Norco is an analgesic used to treat both moderate and severe pain. Norco contains a combination of 2 ingredients, including hydrocodone and acetaminophen. While the first is a narcotic drug; the latter is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which makes Norco a potent analgesic. Containing a narcotic ingredient, Norco is commonly misused for recreational purposes. Examples of similar brands containing this same combination include Anexsia, Lorcet, Anolor DH, Hycet, Zydone, Norco, Xodol, Vicodin and Zamicet.
- How does Norco work
- How long does Norco stay in your system
- What drug tests will show the presence of Norco
- How is Norco stored in the body
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How does Norco work
Containing 2 different analgesics, Norco works through 2 different mechanism of action. Both of them depend on the central nervous system, as follows;
Being narcotic, hydrocodone works similarly to other opioids, such as morphine. Through binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, including mu receptors and kappa receptors, hydrocodone relieves pain, causes relaxation, euphoria, and alters mood. Chronic administration of Norco can result in dependence. That said, Norco is amongst the common drugs people are addicted to.
Relatively similar to other NSAIDs, acetaminophen relieves pain through inhibiting the inflammatory mediators known as prostaglandins. That requires Acetaminophen to inhibit 3 enzymes, including cyclooxygenase-1, cyclooxygenase-2 and cyclooxygenase-3 enzymes.
How long does Norco stay in your system
How long Norco stays in your system actually depends on the half-life of each ingredient it contains, as shown below. Half-life refers to the time your system needs to get rid of 50% of the administered dose, and so on till the administered dose is fully eliminated.
Research shows that hydrocodone’s half-life in healthy people is around 1.25-3 hours; while other scientific sources report that hydrocodone can have a half-life of 3.8 hours. Therefore, up to 18-22.8 hours post-administration, hydrocodone that is contained in Norco can stay in your system.
Acetaminophen has a 1-4 hours half-life. Therefore, within an average of 2-3 hours, 50% of the administered dose of Acetaminophen will be eliminated from your system. Therefore, approximately 22 hours are required for acetaminophen to be fully eliminated.
Additionally, the duration Norco can stay in your system is also affected by certain factors; some of them differ from a person to another, including:
- your age
- your body mass
- whether you’re a light or a heavy used of Norco
- the administered dose. For example, if you administer an overdose, Norco is much likely to stay longer in your system.
- your metabolic rate of drugs, which determines how quickly your system is able to get rid of Norco.
For example, people who have low levels of glutathione are likely to store acetaminophen in their system for longer time, compared to others with normal glutathione levels. The reason is that acetaminophen elimination requires certain reactions to occur in the system, which are known as sulfation and glucuronidation. The first one is mainly dependent on your levels of glutathione.
Will Norco show on a drug test?
Yes, Norco will show on a drug test, as drug tests are able to detect hydrocodone and other opioids. However, that significantly depends on the factors shown below:
- the type of the tests you are required to undergo
- the time the test is performed. What a certain test can detect may not be detected by another test at the same moment, as the validity of each test is restricted within a certain time frame.
- individual factors that differ from a person to another, as shown above, such as the functioning ability of your system to eliminate hydrocodone.
How long is Norco detectable
Up to 48 hours or longer, Norco is likely detectable in your blood and urine. However, as mentioned above, individual factors can significantly affect this duration.
Hair, Saliva and fingernail
Up to 10 weeks since the last time you have administered Norco, and sometimes longer, hydrocodone is likely detectable in your hair. Unlike hair-based tests, saliva-based tests can detect Norco within a very short duration post-administration, equating to 30 minutes to 24 hours. Fingernails are rarely considered for hydrocodone and opioids testing in general.
What drug tests will show the presence of Norco
- Blood analysis
- Hair-based tests, including: Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assays)
- Saliva-based tests, such as High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
How is Norco stored in the body
Once you have administered Norco, both acetaminophen and hydrocodone are absorbed rapidly. The absorbed quantity rises in your plasma till achieving its peak level.
Within blood stream, Norco’s ingredients are diffused to other body parts, such as the central nervous system where Norco works, as well as hair and saliva where acetaminophen and hydrocodone and their metabolites stay till they are eliminated to outside your system within the previously-mentioned half-life of each one.
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