hydrocodone

Tapering off hydrocodone allows the body to gradually adapt to smaller amounts of the drug. It also helps make withdrawal symptoms that emerge during detox more manageable. The various bodily systems that would otherwise exhibit withdrawal symptoms without hydrocodone — nausea of the digestive system, aching of the musculoskeletal system, and psychological symptoms of the central nervous system are largely spared.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal include:

  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Cramping
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

How to Taper off Hydrocodone

There is no scientific support for quitting opioids cold turkey. Going cold turkey is a centuries-old practice of stopping drug or alcohol use outright. Though it does achieve the goal of cessation in the short-term, withdrawal symptoms may lead people to use hydrocodone again before detox is complete.

Slow, medically supervised tapers are the best course of action for people who are addicted to hydrocodone. No matter one’s life circumstances, a taper detox can put the power back into the hands of people living with hydrocodone addiction. With adequate medical intervention, anyone has the possibility of making a life-changing decision, today.

If you know someone living with hydrocodone addiction, don’t wait to point them in the direction of help. You just might save their life. The Recovery Village provides individualized medical detox programs for those with drug or alcohol addictions. With centers across the country, you’re likely not too far out of reach to attend one of these renowned centers. Call  866.270.1240 today to learn more.

a woman is standing with her arms crossed.
Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more
a woman wearing glasses and a white robe.
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.