Methadone stays in your system for about 5 to 11 days after the last use. However, drug tests may detect methadone use for up to 90 days later. On average, the detection windows for methadone are significantly longer than other opioids.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist that can reduce opioid cravings, manage opioid withdrawal, and offer chronic pain relief. It is only prescribed by certified providers as a medication-assisted treatment option for opioid use disorders.
Drug tests may test for methadone if you have a methadone prescription and are enrolled in an opioid addiction treatment program. If you are showing side effects of methadone or methadone withdrawal symptoms, you may be subject to a test from your healthcare provider or employer.
Half-Life Of Methadone
Half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for a drug to decrease to 50% of its maximum concentration after consumption.
How long methadone stays in a person’s system is connected to its half-life. After five half-life cycles, most substances are almost completely eliminated from the body.
The half-life of methadone can range from 24 to 55 hours. The wide-range of methadone’s half-life is based on the patient’s opioid tolerance. Patients who practice regular opioid use may experience shorter half-lives compared to “opioid-naive” patients.
Patients without an opioid tolerance will also experience the effects of methadone for a longer length of time, compared to patients who are opioid-tolerant.
Drug Tests & Detection Times For Methadone Use
Drug tests for methadone may test for methadone metabolites, or components that result from the drug’s absorption into the body. Methadone’s metabolites are dolophine and methadose, which are unique to this drug.
Routine methadone drug testing may occur while you are on a methadone maintenance treatment plan or detox from fentanyl, codeine, oxycodone, or other opiates that cause opioid dependence.
How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your Urine?
Urine tests can detect methadone use for up to 14 days after the last dose. After it passes through the body, a large percentage of methadone is excreted through the urine.
Urine tests are convenient, non-invasive, and accurate. Drug testing through urine is a common, preferred method for both healthcare providers and patients alike. However, urine tests have a risk of tampering, causing some providers to look for other testing methods.
Saliva tests can have a slightly smaller detection window compared to urine tests. Methadone metabolites may be found in oral fluid for almost 2 weeks after the last use.
Saliva tests are less invasive than urine tests. They are simple to perform and can return results quickly, but may be pricier due to their shorter detection window.
Blood tests can detect methadone use for up to 11 days after the last use. The detection time for a blood test is synonymous with the drug’s absorption into a person’s system.
Blood tests are more invasive compared to urine and saliva tests, though they can be highly accurate. Blood tests may be reserved for hospitalized patients who show signs of drug addiction and withdrawal.
Hair tests can detect methadone and its metabolites for up to 90 days after the last use. Methadone can reach hair follicles through the bloodstream, where they remain as the hair grows.
Substance Use Disorder Treatment
Drug tests are a common element of the opioid addiction treatment process, but they may also test for methadone if illicit drug use is suspected. The use of methadone is heavily regulated, but there is still a risk of side effects especially if the drug is taken improperly or abused.
Patients may be instructed on proper methadone use at an opioid addiction treatment center. Treatment centers may offer detoxification programs, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, support groups, and other treatment options.
To find out if our outpatient recovery center is a good fit for you or your loved one, please contact us today.
- ARUP Laboratories — Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — How effective are medications to treat opioid use disorder?
- Pharmacy and Therapeutics — Keeping Patients Safe From Methadone Overdoses
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Methadone