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 How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System? 

Estimated reading time: 31 minute(s)

Millions of people across the world use opioids for pain relief. This umbrella term includes various substances, some coming from nature while others being manufactured in laboratories through synthetic processes. Oxycodone is one of the most popular opioid drugs with very high potency and efficacy levels. Experts usually prescribe it to help people deal with high pain levels, such as postoperative pain and pain due to cancer. While the efficacy of oxycodone remains undebatable, different people may respond to it differently depending on how long it remains in their system. When it comes to determining how long does oxycodone stay in your system, there are several factors to consider.

How Low Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System? The Determining Factors

Several factors affect how the body affects and metabolizes oxycodone. Some may increase how long it sticks around, while others may speed up the rate at which the body metabolizes oxycodone. Let’s take a look at these factors and find out:

Age

In general, aging slows down the metabolism, and as a result, older adults may break down oxycodone much more slowly than young adults. The medication may keep accumulating in the body, putting older people at risk of falls. Moreover, it may cause drowsiness and dizziness in such age groups, even when they are taking it as prescribed.

Formulation

Oxycodone is available in various short- and long-acting formulations. People who take longer-acting formulations may take longer to eliminate the drug.

Genetics

Certain people break down and process oxycodone much more quickly than others based on their genetic structure. Oxycodone requires certain liver enzymes for efficient metabolism, such as CYP2D6 and CYP34A enzymes. Some people have higher levels of these liver enzymes by birth, making their bodies more efficient at dealing with and eliminating oxycodone.

Kidney Health

People with ongoing kidney issues may have difficulty excreting oxycodone from the system. This is because the kidneys act as the main organ responsible for secreting this medication. As a result, oxycodone may accumulate in the body and persist inside for much longer.

Liver Health

The liver is responsible for breaking down most drugs a person ingests, including oxycodone. A person with liver problems may, therefore, require more time to fully excrete it from the body.

Weight

Most adults metabolize oxycodone at the same rate, and body weight may not play a major factor in the process. However, it may play a key role in certain people, such as extremely underweight or overweight.

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

Many employers and companies make drug testing a mandatory precaution that every employee must undergo to ensure that they are reliable and productive. This testing may also be needed in parole, workmen’s compensation cases, competitive athletics, child custody disputes, and other similar cases. While many people believe that all types of drug testing are the same or look for the same drug, experts disagree. There are different drug testing methods, each using a different form and with different detection times.

How long does oxycodone stay in your system depends on the preferred choice of drug test.

How long does oxycodone stay in your urine?

Urine testing is the most common drug test used to detect oxycodone and other substance use. As the body breaks down oxy, it releases various metabolites and byproducts that pass through the kidneys and make their way into the urine. These byproducts are specific to each drug a person consumes and can remain in urine for different time duration. For oxycodone, this time duration is 4 days following the last dose.

How long does oxycodone stay in your saliva?

Many companies turn to saliva testing to check for substance use as it is less invasive and easy to perform. However, its window for accurately detecting substance use is considerably smaller than urine testing. In the case of oxycodone, it may remain positive in saliva from up to a few minutes following the last dose up to 48 hours.

How long does oxycodone stay in your hair?

Like urine testing, hair testing also detects any metabolic byproducts released as the body breaks down oxycodone. As the body metabolizes this drug, its byproducts can flow through the blood to reach the scalp and accumulate in growing hair. Hair has been known to serve as a months-long log of what an individual consumes and digests. In the case of oxycodone, hair testing can provide positive results up to 90 days following the last dose. However, hair testing is less common as most pre-employment checks aim to look for more recent or ongoing drug use instead of focusing on months-old history.

How long does oxy stay in your blood?

Blood tests are likely to yield an accurate picture of a person’s recent blood use and may also successfully identify the levels of oxycodone at the time of performing the test. This test guarantees a result during the test in contrast to other modalities that require specialized facilities to verify results. However, this increased efficacy makes blood testing more expensive and invasive.  Moreover, the testing window is shorter, usually 24-48 hours.

How long does oxycodone stay in your sweat?

Sweat testing is a much newer and lesser common way to test for drugs. This test may take longer to conduct, usually around 2 weeks, and may be preferred for someone under probation instead of applying it as a part of pre-employment checks.

How Long Does it Take for Oxycodone to Wear Off?

A good way to estimate how long any drug, such as oxycodone, will last in the body is by measuring its half-life. The term half-life describes the time it takes for a medication to eliminate from the body along with all its residues. The half-life for immediate-release drug forms of oxycodone has an average half-life of 3.2 hours. In simpler words, such medications may take 3.2 hours to reduce their blood levels by half. On the other hand, the extended-release formulations may have a longer half-life or approximately 4 to 5.6 hours in general.

