How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

Methadone is a medication most commonly used in the treatment of heroin or other opioid addiction. This drug is typically administered during medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and works by easing symptoms of withdrawal and reducing cravings for opioids. Methadone may also be used to treat pain, as it is typically less expensive than other pain medications such as morphine.

Methadone can be detected in the body for up to two weeks after the last use. There are several factors that may influence how long this drug is in the system.

If you or a loved one is struggling with methadone abuse or addiction, seeking treatment is the best way to overcome a substance use disorder.

Vertava Health has treatment centers throughout the United States that offer evidence-based recovery programs for people dealing with methadone addiction.

How Long Does Methadone Stay In The Body?

Opinions about the exact amount of time methadone can stay in the system vary drastically, with reports being anywhere from two to 14 days.

However, the drug is typically only active in the system for up to 60 hours after ingesting it.

This means that while the drug may still be detectable in the system for much longer, the effects of the drug will have completely worn off after two to three days.

The half-life of methadone can vary greatly depending on whether the individual is tolerant to opioids.

For a person who is used to taking opioids, such as someone addicted to heroin, the half-life of methadone is typically around 24 hours.

However, for someone who is not used to taking opioids, the half-life can be up to 55 hours. After five to six half-lives have passed, the drug is typically the system.

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Drug Tests Used To Detect Methadone

There are a number of drug tests that can be used to detect methadone in a person’s system. The most common test used is a urine test. Urine tests are often the least invasive and most accurate at detecting substances in a person’s body.

The following are the different types of drug tests that can detect methadone and their approximate times of detection:

  • Urine Tests — Can detect methadone one hour after ingestion and up to two weeks after the last use
  • Blood Tests — May detect the drug as soon as 30 minutes after taking it and up to three or four days after the last use
  • Saliva Tests — Can be used to test for methadone use for several days after using the drug
  • Hair Tests — Long-term use of methadone can be detected in the hair for several months after using the drug

Each test can vary in how long it can detect methadone in the system depending on a number of personal factors. However, it’s typically believed that methadone will be completely the body after 14 days.

Health Factors That Influence How Long It Stays In The System

As mentioned previously, there are several factors that can influence how long methadone stays in a person’s system.

To begin, the more methadone a person uses, the more ly he or she is to have the drug in the system longer. This is also true for individuals who take methadone for an extended period of time.

Methadone can build up in the system, causing it to be detectable in the body longer than if someone only takes it once or twice.

Additionally, people who are younger and in better shape will typically be able to eliminate methadone from their systems faster than individuals who are older and less healthy. This is because younger, healthier individuals often have faster metabolisms, making it easier for the body to process and rid itself of the drug more quickly.

Side Effects

If you are researching how long methadone stays in the system, you may be struggling with methadone abuse or addiction. While this drug is certainly beneficial in medical settings, it also comes with the risk of abuse and addiction. And, other opioids, abusing methadone can cause a number of side effects and potential dangers.

Potential side effects of methadone abuse include:

  • clammy skin
  • cardiac problems, including cardiac arrest
  • constipation
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • excess sweating
  • trouble sleeping
  • decreased heart rate
  • coma
  • overdose
  • convulsions

People who abuse methadone are also at an increased risk of overdose. with other opioids, methadone overdose can be dangerous and even deadly if not properly treated.

Getting Assistance and Resources For Abuse And Addiction Treatment

Struggling with methadone abuse or addiction can be incredibly hard and can impact every aspect of a person’s life. While methadone addiction may feel all-consuming and lonely, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. There are several treatment options available to overcome methadone addiction and begin a new life in sobriety.

Vertava Health offers a number of different treatment programs for people suffering from substance use disorders. To learn more about methadone detection times or the addiction programs we have available, contact an Vertava Health’ treatment specialist today. Call us at 615-208-2941.


How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your Urine, Blood & Hair?

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

Methadone is most known for its use in treating opioid addiction. Methadone is an opioid, but it lacks many of the risks associated with other opioids. It’s a synthetic drug that impacts the body in much the same way as codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, but is less potent.

Methadone also remains in the body for longer – between 40 and 300 hours – than other opioids.

Doctors prescribe methadone to ease the pain and other unpleasant symptoms of opioid withdrawal. It’s one of the most common drugs used in medication-assisted treatment/therapy (MAT). It is also used to treat chronic pain. 

People recovering from opioid use disorder receive a maintenance dose that prevents withdrawal symptoms without triggering a high or sedation. This dose can be used for months or years to help addicted individuals maintain sobriety. However, methadone is addictive, so the longer it’s used the higher the risk of developing an addiction.

Generally considered safe, methadone is addictive and triggers similar side effects to other opioids. It’s important to use methadone exactly as directed by medical professionals. 

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

Here is how long methadone stays in your urine, hair, blood, and saliva:


Methadone is detectable for about seven days after the last dose in a urine test. Urine tests are one of the most common methods of drug testing, despite having low to moderate accuracy due to the pH of urine changing the accuracy of the test results.


