How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System

How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System

How long does methadone stay in your system? The answer to this question depends on kind of test you are taking to detect the presence of methadone. It stays in the blood, saliva, and urine for a different period of time. Usually, a urine test is taken to check its presence. Blood, saliva and hair test are not very much in practice clinically. It is important to have the basic information about the methadone first before going into the details.

What Is Methadone?

It is a strong synthetic analgesic drug and is used in addiction treatments. It works on the parts of the brain and spinal cord. It is an opioid that reduces the withdrawal symptoms in the patients using different drugs like heroin and morphine. It eases opiate withdrawal for twenty-four hours to thirty-six hours if taken once a day. It is available in different forms like tablet, liquid, and injection. The generic name is methadone whereas it is sold under different brand names like Dolophine and Methadose.

How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System For A Blood Test?

Methadone reaches at its peak concentration four hours after the dosage has been taken and is detectable in blood 30 minutes after it has been taken orally or intravenously. However, the duration of this analgesic action is 4 to 8 hours. It remains in the blood for 5 days at the most.

How Long Can Methadone Be Detected In Urine?

It stays in the urine for a longer period than in the blood. It can test positive in urine for 2 to 4 days after the last dosage. Urine tests are convenient and are more in practice than many other options available.

How Long Does It Take For Methadone To Clear Your System?

A patient’s metabolism and tolerance level can affect the duration of clearing up of the system. High metabolism can dissipate the drug within several days whereas a person with low metabolism may take a week. It also depends on the dosage and how frequently you are using it.

Most sources are in conflict regarding the average elimination half-life of methadone.  Examples of some cited methadone half-lives include 24 to 36 hours, 13 to 47 hours, 15 to 40 hours, and 8 to 59 hours.  This indicates that the half-life of methadone is highly-variable between individuals.  Since the 8 to 59-hour elimination half-life encompasses the others mentioned, we shall use it to estimate possible average clearance times of methadone. Reference:

 How Long Does A 10mg Methadone Stay In Your System?

Methadone has a very long half-life. If you take a 10mg of methadone, approximately half of it will remain in your system i.e. 5mg. If you take 10mg again the next day. It means you have 15mg in your body. The very next day, half of it is present in your body which is 7.5mg. The third day after taking the next dose you have 17.5mg in your system. It will go on and on if you keep taking the medicine. It stays in the system for 8 to 36 hours.

What Is Methadone Addiction?

Methadone is used in addiction treatments but becomes addiction sometimes. It is an opioid so its regular use can cause physical dependency i.e. on stopping the use of the drug you will experience the withdrawal. The physical changes are the same as any other narcotic.  Here are some signs of methadone addiction. You can also check what is Cocaine and its stay in system

Signs of Methadone Addiction:

  • Doctor Shopping is a term which is used when a patient tries to get manifold prescriptions.
  • ‘Stockpile’ the methadone to be used later as high dosage.
  • Taking higher dosage than administered by the doctor.
  • Using friends as an alternate mean to grab more of methadone.
  • Overlooking your responsibilities to carry on the methadone use.

Here are some factors that play their role in staying methadone in the system.

Factors Responsible For How Long Methadone Stay In the System:

    • Age and Metabolism:As you grow old, your metabolism slows down. Your physiological functions are not as operative as they were before. As a result, the excretion of the drug from the body will be slower in elderly people than the young ones.
    • Body Mass Index (BMI) and The Dosage:A person’s BMI and the dosage that has been administered to him by the doctor work collectively. BMI is the amount of body fat that is derived by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms with the square of height in meters. A higher BMI indicates that a higher amount will be advised. As methadone accumulates in the body fats so, the drug will remain for longer in the body before excretion. If the same amount of drug is given to two persons with different body weights. The person with high body fat will retain it for a longer period. A smaller dosage can be quickly cleared from the body as compared to high dosage.
    • Inheritance:Some genetic factors decide whether a person is a rapid metabolizer or a poor metabolizer. The drug will last longer in the system of the person with poor metabolism.
    • Liver Function:The liver is responsible for the emission of wastes from the body in the form of urine. Enzymes like CYP3A4 which are found mainly in the liver make the drug metabolized. If they are not working properly, they will take more time for the release of the drug from the body.
    • Basal Metabolic Rate:Basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy required while at rest for 24 hours. The higher BMR indicates that drug will be released quickly from the body. Whereas, the lower BMR will result in slower excretion of the drug from the body.
    • Pregnancy:The process of clearing methadone from the body is found faster and continuous in the pregnant women than the non-pregnant women. In pregnant women, less amount of methadone is absorbed and more is excreted as a result of boosted metabolism.
    • Urinary pH Scale:The urine pH level shows the acidity in the urine. If the acidic level of the urine pH is higher, it will rapidly emit the drug. The lower the alkaline level, the slower will be the excretion of the drug from the body.
    • Frequent Use:Repeated use of methadone can result in amassing of the methadone in the lipid stores. Lipids store energy in the fatty cells to be used later.  If the patient keeps taking the additional dosage before the removal of the previous storage of the drug, he will have an additional amount of the drug in the lipid stores. Infrequent use of methadone will not let the accumulation of the drug reach its peak level.
    • Peak Concentration:As mentioned above, an infrequent user has very low chances of reaching the peak level. If a person takes the drug three times a day, he has more chances of reaching the peak level as compared to the person who takes the drug once a day.
    • Time of The Treatment:If the drug is taken once a day, a substantial amount of the drug has already been excreted till the afternoon. But, if the drug is taken twice one in the morning and one in the afternoon, it will bring about a new half-life for the later dose.
    • Patient’s Health:
      Half-life may vary depending upon a patient’s health. A patient with better health can have a half-life of 33 to 46 hours, but a chronic patient can have a longer half-life. In chronic patients, the longer half-life is also because of the increased dose administered to him. If methadone is given for the treatment of chronic pain, there are chances that half-life will reach 120 hours. The drug will start accumulating within the body of the patient and can take 27.5 days in clearing up from the system.
    • Postoperative Purpose:If methadone is used for post-operative purposes, it may show up a half-life of up to 87 hours. Whereas, a complete excretion can take up to 20 days.
    • Exercise:If you do any kind of cardio exercise, running or jumping, it will speed up the releasing of the drug from the body as these exercises increase the metabolism rate and the blood flow to liver and kidneys. These organs play a vital role in removing wastes from the body. The proper working of these body parts will release methadone quickly from the body.
    • Drink Plenty Of Water:Drinking plenty of water will increase the excretion through urine. If you do not drink enough water, it will slow down the process and the drug will stay in your body for a long period. Dehydration may also result in reabsorption.

Adverse Effects of Methadone:

Every drug that is taken for treatment has some adverse effects as well. Here are some which one can face during or after the use of methadone.

infographics for methadone stay in system

So, must consult your doctor if you face any of the problems mentioned above.

If you are pregnant, tell your doctor as the use of any drug during pregnancy can harm the fetus.

Do not use methadone if you have breathing problems, severe asthma or paralytic ileus (an intestinal blockage that harms digestive movement).

In the beginning when you start taking methadone or when you change the dose, you may face breathing problems like it may slow or stop your breathing.

Do not use methadone for a long period as it is addictive.

Do not use more than the prescribed dose.

Never use it without prescription as any drug can be life threatening.

Yet you cannot ignore the benefits that this drug offers.

Benefits Of Methadone Treatment:

      • It’s been used for the treatment of addiction for more than thirty years.
      • It is not an expensive drug and many people can use it for treatment.
      • When you take methadone addiction treatment, group counseling is provided. Thus, you get the chance to meet people who are going through the same addiction treatment.
      • It is an opioid and can handle the withdrawal symptoms.
      • It remains effective for at least 24 hours.
      • It is easily tolerated by most of the patients so it dose can be increased.
      • Many patients can be treated at a methadone clinic as there is no legal limit to it.
      • Methadone does not affect your thinking ability. So, you can drive a car and continue studying and job.
      • When you daily go to the clinic for methadone treatment, you make up a routine by getting up early in the morning and going to the clinic. Thus, you indulge in healthy activities.
      • You are in contact with the people who can be a great help.
      • It is better for pregnant opiate addicts to use methadone than any other drug. Others are really harmful.

Some other facts about methadone are as follows:

      • In some cases, methadone is advised for short-term use but it is found more effective if it is used for a long period of time. That’s why The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests undergoing treatment for at least a year to attain maximum possible benefits from the program.
      • Methadone does not affect the function of your major parts. Thus you can get long term benefits.
      • People taking higher doses of methadone have been observed getting more benefits than those who are taking the low dosage. But, remember overdose and illicit use can harm. You must use it as suggested by your doctor.
      • Everybody reacts differently to any medicine. Similarly, every person may digest methadone in a different way. By keeping in view the reduction in withdrawal symptoms, the healthcare provider can determine the most suitable dose for the patient.
      • If a patient sticks to methadone treatment program for fourteen days, there are chances that he will continue taking it for at least six months.

So, methadone is an effective narcotic drug and the patient and his family members as they are a support to the patient must be persistent to take full advantage of the treatment.