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How Long Does Oxycodone Stay In Your System?

how long oxycodone stays in your system

What is oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an opiate commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. A naturally-occurring opiate alkaloid called thebaine is the building block of this semi-synthetic opiate drug. Marketed under the brand name OxyContin, Percodan, or Roxicet, oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II substance in the US Controlled Substances Act, which means it has a high potential for misuse, despite its medical purposes.

Historically, oxycodone has been a very popular drug of abuse.1 Oxycodone produces feelings of euphoria and relaxation. When taken in high doses, these effects are more powerful, which is why it’s often misused. Drugs like heroin, hydrocodone, and morphine produce similar effects.

Typically, people who misuse it crush and sniff the tablets or dissolve the powder in water and inject it. Others heat an oxycodone tablet in a piece of foil and then inhale the vapors. Chronic misuse of oxycodone can lead to overdose, physical dependence, and addiction.

Related post: Can I Quit Drugs Cold Turkey On My Own?

What factors affect how your body processes opiates?

Despite their powerful effects, opiates tend to clear the body quickly due to their short half-lives. (A half-life is the duration of time it takes for the amount of a drug’s active substance to reduce by half.) It takes several half-lives to eliminate a drug from your system entirely. However, this timeframe also depends on how long your body takes to process the oxycodone. The following factors influence that:

  • How you ingested the drug
  • How frequently you use it
  • The dosage you typically take
  • The speed of your metabolism
  • Your body fat content
  • How old you are
  • Your overall liver and kidney health
  • How much water is in your body (hydration levels)

How long does oxycodone stay in your system?

The half-life of oxycodone is three to five hours.2 That means it takes about three to five hours for half of the dose to be eliminated from your bloodstream. In most cases, oxycodone use is detectable within one to three hours of taking it.3 

Oxycodone drug test detection times

Although most people will clear oxycodone from their bodies within a day, it’s still detectable for up to 90 days. We’ve included an estimated range of times that oxycodone is detectable by certain types of drug tests below.

  • Saliva: Oxycodone use is detectable in saliva within a few minutes of taking it. It can be detected with a saliva test for up to 48 hours.4
  • Urine: With a urine test, a person will test positive for oxycodone within one to three hours of using it. Oxycodone is detectable in the urine for one to four days after using it.3
  • Hair: Oxycodone is detectable in the hair for up to 90 days.
  • Blood: Oxycodone use is detectable in blood for up to 24 hours.

Most drug screening tests for employment and medical purposes will include screening for oxycodone. Although these are just estimated ranges of times or detection windows, which can vary from person to person, they are reliable.

How long does it take to feel the effects of oxycodone?

About 10 to 15 minutes after taking oxycodone as directed by a doctor, you’ll start to feel its pain-relieving effects. People typically feel peak pain-relieving effects about 30 to 60 minutes after taking a dose.5 However, this also depends on what forms of oxycodone you take, how you ingest it, and your dosage.

If you take oxycodone intravenously or by sniffing it, you’ll likely feel its effects immediately after taking it.

Typical effects of oxycodone include:

  • Pain relief
  • Euphoria 
  • Sedation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Constipation
  • Cough suppression

Oxycodone will exacerbate these effects.

How long does it take for oxycodone effects to wear off?

Generally, you’ll stop feeling the effects of oxycodone before it fully clears from your body. However, the duration of time it takes for the effects to wear off vary from person to person. If you use oxycodone for a long time or at a higher dosage than your doctor recommends, you’re likely to develop a tolerance, which means you’ll need to take more to feel the same effects. You may also start experiencing withdrawal symptoms after the effects of oxycodone wear off, which can be very uncomfortable and may encourage you to take more just to feel “normal.”

If you’re accustomed to misusing oxycodone to get high, you might also take more of the drug than is physically safe, which can cause an overdose. Symptoms of an oxycodone overdose include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Coma 
  • Death 

Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms

Taking high doses of oxycodone regularly to get high increases your likelihood of becoming addicted. If you’re addicted to oxycodone, you’ll likely crave it and “need” it to feel normal. If you’re addicted to it or physically dependent on oxycodone, you might start experiencing withdrawal symptoms about six hours after taking a dose. Some people who take it consistently might experience oxycodone withdrawal symptoms even more quickly after they take a dose.

Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms can be very painful and uncomfortable and may include:6

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased tearing
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Physical withdrawal symptoms often last for a few days, but psychological symptoms like cravings, anxiety, depression, and mood swings may last longer. This is called post-acute withdrawal symptoms or PAWS.

Oxycodone detox program in Austin and Houston

Doctors and medical professionals never recommend abruptly quitting oxycodone, especially if you’re taking it regularly or addicted to it. Instead, a gradual tapering off the drug is the safest, most comfortable, and most effective way to stop using it and break your physical dependence. Typically, tapering produces less severe physical withdrawal symptoms than quitting cold turkey.

Medication-assisted treatment or MAT is typically recommended for people who are physically dependent or addicted to oxycodone. During an oxycodone detox program, treatment professionals may use Suboxone or Subutex to ease the process and ensure that clients are safe and comfortable throughout detox.

Sometimes the tapering process can still be difficult. Oxycodone detox in Austin and Houston can provide counseling and professional and peer support, in addition to medical treatment to encourage long-lasting success in recovery. A detox program will also provide recommendations for ongoing care, such as residential drug rehab in Austin or outpatient rehab in Austin.

Related post: OxyContin vs. Oxycodone: What’s the Difference?

Get help for oxycodone addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with oxycodone addiction, the caring professionals at Briarwood Detox Center can help. We provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction and offer 12-Step based counseling and evidence-based therapeutic methods to help you establish a stable foundation in recovery. Please contact us online or call (512) 262-4426 today to get started.

References:

  1. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Oxycodone-2020_0.pdf 
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17525040/ 
  3. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/drugs-abuse-tests/drugs-abuse-home-use-test 
  4. https://supremecourt.nebraska.gov/sites/default/files/Programs/CIP/events/redwood/LAB_Reference_Guide.pdf
  5. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-oxycodone-stay-in-your-system-80297
  6. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm 

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