31 Aug How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your Urine?
How long does methadone stay in your urine? The effects of methadone can last for up to 24 hours, but it doesn’t mean the drug is gone from the system at this time. The time it takes for methadone to be eliminated and undetected can range from 2 days to 2 weeks and will vary from person to person.
Methadone is an opioid used as “replacement therapy” for addicts who wish to withdraw from drug use for good. It is often used with heroin addicts, administered by prescription, in a rehab facility or a physician’s office. Methadone allows addicts and drug abusers to slowly withdraw from use rather than quitting cold turkey.
Using the drug helps make the effects of drug withdrawal less harsh when people are trying to rehabilitate and get their life on a sober track. However, for some, methadone means trading one drug addiction with another. Technically speaking, the mu-receptor agonist produces endorphins and euphoric feelings leading a person to feel pain relief, pleasure, and relaxation. Due to these effects, on the surface, it’s not much different than the use of illicit opioids and the addiction that follows.
It is not a solution for every person who enters rehab. The drug comes with its adverse effects, such as hallucinations, heart complications, and digestive problems. A medical professional will decide if methadone is a safe and efficient type of therapy.
Factors That Affect How Long Methadone Stays in Urine
How long does methadone stay in urine? Several determining factors will influence the variation of how long methadone stays in your urine. The first consideration is how long a person has used methadone. The longer a person has been abusing it, the longer it will take for it to be cleared out of the system fully.
This goes hand-in-hand with how often a person is using. Is it once a day? Several times a day? How long of a time span is there in between doses? When an individual is administered the drug under healthcare monitoring, a physician will regulate the proper dosage.
However, for an individual who abuses the drug and takes non-prescribed doses is at risk. It will take longer for the drug to pass through the system if it’s continuing to be replenished. Additionally, many times people who abuse methadone are also using other illicit drugs, which will only perpetuate the detection of drugs in the urine.
What Is a Half-Life?
When a drug is reduced by one-half in the system, it is called its “half-life.” For methadone, the half-life is anywhere from 8-59 hours, according to the Food and Drug Administration. It is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and detectable within the plasma within the first half hour. Once fully absorbed, up to 90 percent of methadone sticks to the plasma proteins and becomes distributed throughout the body, accumulating in the body’s lipids and bodily tissues. Enzymes of the liver work to break down the drug, which is then eventually passed through urine output.
This half-life is determined by factors listed above and will be more prevalent for longer periods of time for chronic users. For example, people who are opioid dependent and administered methadone as part of their therapy, the half-life will fall into a 47- to 75-hour timeframe, which results in approximately 11 to 17 days for it to be eliminated completely from the system.
When methadone is used for patients suffering chronic pain, the drug is administered on a continual basis. Due to the accumulation of methadone in the system, it could take up to 27 days after the last dosage for the drug to be fully gone from the body.
How to Test for Methadone
Drug testing produces different results based on the capabilities of each screening. Ways to test for methadone include using samples of urine, saliva, blood, or hair. These tests are often performed for hiring and employment reasons, random drug screenings for athletes, or for those who have entered jail or rehab.
Although methadone is commonly used in rehabilitation centers, it is only effective when properly administered by a physician or other licensed medical practitioner. Testing in this situation is to ensure it is properly regulated for safety purposes and detect if it’s being abused by those simply using it to get high.
The most common and least invasive type of drug testing is urinary analysis. The testing method is easy, efficient, and can track methadone within an hour for up to 2 weeks following ingestion.
Saliva testing is not as common, but it can detect the drug within a half hour and up to several days after ingestion. Compared to blood or hair testing, saliva tests are more similar to urine samples in that they are quicker to track and more convenient to perform.
Blood testing is usually reserved for use in detox facilities alone. These tests can monitor methadone use within a half hour as well, but are used far less frequently than those above.
When it comes to hair testing, methadone is detected through the hair follicles. Depending on the person’s level of usage, it may be harder to detect methadone by using this method. If a person is a chronic user, it can be automatically detected because the drug has had time to accumulate in the hair.
Symptoms of Methadone Abuse
When carefully monitored, methadone is a successful replacement therapy drug used for addicts in detox. However, it is still an opiate and can be abused if not properly regulated. This category of drugs are addictive and can lead to overdose when abused.
Common symptoms to look out for, if you suspect someone you know, or love is abusing methadone, include vomiting, constipation, mood swings, and irregular sleep patterns. The shift in behavior may be subtle at first, but there is a noticeable difference from someone who is temporarily stressed out and someone who is drug dependent.
If you suspect someone you love may be abusing methadone or are concerned about their change in behavior, it’s better to confront the situation rather than brush it off. Due to its addictive properties, it means users will only continue to crave more of the drug on a more frequent basis. This leads to high risk of overdose, which could be fatal.
Symptoms of Methadone Overdose
It’s easy to become drug dependent on methadone, which is why it should never be used without the prescription and constant monitoring of a medical professional. When a person become dependent, they seek more of the drug to function “normally.” They don’t realize the damage being done to their body and mind.
Over time, addicts require more of the drug at more frequent intervals just to feel the same high as they did when first starting out. It’s because the body has adapted to having the drug in its system and has thrown the physiology of the body off balance.
