Oxycodone is an opiate derived from the poppy plant. It is usually prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain following an injury, trauma, or surgery. However, it can also be prescribed to treat other types of severe pain, like pain that accompanies cancer.
Although oxycodone can be highly effective for people that cannot take other kinds of pain medication, it is a Schedule II controlled drug. Like other opioids, oxycodone works in the pleasure centers of the brain and, as a result, has a high potential for abuse and addiction.
If you have been prescribed oxycodone, you may want to know how long it will stay in your system, how long it takes for your body to remove all traces after you stop taking it, and how long the substance may show up on a drug test.
It is also helpful to know what to do if you want to stop taking oxycodone, as stopping taking oxycodone ‘cold turkey’ can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Types of Oxycodone for Severe Pain Relief
Oxycodone hydrochloride is an opioid medication that comes in various forms, including a liquid solution, tablet, and capsule. There are immediate release, extended-release, and combination versions of the drug. Common brands of oxycodone include Percodan, Percocet, Tylox, OxyContin, Roxicodone, Roxicet, and Endocet.
The amount of oxycodone that a person requires for pain relief varies widely between individuals. Generally, a doctor will first prescribe you a low dose of the drug and then increase the dose slowly until your pain is well controlled. Individuals who have been prescribed opioid medication in the past may need to take a higher dose to experience adequate pain relief.
How Long Does It Take To Feel The Effects?
Oxycodone is taken orally alongside food and a glass of water. Regular forms of oxycodone are usually taken every four to six hours, while the extended-release version is taken every 12 hours.
People generally start feeling the effects of oxycodone after around 15 minutes of ingestion, with peak pain-relieving effects felt between 30 and 60 minutes later. The peak blood concentration is reached in a similar time, one to two hours after consumption.
Extended-release and controlled-release oxycodone can take three to four hours to reach peak concentration in the blood. For extended-release forms, a second release is experienced about seven hours later.
How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?
Opiates tend to have short half-lives, meaning they leave the system quickly, though effects can last several hours. The half-life of a substance refers to the time it takes for half the drug to be eliminated from the body.
Since every person metabolizes medications differently, the half-life varies between each individual. Immediate-release oxycodone has an average half-life of 3.2 hours. This means it takes approximately 3.2 hours for most people to eliminate half of the dose of oxycodone from their bodies. In contrast, controlled or extended-release forms of oxycodone have a longer half-life of up to 5.6 hours.
In most instances, it will take several half-lives for oxycodone to be completely cleared from your blood, although you will likely have stopped feeling the effects long before it has left your body. Never take more than the prescribed dose, even if you feel like it is not working well enough. If you develop a tolerance to oxycodone, speak to your doctor, and they will either increase your dose or prescribe a different pain relief medication.
Drug Testing Timelines
Oxycodone’s metabolites will stay in your system much longer than the effects are felt. To understand how to take oxycodone safely, it can be helpful to know how long it stays in the body and shows up in drug tests.
The length of time oxycodone can be detected in drug screening depends on a number of factors, including age, metabolism, body mass index (BMI), and the kind of drug testing methods. Standard drug tests for oxycodone include blood tests, urine tests, saliva tests, and hair tests.
Most urine tests can detect multiple drugs in the same sample, such as cocaine and amphetamines, although a standard urine drug test does not generally test for oxycodone. This means an additional test would need to be done.
Oxycodone is detectable in a urine test three to four days after the last dose. However, this could be longer for people with kidney or liver conditions.
Saliva tests are low-cost, and the results are immediate. A saliva test can detect oxycodone for one to four days after taking the last dose. In some cases, saliva tests can detect oxycodone just minutes after the drug has been taken.
Hair Follicle Tests
There is a much higher detection window with hair follicle tests. It takes around one week for the last dose of oxycodone to appear in a person’s hair. It can remain detectable in a hair test for up to 90 days.
A blood test can detect oxycodone from 15 to 30 minutes after the last dose, and it remains detectable in a blood test for around 24 hours.
What Impacts How Long Oxycodone Shows Up on a Drug Test?
The length of time oxycodone stays in the body depends on several factors, such as:
- Age – Younger adults clear the drug from their bodies faster than older adults, as blood plasma concentrations are 15% higher in older adults.
- Sex – Women have blood plasma concentrations of oxycodone that are 25% higher than men. Medical professionals do not yet know the cause of this.
- Length of use – Long-term oxycodone or other opiate users may take longer to eliminate oxycodone from their bodies than people who have only been using the drug for several weeks. This is partly because oxycodone can accumulate in fatty tissues in the body.
- Kidney function – Having impaired kidney function causes a person to clear oxycodone at a slower rate. Individuals with kidney problems have blood concentrations of oxycodone 50% higher than those with normal renal function.
- Dosage – How long oxycodone stays in your system depends on what its half-life is. If you take an extended-release form, you will likely test positive for a more extended period.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
Oxycodone works by adapting how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It is a central nervous system depressant that affects breathing, heart rate, and other essential body functions.
Long-term use of oxycodone can lead to dependence. Generally, doctors aim to avoid withdrawal by tapering a client off the medication. However, individuals with chronic pain issues may feel tempted to take more oxycodone than their doctor prescribes or take their prescription at an accelerated rate to self-medicate and relieve the pain.
Abusing prescription drugs in this way is dangerous and associated with several health issues, including overdose.
Contact Us Today
If you have become dependent on oxycodone and want support with detox or addiction treatment, we can provide professional medical advice.
We also have holistic treatment options to help people suffering from oxycodone addiction, drug abuse, and a range of other substance use problems.
Contact Cirque Lodge today to learn more about our oxycodone addiction treatment options and how we can support you in your recovery journey.