Norco is detectable in the urine for up to three to four days from the time of the last dose and is detectable in the blood for up to 24 hours.
Common side effects of Norco include dizziness, sedation, headaches, lightheadedness, euphoria, nausea, and vomiting. Less common side effects include drowsiness, confusion, anxiety, mood fluctuations, and constipation.
Norco is a combination of the synthetic opioid hydrocodone and the over-the-counter pain-reliever acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is derived from codeine. Hydrocodone has short-acting pain-relieving effects. The analgesic effects of hydrocodone begin to take effect within 30 to 60 minutes following the time of oral ingestion and last between four to eight hours.
The acetaminophen in Norco also provides anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects for approximately three hours. Acetaminophen has a slightly faster onset than hydrocodone. Acetaminophen begins to take effect within 10 to 30 minutes following oral ingestion.
The Federal Drug Administration tightly regulates Norco distribution as a Schedule II substance. Short-acting opioids like Norco are highly addictive and carry a high likelihood of overdose when taken recreationally.
Roughly 22,00 people die every year from complications related to prescription opioid misuse. In 2009, the FDA narrowly decided to remove to similar hydrocodone/acetaminophen medications, such as Vicodin and Percocet, from the market. They determined that the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen carried too high of a likelihood for overdose.
Due to the risk of liver damage, all products containing acetaminophen must limit single doses to a maximum of 325 mg.
When used recreationally, Norco is commonly mixed with other opioids, benzodiazepines like Xanax, non-benzodiazepine sedative/hypnotics, marijuana, and alcohol. When used concomitantly with these drugs, the risk of life-threatening complications such as severe respiratory depression increases significantly.
Although Vicodin is no longer available in the US, it continues to be distributed elsewhere. Other frequently prescribed hydrocodone-combination drugs include Lorcet, Vicoprofen, Lortab, Lortab ASA, Vicoprofen, and Hycomine. Vicoprofen contains ibuprofen (Advil) instead of acetaminophen (Tylenol). Hycomine is a combination of hydrocodone and antihistamine.
The hydrocodone in Norco achieves its analgesic (pain relieving) effects by binding to specific opioid mu-receptors in the body in order to depress central nervous system activity. By activating these opioid receptor sites, hydrocodone reduces the patient’s perception of pain.
The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is not yet fully understood. Researchers believe that it may achieve some of its pain-relieving effects by modulating the endogenous cannabinoid system in the brain.
The hydrocodone in Norco has an average terminal half-life of 3.8 hours with a range of 3.3. to 4.4 hours. Hydrocodone has an onset time of 20 to 30 minutes and a duration of four to eight hours. The half-life of oral acetaminophen is 1.25 to 3 hours. Acetaminophen reaches peak concentrations between 10 to 60 minutes following ingestion.
Several factors influence the length of time that Norco stays in the body. Both acetaminophen and hydrocodone rely on the liver for metabolism. Patients with poor liver health tend to have longer clearance times and higher peak concentrations of the drug.
Age is another factor for similar reasons. As a person ages, their overall metabolism slows, leading to less efficient processing of medications like Norco.
The frequency of use has a big impact on how long Norco stays in the system. The higher and more frequent the treatment, the longer it takes the body to excrete the drug. The patient’s size and body fat percentage are additional factors. Specific gene mutations lead to longer clearance times as well.
Related Topic: How long do opioids stay in your system
Hydrocodone concentrations are typically tested for in the plasma, blood, and urine for evidence of misuse. Norco can be detected in the urine for up to three to four days following oral ingestion. Norco remains present at testable levels in the blood for up to 24 hours. Hair follicle tests can detect Norco use for up to 90 days following the time of the last dose.
Many opiate tests only screen for the presence of opioids and their metabolites. Hydrocodone, however, can be distinguished uniquely with chromatographic techniques. Blood and plasma levels range from 5 to 30 ug/L when Norco is taken therapeutically. When taken recreationally, blood and plasma concentration can range anywhere from 100 to 1,600 ug/L in cases of severe dependency and overdose.
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