Due to this constant craving for the drug, overdose is quite common and almost inevitable for addicts. Although it should be noted, overdose doesn’t only occur for those who have used for months or years. Overdose can happen to anyone at any time; whether it’s your first time to use or fortieth, a body’s reaction to methadone is unpredictable and may result in a critical situation.
Overdose symptoms present as extreme drowsiness, clammy skin, slowed breathing and heart rate, and fainting. A person who has overdosed must seek emergency medical attention right away.
Withdrawal from Methadone
Following an overdose or another primary factor, a person may choose to quit using methadone. However, once the body has become dependent on the drug when the person is no longer using, withdrawal symptoms will set in. Methadone and any other opiate make a person feel relaxed, euphoric, and pain-free. However, withdrawal symptoms may include muscle aches, spasms, shaking, and profuse sweating.
Those who have attempted to tackle quitting on their own have usually relapsed because the symptoms are too much to bear. They may refrain from using for a day or two, but then resume old habits because the body is in too much pain. The first few days of drug withdrawal are the hardest, which is why it is strongly recommended to undergo this in a detox or rehab facility.
Detox facilities are staffed with professionals who can help with the symptoms and provide support to get through the toughest times. Facilities are equipped to provide a comfortable and calm atmosphere for people who are serious about their sobriety.
Withdrawal symptoms usually last up to a week after the last time the drug is used and after the first few days, the symptoms should feel less severe. When a person detoxes in a regulated and secure space, it provides an opportunity to focus on regaining their health without the influence of outside factors. It’s not only the physical effects that can be painful during the withdrawal and subsequent recovery period, but the emotional stresses can also be overwhelming.
Detox is the first step towards a drug-free life. When addiction has put your health and well-being at risk, you’ll need continuous support to help you welcome a sober way of living.
Getting Addiction Treatment
Addiction affects millions of people every year. When using any drug, whether by prescription or not, it’s best to keep yourself educated on its effects and risks.
People concerned with how long methadone stays in the urine may not be concerned with the health risks. They may want only to pass a drug screening. Unfortunately, many “get clean” for testing periods only to use again. This is the beginning of substance abuse.
It may not seem like it at the time, especially if symptoms aren’t yet prevalent, or it hasn’t affected a person’s day-to-day life, but addiction is inevitable. The drug takes control of your body, not the other way around.
Addiction to methadone puts every aspect of a person’s life at risk even if they don’t feel like they have a dependency problem. However, there is good news for individuals who are ready to rid themselves of drug use forever. There are treatment facilities nationwide equipped with the resources and tools necessary for success. Everyone who seeks treatment must first go through the detox phase. From there, a person can choose from inpatient or outpatient care. In some cases, people opt for both.
Inpatient or Outpatient Care: Which Is Right for Me?
Inpatient treatment includes time spent at a facility with professional staff members providing support all hours of the day. Many addicts choose to detox and rehab in the same place with familiar support to help them achieve sobriety.
People who sign up for inpatient care are introduced to a routine and stability for a life without drugs. There are individual counseling and group therapy sessions, which are both essential to the recovery process. In many instances, facilities also provide access to classes to educate on addiction and tools for how to re-enter the world without being dependent on drugs.
Inpatient treatment requires a scheduled stay, which typically lasts for 28 days. It’s a chance to be separated from a chaotic environment that may be filled with temptations or influences for drug use when a person isn’t ready to face it on their own. By being fully immersed and focused on their health and wellness, it gives a person a chance to strengthen their body, mind, and spirit before returning to the outside world.
Outpatient care still possesses a structured environment. It allows a person to be closer to home and in the same space of their loved ones, which is the environment they may require to heal. Many times, people will choose a combination of inpatient and outpatient care to take time with the process. Once a person has completed their inpatient stay, they may feel that outpatient care is still necessary to keep them on the right track.
Each person’s recovery journey is different and requires a slightly different type of attention. There are those who may be going through detox for the first time. Others may have gone through detox and rehabilitation, but have recently faced a relapse. There are programs available which can be customized for each person.
Time to Get Help
Whichever path someone chooses will help them ultimately get to the sober lifestyle they need and deserve. A treatment plan accompanied by a strong support system makes the likelihood of sobriety that much better. There will be less of a chance of relapse and more of an opportunity for long-term health without drugs.
Suffering from addiction is tough to face alone. You don’t have to feel that way because we have help available 24/7.
If your loved one is suffering from addiction, find out the kind of aid available to them. Ultimately, they will have to make the decision for themselves to seek treatment, but you can lead them down a more positive path.
It’s not too late to make a change for a stronger future and choose to overcome addiction. Support is here when you or your loved one is ready.
T, Buddy. “How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?” Verywell Mind. 22 Sep. 2017. 7 Mar. 2019. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-methadone-stay-in-your-system-80282
“Methadone.” Drugs.ie. 7 Mar. 2019. http://www.drugs.ie/drugtypes/drug/methadone_opiate
“How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?” Addiction Resource. 7 Mar. 2019. https://addictionresource.com/drugs/methadone/how-long-methadone-stay-in-your-system/