How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System? - Suboxone Palm Beach

Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication that is used to treat pain, symptoms of opioid withdrawal, and moderate to severe opioid use disorder. It is available under the brand names Methadose and Dolophine. All forms of methadone are a Schedule II controlled substance indicating medical use, but the risk for abuse.[1] Although the medication can be safe and effective when used as directed, it also has a bad reputation of being a drug of abuse. As an opioid, drug users may crush and snort or take a high dose of the drug to achieve an opioid-like high.

Knowing how long it takes methadone to leave your system isn’t just important for passing a drug test. It’s also important in knowing how to use methadone safely, avoid negative side effects, and get help for methadone abuse or addiction if needed. However, there are many factors that influence how long methadone stays in your system, and different types of drug tests may detect the substance for various lengths of time.

How and Why People Drug Test for Methadone

There are many circumstances that may warrant a drug test, such as:

  • During rehab to monitor medication adherence and abstinence
  • As a part of medical settings to monitor blood levels, analgesia, and substance concentrations
  • In workplaces to determine job eligibility
  • At sports-related events to determine participation eligibility
  • As part of probation or parole to monitor for criminal behaviors
  • Upon intake at the jail for a drug-related crime to determine intoxication

Depending on the situation you are in, different types of drug tests may be used. If you are pulled over for drinking and driving, you may have to do a breathalyzer and/or you may request a blood test once at the jail. If you are drug testing for a workplace, they may use a urine test or hair follicle test. Or, if you are getting tested in a medical setting, they could use urine, saliva, or blood.

The four types of drug tests that can detect fentanyl in your system are urinalysis tests, blood tests, saliva tests, and hair follicle tests. Each type of test has a different detection window. For instance, saliva tests may only detect substances for a few hours, but hair follicle tests can detect substances for up to three months.

Methadone Drug Test Detection Times

By type of drug test, here is an approximation of how long an average person can expect one dose of methadone to be detected in their system:

  • Urine test – Urine tests are the most popular drug test type because they are cheap, non-invasive, and accurate. Methadone can be detected in urine between one hour and two weeks after the last dose.
  • Saliva test – Methadone can be detected in saliva between 30 minutes after ingestion and for 2-3 days after the last dose.
  • Blood test – Blood tests are rarely used due to their high cost and invasive nature. Methadone can be detected in blood within 30 minutes of ingestion and for 2-3 days after the last dose.
  • Hair follicle tests – Hair follicle testing has become increasingly popular in recent years. This type of test has the longest detection window of all. Methadone can be detected in the hair within 1-2 weeks after ingestion and for up to three months.

These detection times may vary from one person to the next.

Factors that Affect How Long Methadone Stays in Your System

How long methadone is detectable on a drug test as well as how long it stays in your system is influenced by several individual factors, including:

  • Length of use
  • Frequency of use
  • Dose consumed
  • Method of administration
  • Liver health
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Metabolism
  • Polydrug use

In general, the more methadone you take for a longer period of time, the longer it will stay in your system.

Understanding How the Body Metabolizes and Eliminates Methadone From Your System

Methadone is metabolized in the liver and excreted from the body through feces and urine.[2] While the effects of methadone may only last 6-12 hours, the liver leaves behind traces (metabolites) of methadone in the body for much longer. These metabolites are what are detected in drug tests.

As a long-acting opioid, methadone itself stays in the body much longer than other opioids do because it has a longer half-life. The half-life is also extended with ongoing dosing. While a single dose of methadone has a half-life of 12-18 hours, extended dosing increases the half-life to 13-47 hours (with an average of 24 hours). It can take up to 5 half-lives for a substance to be completely eliminated from the system.

Overall, methadone will stay in your system between 8 and 60 hours, depending on the factors listed above.[3] Methadone’s metabolites will remain detectable in the body for much longer. The timeframe during which methadone can be detected on a drug test depends on the type of test being used.

Taking too much methadone before the last dose has left your system can result in an overdose or, over time, the development of physical dependence or addiction.

Help for Methadone Abuse and Addiction

If you have questions about the dose you are taking, potential drug interactions, or the potential for withdrawal, speak with your doctor or a medical provider about your concerns. But, if you have become addicted to methadone, it’s best to speak with an addiction specialist who can connect you with the support you need.

Here at Suboxone Treatment Clinic, we specialize in treating opioid addiction and can help you find the right treatment program for you. Call now to speak with a dedicated addiction specialist for a risk-free, confidential consultation.

References:

  1. https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs6/6096/index.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6339814/
  3. https://ascpt.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cpt1972136923

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