It may take a drug several half-lives to leave the body completely. In general, this is approximately 5 half-lives; however, the duration may vary from one person to another depending on how the body metabolizes it. Most people can fully clear a dose of oxycodone within 24 hours from the blood, but it may remain in hair, urine, and saliva for longer durations.

In general, most people will stop experiencing the pain relief effects of oxycodone before it fully leaves the system. This is why a doctor may recommend taking a single tablet of oxycodone every four to six hours, especially for people who are actively experiencing pain. In the case of extended-release tablets, they may be needed every 12 hours.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms can be a possibly dangerous and very distressing situation for many people using this medication. Because oxycodone is a type of opioid, its associated withdrawal symptoms may be similar to other opioids and may include the following:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Goosebumps
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Muscle pain
  • Lacrimation (tearing up)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning

Withdrawal symptoms can occur in any person who has become dependent on it. Physical dependence takes place when oxycodone changes the central nervous over time. Because oxycodone causes over-activation of its receptors than the body naturally would, the body adjusts itself to lowering the activity of these receptors. When such people stop their oxycodone use, the body may not have much activity on its opioid receptors on its own and may undergo a withdrawal.

Opioid withdrawal, including the one caused by oxycodone, usually follows a predictable timeline which may include the following:

  • 1–4 days: Most symptoms begin within 8 to 24 hours following the last dose and may include goosebumps, yawning, diarrhea, anxiety, and muscle pain. Cravings are usually low during this time period, but the risk of relapse remains high.
  • 4–10 days: Halfway through the first week, most people experience an improvement in their symptoms, but most continue to last for another week and a half. Some people may experience other psychological symptoms during this time, such as anxiety, insomnia, and agitation. Other lingering symptoms may include vomiting, nausea, pupil dilatation, and goosebumps.
  • 10th  day and beyond: The withdrawal process may conclude for most people, except those who have been abusing it in very large amounts or for longer durations. Some people may experience protracted withdrawal where the symptoms persist longer than expected.

Best Way to Get Oxycodone Out of the System

While there might be many tips and tricks out there that supposedly help people quickly get rid of oxycodone from the system, none of them is based on evidence. Some people may suggest drinking water to boost metabolism and dilute the body, but this method does not guarantee results.

If you are having an upcoming drug test and are worried about testing positive due to ongoing oxycodone use without any medical indication, the best piece of advice is to seek professional advice on how to stop using the medication safely and effectively. Many rehab centers successfully provide necessary services to help people safely taper off oxycodone and develop healthy coping strategies to prevent relapses. These programs take place in a supervised environment without bias or judgment and aim to enable all patients to live a sober, independent life without drug use.

FAQs

How long does oxycodone take to work?

Oxycodone is a potent painkiller that millions of people use for different purposes. Its most common indication is providing pain relief following a surgical procedure. Oxycodone remains the drug of choice in such cases because of its high efficacy and how quickly it can start working inside the body. Most immediate-release formulations may start producing the desired effects within 10 to 30 minutes. It may also be taken in long-acting forms, especially for the management of chronic pain. These types of oxycodone may start working within an hour and do not have a peak effect in contrast to its short-acting versions.

How long does 5 mg of oxycodone last in the body?

Oxycodone is categorized as a short-acting opioid that the body removes within 24 hours. The time of its effects can be even shorter, and the effects of pain relief may last for four to six hours. In people with high tolerance to opioids, the effects may become even shorter. Long-acting forms, on the other hand, may last much longer, usually between eight to twelve hours, and are best for people with chronic pain relief, such as cancer patients.

How does oxycodone work in the body?

Inside the body, oxycodone works by triggering the opioid receptors. These receptors are available throughout the body, especially in the central nervous system and the brain. As oxycodone activates the receptors, it also changes how the body sends pain signals to the brain and how it receives and responds to them. Moreover, the activation of the opioid receptors by oxycodone may also slow down different systems of the body, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Oxycodone is called a depressant of the central nervous system, and someone who takes too much of it or two doses closer to each other may overdose.

What is oxycodone half life?

The half-life of oxycodone describes the amount of time needed for half of the drug to get out of the system. In general, it takes five half-lives for any drug to completely clear out of the body. In the case of oxycodone, this half-life is approximately three hours but may vary based on factors such as age, weight, genetics, and overall health.

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