Methadone is detectable in hair follicles for up to 90 days. This is similar to other opioids and pain medications. Traces of the drug end up in hair follicles after traveling through the bloodstream and show up in hair tests. 


Blood tests show traces of methadone for about four to five days after the last dose.


Saliva tests detect methadone for up to 48 hours after the last dose. It has the smallest detection window of any drug test.

Factors That Affect How Long Methadone Stays in Your System

A variety of factors influence how long methadone stays in someone’s system. These include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Liver function
  • Metabolism
  • Duration of use
  • Frequency of use
  • Use of other substances
  • Dosage amount

How Long Does it Take for Methadone to Work? 

Methadone begins working quickly. It is detectable in the blood within 30 minutes of ingestion. It reaches peak concentrations in about four hours. These times vary slightly the individual user. In rare cases, it takes several hours for the drug to take effect.

How Long Does it Take for Methadone to Wear Off? 

For most people, pain relief from methadone lasts about four to eight hours. However, traces of the drug remain in the body and less noticeable effects occur for as long as 60 hours after dosage. 

What is the Drug’s Half-Life?

Methadone has a half-life of about 24 to 55 hours. A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the dosage to clear the body.

An entire dose of methadone is usually eliminated from the body after five half-life cycles. This can take up to 14 days, which means traces of the drug are detectable for at least this long. Long-term, heavy opioid use increases how long it takes for the drug to clear a person’s system.

How Long is Methadone Detectable in a Drug Test?

Because methadone has such a long and varied half-life, traces of the drug can be detectable in the system for up to two weeks after using the drug. 

How to Get Methadone Your System 

The only way to get methadone your system is to stop using it and wait. Your body’s natural metabolizing process rids it of the drug over time. 

Metabolizing the drug happens faster for some people than others, but you can’t make it go faster by drinking water, exercising, or doing anything other than stopping the use of the drug. 

Symptoms of Methadone Addiction

Methadone is very addictive. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to use the drug as prescribed by your doctor. 

Symptoms of a methadone addiction are similar to addiction to other opioids and include:

  • Spending a lot of time trying to obtain methadone
  • Using higher doses than prescribed by your doctor
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the drug
  • Neglecting responsibilities and obligations to use methadone
  • Neglecting important relationships to use methadone
  • Breaking the law or betraying the trust of loved ones to get money to buy methadone

People addicted to methadone have a high risk of overdose. This drug must be taken as directed by your doctor and for no longer than necessary. Your doctor can also help you manage any withdrawal symptoms you experience if you stop using methadone. 

Symptoms of methadone withdrawal are the same as other opioid withdrawal symptoms and include:

  • Stomach cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drug cravings
  • Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chills
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Body aches and pains
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Water eyes 
  • Runny nose

Treatment Options for Opioid Abuse & Addiction

There are several options for people suffering from opioid addiction. These include:

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

There are three medications approved to treat opioid use disorder: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone.

Buprenorphine and methadone can help you manage withdrawal symptoms throughout the detoxification process.

Naltrexone is less commonly used, but it blocks your opioid receptors, making it impossible to get high. Medication-assisted therapy is most effective when combined with other forms of treatment.

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient programs are the most intensive and effective treatment options for opioid addiction.

These programs guide you through medically supervised detoxification, then behavioral therapy and other services (possibly including MAT), will be added to your treatment.

They typically last 30, 60, or 90 days. However, they may be longer if necessary.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

PHPs are also known as intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). They are the next most intensive type of treatment for opioid addiction. They provide similar services to inpatient programs such as detoxification, behavioral therapy medical services, and custom treatments such as MAT.

The difference is that in a PHP, the patient returns home to sleep. Some programs will include transportation and meals, but this varies by program.

Partial hospitalization programs are helpful for both new patients and patients who have completed inpatient treatment and still need intensive recovery therapy.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs work best for people who have a high level of motivation to recover. They create treatment programs that work around your schedule.

These programs can either be an effective treatment option for new patients or a part of an aftercare program for people who complete inpatient or partial hospitalization programs.

Treatment Options for Methadone Addiction 

People seeking treatment for methadone addiction can choose between inpatient and outpatient treatment. However, since some addictions evolved from using methadone to treat other opioid addiction, more intensive treatment options are often necessary. 

Additionally, medically assisted detox is recommended. Withdrawal symptoms are severe and unpleasant. Having medical supervision during this time ensures patients have round-the-clock care and are able to better manage symptoms. 

Suboxone is prescribed to many people transitioning off of methadone use. If suboxone is not an option, doctors gradually decrease methadone dosage amounts to ease withdrawal symptoms. The less intense a person’s withdrawal symptoms the less ly they are to relapse during this time. 

Note: using suboxone while methadone is still in the system will cause precipitated withdrawals. You have to wait at least 72 hours and must be showing signs of withdrawal.

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