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Methadone Detection Time – How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 11, 2019

Methadone can stay in the body for anywhere from 8 to 60 hours after the last dose. If you or a loved one is struggling with methadone addiction, there are numerous treatment options available.

What Is Methadone Used For?

Depending on a number of personal factors, methadone can stay in the system anywhere from eight to 60 hours. Methadone is in the opioid family and is used to help people go through the drug withdrawal process.

This opioid medication can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms for those who are withdrawing from opioids or narcotics such as heroin. Methadone can also be used in the management of pain when other medications have failed to work.

Methadone is most commonly offered in pill form but can also be administered as an injection. The effects of methadone are often felt within 30 minutes of taking and can last from eight to 12 hours.

Methadone is classified as a Schedule II narcotic drug by the DEA. This means that the risk for abuse, dependence, and addiction are very high and the drug should be used with caution. Taking it only as prescribed is the safest way to use methadone.

Factors That Influence How Long Methadone Stays In The System

How quickly methadone will leave the system will be different for everyone. There are many personal factors that will affect how long methadone is detectable in the body as well as the severity of drug abuse. Some of these include the following:

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Health And Age

The liver and kidneys, among other organs, must be in good health to effectively breakdown and eliminate drugs from the body. Unhealthy organs take longer to eliminate methadone from the system.

Younger people tend to be in better health and can therefore eliminate methadone from the body faster. However, an older person who is in good health may be able to eliminate methadone faster than a younger, unhealthy person.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Your BMR, or your basal metabolic rate, plays a significant role in how quickly methadone is broken down in the body. A higher BMR means that the drug will be eliminated faster than a low BMR.

Frequency And Amount Taken

Using methadone frequently and taking higher quantities of the drug will result in a higher amount of the drug being stored in the body. This can mean that methadone will be detectable in the system for a longer period of time.

Methadone Detection Time Based On Drug Test Type (Blood, Hair, Saliva, Urine)

Some people wonder whether methadone will show up on a drug test. While most drug tests can detect standard opioids in your system, most do not test for methadone. Therefore, specific tests must be used to detect methadone use.

The following tests have been developed to test specifically for methadone in the body:

  • Urine tests: Urine tests are the most popular form of testing for methadone use. A urine test can detect methadone in the urine an hour after use and up to two weeks after the last dose.
  • Hair tests: Methadone can take a few weeks to show up in the hair. For this reason, hair tests are best for detecting long-term methadone use and abuse. Methadone can be detected in the hair for several months.
  • Saliva Tests: Saliva tests can detect methadone in the system 30 minutes after ingestion and up to a few days after the last use.
  • Blood Tests: Methadone can be detected in the blood half an hour after taking the drug and for several days after the last use. However, blood tests are expensive and the most invasive form of testing, making them the least popular for testing methadone.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Like other opioids and narcotics, methadone can be addictive when taken for an extended period of time or abused. Abusing or taking methadone long term can result in physical dependence. This can increase the chances of withdrawal symptoms and addiction.

The more a person takes methadone, the more he or she will need to feel the same effects. Taking more methadone only increases the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms can arise a few days after the last dose taken and last anywhere from one to two weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • anxiety
  • stomach problems
  • diarrhea
  • insomnia
  • loss of appetite
  • shakiness
  • body aches
  • vomiting
  • excessive sweating

Treatment For Methadone Addiction

If someone is worried about whether or not methadone will be detectable in the system, he or she may be dealing with an addiction to the drug. If you or a loved one is suffering from methadone addiction, it’s important to know that help is available.

While methadone is often used to treat addiction to opioids such as heroin, treatment for addiction to methadone is also common. Most individuals will need to begin treatment with a medically monitored detox program.

A detox program will ensure that the patient is able to withdraw from methadone comfortably and safely. Once the detox process is complete, an inpatient treatment program may be recommended.

Inpatient treatment programs are the most intensive and often most successful form of addiction treatment. This type of treatment requires individuals to live at the rehab facility for several weeks and participate in a daily and intensive treatment program.

To learn more about methadone detection time and getting treatment for methadone addiction, contact our dedicated treatment specialists today.

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