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  • Norco Withdrawal Timeline | Taper, Symptoms, Detox, & Treatment Options

    young woman with her face in her hands sitting on a couch experiencing Norco withdrawal symtpoms

    If you or someone you love has been prescribed Norco, a prescription painkiller, you may be concerned with the risk of dependence and withdrawal. Norco contains hydrocodone, an opioid, and acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol. 

    Opioid use can cause physical dependence over time, even if you are taking your medication as prescribed. Physical dependency means you will need increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the same effect.  

    Norco Withdrawal Timeline

    Many factors can affect how long you experience opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as age, weight, health, your dose, and how long you’ve been taking Norco. 

    Stage 1

    The hydrocodone in Norco is a short-acting opioid, which means the onset of withdrawal is quick, usually within 8-12 hours after the last dose. 

    Withdrawal symptoms may include:

    • anxiety
    • cravings
    • muscle aches
    • runny nose
    • sweating 
    • yawning
    • trouble sleeping

    During this stage of withdrawal it’s crucial to be in a supportive and healthy environment, such as a medical detox. Drug cravings and anxiety can affect your mental health and may lead to relapse and overdose.  

    Stage 2

    While you may still experience some of the previous symptoms, they usually peak after 36-72 hours. Symptoms gradually decrease after the first few days and should subside after five days. 

    Withdrawal symptoms may include:

    • cramping
    • diarrhea
    • dilated pupils
    • goosebumps
    • nausea
    • vomiting

    Although opioid withdrawal is not life-threatening, it is dangerous to try to quit cold turkey. A medical detox is a good first step because they have access to treatment programs that will help you cope with lingering cravings. 

    Tapering Off Norco

    If you are prescribed Norco and have been taking it for more than two weeks, you are at risk for severe withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor may recommend taper, which helps you slowly come off the drug in decreasing doses. 

    A taper is a medical withdrawal plan that uses an individualized schedule to best fit your needs and health. During your taper, your doctor may discuss alternative options for pain management if necessary. 

    Depending on the person, a taper can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

    During a taper your doctor may:

    • monitor your pulse and blood pressure
    • speak with your other doctors and family members
    • give you alternative pain management options
    • provide you with medication that will ease any withdrawal symptoms

    Norco Addiction & Withdrawal Treatment Options

    Some people who are physically dependent on Norco can eventually develop a substance use disorder. If you cannot stop taking Norco or are experiencing adverse effects in your life because of it, you may have a substance use disorder, also known as addiction. 

    Physical dependency may only require a medical detox, but those with substance use disorders can also benefit from residential or medication-assisted treatment. 

    Medical Detox

    One of the best options for coming off of opioids safely is a medical detox. You’re surrounded by licensed healthcare professionals who provide you with medications to assist in easing the symptoms brought on by withdrawal. 

    During detoxification you may be given the following medications:

    • melatonin (sleep-aid)
    • clonidine (for high blood pressure and anxiety)
    • loperamide (anti-diarrheal)

    Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

    If you have a substance use disorder or a history of relapse, you may be recommended to take part in a MAT program. MAT programs use medications in combination with behavioral therapy to help prevent overdose and treat opioid addiction.

    MAT programs treat various opioid addiction, including:

    • hydrocodone 
    • oxycodone
    • fentanyl
    • morphine
    • hydromorphone

    The medications administered in MAT help normalize brain pathways and diminish drug cravings. They have the same effect on the body as other opioids but without the euphoric high. 

    You may be prescribed:

    • naltrexone
    • buprenorphine
    • methadone 

    If you want to come off any of these medications, you may experience severe opioid withdrawal symptoms. Your health care providers may suggest a taper or detox to safely come off any of these medications. 

    Residential Treatment Center

    If you have a substance abuse problem or are looking for a long term addiction treatment option, you may want to consider a residential treatment program. If you have withdrawal syndrome, your residential treatment center will first set you up with a detox program. 

    This is what residential treatment looks like:

    • live on campus
    • 24-hour staff support
    • behavioral, individual, and group therapy
    • mindfulness practices, such as yoga and meditation
    • clinical care

    Residential treatment helps you develop healthy coping skills so you can transition back home safely. They help you learn basic life skills and introduce you to support groups that can be beneficial in your aftercare program. 

    If you or a loved one is struggling with Norco dependence or addiction, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health Specialist to discuss treatment options today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    DailyMed - Norco
    MayoClinic - Tapering off Opioids
    National Center for Biotechnology Information - Opioid Withdrawal
    National Center for Biotechnology Information - Pharmacologic treatments for opioid dependence: detoxification and maintenance options
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Opioid Withdrawal

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on March 22, 2022
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