How Long Does OxyContin Stay in Your System?

How Long Does OxyContin Stay in Your System?

Published: 08/2/19

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OxyContin is a pain medication that’s used to treat severe pain. It’s also known as oxycodone. Doctors use it for chronic pain, cancer pain, and surgical pain. It works for an extended period of time, so it’s a good choice for pain that isn’t short-term. 

Like other opiate drugs, OxyContin is often abused. It causes a feeling of euphoria, or a high. Some people take too much OxyContin, take medicine that isn’t prescribed to them, or take it more often than directed. This puts you at risk for addiction and overdose. 

You may want to stop taking OxyContin to pass lab tests for employment, to treat a substance abuse problem, or for other reasons. It takes some time away from the drug before you start testing negative. 

If you’re wondering how long OxyContin stays in your system, here’s what you need to know: 

How Your System Handles OxyContin

When you take OxyContin, you take it as a slow-release pill. It travels to your stomach, where it breaks down. In your stomach, part of the dose is absorbed within 30 minutes. 

That first part of the dose works for about 6 hours before the effects begin to stop. The rest of it stays in your stomach, where it starts to work before the first part of the dose stops. This lets a single pill give you pain relief with 12 hours between doses. 

Your liver processes OxyContin and removes it from the bloodstream while all this is happening. The drug has a half-life of 4.5 hours, which means it takes that long for your liver to remove half of the amount of drug from your bloodstream. 

Even though OxyContin has a short half-life, you’ll keep testing positive on lab tests for hours, days, or even months depending on the test. 

Being a long-acting opiate makes OxyContin a popular drug of abuse. A single dose can produce effects for hours. 

How Long Do the Effects of OxyContin Last?

After 20 to 30 minutes, you’ll start feeling the effects of OxyContin. They include: 

  • A sense of euphoria
  • Pain relief
  • Feeling calm and relaxed 
  • Slowed breathing

These effects last up to 6 hours when you take slow-release OxyContin. Other versions of oxycodone (the generic version of OxyContin) might last between 2 and 6 hours. 

Factors That Affect How Long You Feel the Effects of OxyContin

  • Your body weight and height: Your body size affects how much water and fat your body has. Having more water and fat in your body means it takes more medication to feel the same effects. It might take longer to start feeling effects and they might last longer. 
  • Your age: It’s not known why, but people who are older may have higher blood concentrations of OxyContin when they take it. This can mean feeling effects sooner and for longer. 
  • Your sex: Women tend to have a higher blood level of OxyContin than men after taking the same size dose. It’s not known why, but women might feel the effects for longer than men. 
  • Whether you’ve eaten food: Eating a high-fat meal with OxyContin can slow down how your body absorbs the drug. That means it enters and leaves your system slowly, but also consistently. On the other hand, taking OxyContin on an empty stomach can make your body process the drug faster. 
  • Whether you’re using other substances: Having other drugs in your body can affect the way your body handles OxyContin. If you’re taking other opiates, you might feel the effects for longer. If you’re taking drugs used for medication-assisted treatment, you might not feel the effects at all. 
  • Whether you have an opiate tolerance: When you use opiates regularly, your body becomes used to them. This is called tolerance. With an opiate tolerance, you might feel the effects for less time than other users. 

Everyone’s body responds differently to OxyContin. Most of the time, you should expect effects to last for 3 to 6 hours. 

Once the effects are gone, you’ll still test positive for the drug on lab tests. The amount of time it takes to test negative depends on the kind of test that you’re taking. There’s nothing you can do to test negative faster except for abstaining from OxyContin. 

How Long Does OxyContin Stay in Your Urine?

Oxycontin is detectable in the urine for three to four days. Some urine tests aren’t sensitive enough to pick up low levels of the drug. 

How Long Does OxyContin Stay in Your Saliva?

OxyContin stays in your saliva for 2 days after the last time you take it. If you’re a heavy opiate user, then OxyContin might stay in your system for longer. That’s because the drug accumulates in your fat cells when you use more of it than your body can process. 

How Long Does OxyContin Stay in Your Hair?

Hair tests are the most effective at picking up low levels of OxyContin. They can detect small traces of the drug that a urine test might not pick up. And they detect OxyContin in your system for a long time after use. All opiates stay in your hair for 90 days after your last dose. That includes OxyContin. 

Can You Speed Up OxyContin Detox? 

You can’t make your body get rid of OxyContin faster than it does naturally. There are plenty of factors that affect the way your body processes oxycodone, but none of them are a reliable way to test negative any faster. 

Even if those factors don’t make you test negative, they can still make your detox process easier. Consider making lifestyle changes to help your detox go better. They include: 

  • Sleeping enough
  • Eating nutritious food
  • Drinking enough water
  • Getting exercise and outdoor time
  • Finding social support
  • Avoiding illicit drugs 

The best way to get through detox is to stick to your treatment plan. A certified treatment center can give you the tools that you need to stop using OxyContin. 

Signs of OxyContin Withdrawal 

If you use OxyContin regularly, then you could have physical dependence. Dependence makes you experience withdrawal signs when you don’t take the drug. This makes abstaining hard because you may feel sick and have cravings. 

You could be having withdrawal if you experience: 

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain
  • Sweating and chills

These symptoms can be severe, especially if you use OxyContin heavily. Many users have a hard time getting through detox because they want to make the withdrawal stop. 

You have the best chance of a successful recovery if you get help for this part of the process. Withdrawing from OxyContin can be painful. A treatment center can help by giving you access to therapy, pain management, medication-assisted treatment, and a safe place to focus on your recovery. 

Getting Treatment for OxyContin Addiction 

It’s not easy to recover from opiate abuse. In fact, 85% of substance abuse patients who stop using OxyContin relapse within a year. 

When you abuse OxyContin, you put yourself at risk for addiction and overdose. Stopping can be hard when withdrawal symptoms keep you thinking about the drug. But it’s worth the effort. Over 17,000 people died from opiate overdoses in 2017. 

A treatment center can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and keep you comfortable. This increases the odds of success. You’ll have an easier time focusing on getting better if you aren’t uncomfortable. 

Addiction Treatment Types

  • Inpatient treatment: An inpatient setting lets you focus on recovery without the distractions of outside life. Your doctor will tell you what to expect from inpatient treatment if he thinks you’re a good candidate for it. 
  • Outpatient treatment: Many patients start treatment as inpatient and continue their treatment as outpatient after they leave the center. They might return for regular appointments and testing. Some people continue outpatient treatment without an end date. Others eventually stop treatment. 
  • Therapy: Many kinds of individual and group therapy are used in opiate recovery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a popular individual therapy for substance abuse treatment. Social support groups such as 12-Step groups are another good resource. 
  • Medication-assisted treatment: For opiate treatment, medications can help make detox easier. They stop cravings and help manage withdrawal symptoms. 

It’s important to start opioid treatment right away. The first step will be an intake or consultation appointment. A medical professional or counselor will talk to you about your drug use and health history. Then, they will help you find a treatment plan that’s right for you and your needs. 

You don’t have to live with opioid abuse. Opioid abuse is a health emergency, and it can lead to overdose and death. Call a treatment center today to start your recovery. 

Sources:

  1. Verywell Mind: How long does OxyContin stay in your system? <https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-oxycontin-stay-in-your-system-80298>
  2. Everyday Health: Understanding addiction relapse <https://www.everydayhealth.com/addiction/understanding-addiction-relapse.aspx
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse: Overdose death rates <https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates>