How Long Does Concerta Stay In Your System?

Concerta will usually be out of your body within a few days, but some tests can detect it up to three months since your last dose.

How long this ADHD medication stays in your body can differ from person to person. It depends on whether you’re abusing the drug, what your overall health is like, and the dosage you take. Depending on the drug test, Concerta may be detected for up to four days after last use.

Concerta is the brand name for methylphenidate, a central nervous system stimulant medication that’s used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the sleep disorder narcolepsy. It’s very similar to Ritalin as it has the same active ingredient.

Concerta works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. This increase is what helps ease the symptoms of ADHD. Concerta is also classified as a schedule II controlled substance by the DEA and FDA.

How Long Does Concerta Stay In Your System?

Concerta has a half-life of 3.5 hours which means half the dosage exits the body in that amount of time. This is a relatively short half-life compared to most medications. Theoretically, that means the drug would completely exit the body at around 7 hours, but that’s not always the case.

When you take Concerta, you can start feeling the effects within 30-60 minutes, but it can remain effective for anywhere from 8-12 hours. It can stay in the body even longer (2-4 days), but it depends on a number of factors.

Factors That Affect How Long Concerta Stays In Your System

Quite a few factors can affect how long the ADHD medication stays in your system. These factors can include:

  • age
  • overall health
  • how long you’ve taken the drug
  • whether you’re abusing it or not (orally, snorting, smoking, etc)
  • formulation and dose of concerta
  • liver health
  • metabolism
  • genetics

Drug Testing For Concerta

How long Concerta can be detected with a drug test is different than how long the drug actually stays in your system. Some drugs tests can detect stimulant drug use months after you’ve taken it.

The type of drug screenings used to detect Concerta, as well as their detection times, include:

  • hair test: detectable in hair follicles for up to 90 days
  • saliva test: not usually used but can detect Concerta for 1-3 days
  • urine test: can detect Concerta from 2-4 days later
  • blood test: can detect Concerta up to 4 days after it was taken

Side Effects Of Concerta

When taking Concerta, there is a chance of certain side effects showing up. Some may appear and go away once the drug leaves your system, but others can linger.

The most common side effects of Concerta include loss of appetite, dry mouth, weight loss, and increased blood pressure.

Dependence & Withdrawal

If you abuse Concerta or take a high dose over a long period of time, you can build up a dependence on the drug. This means your body can no longer function properly without the drug.

If you try to quit taking the medication once you’ve built up a dependence, withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur. Common stimulant withdrawal symptoms include irregular heart rate and blood pressure, mood swings, and anxiety.

If you or a loved one live with stimulant drug abuse or addiction, please contact us today for information on our outpatient treatment programs.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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