Opioid use disorders and addiction are severe problems affecting the health of several million people across the globe.
In 2015, an estimated 2.4 million people in the United States had opioid use disorder problems, including prescription opioids and other illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, opium, and many more.
Approximately half a million clients across the globe are currently receiving methadone in opioid treatment programs.
Individuals involved in methadone addiction and abuse are also increasingly alarming.
It is worth learning ‘how long methadone stays in your system,’ especially if you use this opioid medication or a drug abuse rehabilitation professional.
You can determine if you have methadone by testing your blood, urine, saliva, and hair for drugs.
What Is Methadone?
Methadone is an opioid prescription medication. In the US, it is available under different brand names such as Diskettes Dispersible, Dolophine, Methadone HCl Intensol, or Methadone.
This opioid drug comes in tablet, injection, or white crystalline powder form.
Methadone is a narcotic, analgesic, synthetic, and opioid drug. Usually, doctors prescribe it for pain, especially cancer and neuropathic pain.
In the United States, this opioid drug first appeared in 1960 as a maintenance treatment for drug addiction.
According to a report published by Evidence-Based Practice in Palliative Medicine, methadone is an μ-opioid agonist, which means it activates μ-opioid (morphine-preferring) receptors in the nerve cells.’
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that methadone helps change how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It is beneficial for reducing or eliminating the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
Methadone blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as codeine, morphine, and heroin. It is also useful for managing the withdrawal symptoms of semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?
Methadone can stay in your system for several days after you stop using it.
On average, methadone is expected to stay in your body for 8 to 59 hours, depending on the frequency and dosage of the drug used.
According to some drug testing reports, methadone can stay in the body for 44 hours to 13.5 days after the last dose.
Half-Life and Peak Levels of Methadone
Methadone reaches its peak plasma concentration level 4 hours after ingesting the drug.
If you use this drug through oral ingestion, it takes at least 30 minutes to detect the drug in the plasma.
When the drug’s concentration in the blood is at its highest, it has the most effect on the body.
The half-life of a drug is the period required for the concentration or amount of drug in the body to be reduced by half.
The half-life of methadone ranges between 8 and 59 hours. On average, the half-life of methadone is about 24 hours.
The drug’s half-life can vary from person to person depending on the dosage, frequency, and extended-release nature of the tablet.
Initially, the liver breaks down the opioid drugs into metabolites. A significant portion of these metabolites gets eliminated via urine through the functions of the kidney.
A minor portion of the drug’s metabolites will be eliminated from the body via breath, sweat, breast milk, or saliva.
The presence of methadone metabolites in the body is detectable by testing urine, blood, saliva, or hair samples.
How long does methadone stay in your urine?
A urine test is the most reliable and easy drug testing method to identify the presence of methadone in your system. It is both non-invasive and easy to perform.
In a urine test, the detection window for methadone lasts 6 to 12 days.
The metabolites of methadone become detectable in urine within an hour of ingestion. The detection period for the metabolites of drugs in the urine varies depending on many factors.
How long does methadone stay in your blood?
If you use methadone orally, it becomes detectable in the blood within half an hour.
This drug reaches its peak plasma concentration within 4 hours after ingesting it.
According to verified facts from the past, methadone in the blood can be detected for up to 2.5 days. However, a person using this drug at a higher dose and more frequently might show up with the drug in the blood between 3 and 6 days.
Knowing ‘how long methadone stays in the blood’ is very useful for persons working at rehabilitation centers. They can easily identify those who abuse or are addicted to methadone by testing the patient’s blood.
The presence of methadone metabolites in saliva tends to correlate with its level in the blood.
Methadone will be detectable in saliva within 30 minutes of ingestion.
Typically, this drug can be traced up to 60 hours after the last dose you had in your saliva. However, for chronic users of methadone, the saliva test can turn positive for the drug for up to a week.
How long does methadone stay in your hair?
The liver breaks down methadone into metabolites (EDDP), and most of it will get excreted out of the body through urine.
Some portions of the metabolites of this drug, carried by the capillaries, get bound up in hair follicles. The metabolites of this drug are traceable in your hair only after a week of using it.
As a person uses this regularly for a considerable amount of time, more and more metabolites accumulate in their hair.
Usually, the metabolites of methadone are traceable in the hair of the user for up to 90 days.
Factors Influencing the Metabolization
As we try to discover ‘for how long Methadone stays in your body,’ it is essential to learn about the factors that speed up or slow down the Metabolization of drugs.
When two people take the same dosage of methadone simultaneously, they may have different times for eliminating the drug from their systems.
Factors that determine how long methadone stays in the system are:
Age: Healthy and young people would get rid of the drug from their bodies faster than the older ones. It is because young people have a high metabolic rate and healthy functioning of the liver and kidneys.
Body Weight: Healthy individuals with high body mass usually get the drug out of their system faster.
Traits from your genes: Genes have much to do with your health and how your body works. The presence of certain genes helps to enhance the production of some of the enzymes involved in the metabolism of drugs like methadone.
Healthy Liver: The liver metabolizes methadone. Persons with healthy liver function can synthesize and eliminate the drug faster from their system.
Metabolic Rate: People with high metabolic rates have the advantage of faster metabolism and eliminating drugs from their bodies. Healthy diets and active lifestyles help increase the metabolic rate of the body.
Dosage and Frequency: Using methadone for an extended period or at high doses stores the drug in fat cells and hair follicles. High drug doses may exceed the liver’s capacity to metabolize it faster. This can lead to methadone staying in your system for a longer time.
How Does Your Body Absorb and Distribute Methadone?
The rate of a drug’s absorption and distribution by the body significantly impacts how long it stays in your body.
If you are ingesting methadone in tablet form, an intense drug concentration can be detected in your blood within 30 minutes to one hour. The gastrointestinal tract quickly absorbs and digests the drug and transfers its properties into your bloodstream.
Methadone injection has a higher absorption rate. It is detectable in the blood within 20 minutes after the methadone injection.
Methadone is a soluble lipid drug. It can penetrate the phospholipid layers of the cells and tissues throughout the body.
The liver metabolizes this drug into two major metabolites.2-ethylidene-1.5-dimethyl-3.3-diphenylpyrrolidine (EDDP) and 2-ethyl-5-methyl-3, 3-diphenyl-1-pyrroline (EMDP). Methadol and normethadol are two other minor metabolites separated by the liver from this drug.
The liver also extracts the inactive metabolites from this drug, such as EMPD and EDDP, which will soon be excreted through the bile and renal functions of the body.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the metabolites of methadone enter the systemic circulation, and some portion of them can remain lodged in the body for several weeks.
How Is Methadone Excreted From Your System?
Over 90 percent of the metabolites from this drug get excreted via urine. The rest is expelled from the body through bile, sweat, and feces.
A small amount of metabolites also gets lodged in the hair, disappearing after a few months as the hair grows longer or falls off.
The portion of the drug that is not metabolized also leaves the body via urine.
The half-life of methadone varies between 8 and 59 hours. On average, 33.5 hours after using the drug, half of this opioid medication will be excreted from the body.
In a normally healthy person, it takes about 8 days for the drug to be fully eliminated.
How To Get Rid Of Methadone From The System Fast?
After you stop using the drug, your body gradually eliminates the residues of the drug from your system.
However, the drug’s metabolites staying in the body are partially responsible for causing methadone withdrawal symptoms and cravings for this drug. So, getting the drug out of the system is necessary, especially for those undergoing treatment for methadone addiction and disorders.
By exercising and eating foods that burn fat, you can speed up getting rid of the drug.
Adopt a lifestyle that involves active exercise and healthy diets. A healthy lifestyle improves your metabolic rate and helps in the faster elimination of drugs from your body.
Drinking more water and liquid foods maximizes renal functions and increases the frequency of urination.
You can also try out specially-made supplements for opioid detox and clearance from the body.
Enhanced function for the kidneys and liver reduces the duration of methadone’s stay in your system.
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