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

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

Medically reviewed by

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

February 11, 2019

Tramadol can stay in the system up to seven days after the last use, but depends on many personal factors. If you or a loved one is struggling with Tramadol addiction, help is only a phone call away.

Tramadol Detection Time Based On Drug Test Type

Tramadol can be detected in the body up to four days after the last dose is taken. Tramadol is an opioid drug that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. This drug may be administered after surgery or when more mild opioids do not work.

Tramadol is classified as a Schedule IV medication, which is given to narcotics that have a far lower abuse potential. Tramadol is considerably less potent than other opioids. However, the liver converts it into a stronger drug.

Because Tramadol was perceived to be such a safe and harmless drug, many physicians freely prescribed it up until 2015. This resulted in recreational use and addiction of the drug. It was finally listed on the controlled substance list in 2014 and became better managed in 2015.

Tramadol cannot be tested for using a normal drug test. Advanced testing is needed to test for the presence of prescription drugs such as tramadol in the system.

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The following are the drug test types available for testing tramadol:

  • Saliva Test — can detect tramadol for no longer than one day after the last dose taken
  • Urine Test — can detect tramadol within two hours of ingesting and up to approximately two days
  • Hair Test — can detect the drug for one month to several months after use
  • Blood Test — can detect the drug for roughly a day after taking

Factors That Affect How Long Tramadol Is Detectable In The Body

The half-life of tramadol is around six to seven hours, which means the drug should be effectively out of the system after two days. However, many other factors can determine how long tramadol lingers.

There are many personal factors that influence how long tramadol will be detectable in a person’s system, including:

BMI (Body Mass Index)

Someone’s body fat/body mass can influence how long tramadol is in the system. Those with a higher body mass will typically have the drug in the body longer. Additionally, tramadol can build up in someone’s body fat, storing it longer than someone with little body fat.

Health

A person’s health can play a large role in how quickly tramadol can be broken down. The drug is metabolized in the liver and processed through the kidneys. If these two organs are not healthy and working properly, it can take much longer for tramadol to be metabolized and eliminated.

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

Someone’s basal metabolic rate, or how efficiently their body uses energy while resting, can also influence how long tramadol is detectable in the system. Someone with a higher BMR has a faster metabolism and is able to rid the body of the drug quicker. Additionally, a high BMR usually means lower body fat, which also affects how long the drug is in the system.

Dose And Frequency Taken

How much someone takes and how often they take tramadol can also impact how long they have the drug in their system. Someone who takes more of the drug will have more of it in their system longer. Similarly, taking the drug often can result in a buildup of tramadol in the system. This means it will be detectable for a longer period of time.

Age

It is believed that older individuals have tramadol in their system for a longer period of time than younger patients. This could be because older people typically have slower metabolisms as well as less efficient blood flow. They also may be taking other medications that can interfere with the metabolization of tramadol.

Other Drugs

Taking tramadol with other drugs can also affect how quickly or slowly tramadol is metabolized and eliminated from the system. There are certain drugs that can affect how quickly the body is able to metabolize tramadol. Speaking with your doctor about other medications you are taking before taking tramadol is important.

Consequences Of Having Too Much Tramadol In Your System

As with many other drugs, tramadol should be taken as prescribed by your doctor. Taking more than prescribed or having too much tramadol in the system at once can result in serious side effects.

Severe side effects may include:

  • seizures
  • hives
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • swelling of the face, feet, or legs
  • hallucinations
  • unconsciousness
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • blisters
  • rash

If any of these side effects are experienced, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Tramadol can also be habit-forming, especially when it is taken for an extended period of time. Taking tramadol with other medications or alcohol can also be dangerous and have severe consequences.

Why Someone May Be Tested For Tramadol

Someone may be tested for tramadol for many reasons. For example, when starting a new job, the hiree may be asked to take a drug screen test to identify any drug abuse before being hired. Someone may also be asked to take a drug test by a doctor before getting a new prescription.

Getting Help For Tramadol Abuse And Addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to tramadol, a formal addiction treatment program may be needed. Because tramadol is an opioid, many people will need to attend a medically supervised detox program to safely withdraw from the drug.

Once this is complete, he or she may be recommended to move on to an inpatient treatment program. These are often an effective solution and offer intensive, round-the-clock care.

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