How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System – What You Need to Know About Its Risks

December 9, 2017

Veronica Phan

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System – What You Need to Know About Its Risks

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Opioid dependence has catastrophic effects on many American people every year. It is a chronic problem that refers to the dependence on prescription painkillers or opioids, for example, heroin [1].

These people tend to be reluctant to seek for help, so they decide to treat it with methadone – a common drug in the treatment of opioid dependence [2].

However, you might not have a clear idea of how long does methadone stay in your system. And this lack of information may make your body suffer from a series of problems in the end.

Find out what is methadone, how long does methadone last and how can you minimize its adverse effects right now with us!

What is Methadone?


Methane is a type of opioid agonist that people use to replace strong opioids, namely, heroin. It is less likely to result in addiction and it is also effective to control opioid withdrawal symptoms [1].

The elimination half-life of methadone is from 8 to 59 hours. Its analgesic action will last around 4-8 hours [3].
About 4 hours after you use methadone, it would reach its peak concentration in your blood plasma. Though, it is possible to detect methadone in your blood just half an hour after you ingest it orally [3].

When it comes to methadone, there are several important things you have to know.

First of all, the attainment of its analgesic qualities might not be full 3-5 days after your dosing.

Second, methadone can be a possible catalyst for cardiovascular problems or respiratory depression when you use it.

It is crucial to discuss all of these threats with your professional doctors before you make a decision on taking the drug or not.

What Does Methadone Do?

People who have troubles with opioid addiction are quite familiar with this drug.

Opioid dependence refers to a condition in which you are heavily dependent on prescription painkillers or opioids [1]. This might cause devastating consequences on your mental and physical health.

For example, those who are dependent on heroin often experience a series of both short-term and long-term impacts:

  • Dry mouth
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Bad itchiness
  • Their arms and legs often feel heavy
  • Kidney or liver diseases
  • Metal disorders, including depression
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction or irregular menstrual cycles [4]

Thus, it is reasonable to seek for ways to get rid of opioid dependence as soon as possible. However, the tricky thing is that those people are quite unwilling to ask others for help.

As a result, they try to help themselves and may have heard about methadone and its effects. Methadone is really useful to contain opioid withdrawal symptoms in the first day or more.

Besides, many long-term medical programs are also using methadone to help patients overcome opioid dependence.

When you use methadone properly, it helps to reduce your cravings for stronger opioids. In addition, with analgesic qualities, methadone can save you from pain, while most painkillers are not helpful.

It is, however, important to remember that the DEA recognizes methadone as a “Schedule II narcotic drug”. In other words, it poses threats of addiction. If you intend to use it to get high, the dangers are higher.

How Do You Take Methadone?

There are many different forms of methadone on the market right now. You can choose its liquid concentrate, oral solution, powder or tablet.

Normally, people take it in the form of oral ingestion. Other types, such as injecting or snorting, are not recommended because they are common among those who are abusing or misusing methadone.

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

The assumption is that you have stopped using methadone completely and are now coping with its withdrawal symptoms. The question is how long does methadone stay in your system.

Normally, when you take one pill of methadone, its therapeutic effects would last around 8 hours. Nevertheless, it does not mean that the drug will be completely gone from your system after 8 hours.

As mentioned before, the half-life of methadone might vary from 8 to 59 hours, although each type of methadone has a different number. In other words, each individual gives a different result.

But if we assume that the half-life of methadone is between 8 and 59 hours, the clearance of methadone from our body is likely to finish 1.83 – 13.52 days [5].

This is only an average number and there is nothing to guarantee that your process cannot go beyond the length of 13.52 days.

What Can Affect How Long Does Methadone Last?

Many of you might raise a question, “Why can’t you calculate the exact answer for how long does methadone stay in your system?”

The truth is that the final result is dependent on many other factors. They can be from the dosage to your individual characteristics. Let’s find out more about things that can impact how long does it take for methadone to kick in!

Individual Factors

How long does a 10mg methadone stay in your system?

When two people answer this question, the likelihood is that one will be quicker than the other? It is because individual factors have influence on the absorption of methadone.

  • Age

Over-65-year-old people are likely to excrete methadone more slowly than teenagers and adults. Old people are vulnerable patients of kidney or liver problems, slower metabolism and lower hepatic blood flow [6].

As a result, their body takes longer time to remove methadone completely.

  • Weight

The body mass index (BMI) has a significant impact on the process of clearing methadone from your body.

Body fat is a considerable factor as obese people need more time to retain methadone before excretion. The drug can concentrate in fatty deposits which are in many body parts.

  • Pregnancy


According to many studies, pregnant women have a faster process of removing methadone.

In a research with the participation of 23 pregnant women and 16 non-pregnant ones, the rate for the former group was twice as quick as that for the latter [7].

The possibilities of plasma concentrations in pregnant women are also much lower. They do not absorb as much methadone as non-pregnant subjects. Their metabolism is better and their removal is also expedited.

In brief, pregnant women’s body can clear methadone more quickly.

  • Genetics

If your body has some genetic polymorphisms, the metabolization of methadone might happen a little differently from others.

There is a division between “rapid metabolizer” and “poor metabolizer” due to the presence of some genes that can slow down or speed up the removal of methadone [8].

  • Food Intake

Some people claim that using methadone with food may have influence on how long does methadone stay in your system. But no studies give a final conclusion on which foods will have positive impacts.

Some believe that its absorption would be better in high-fat meals. However, no scientific research backs this up.

  • Urinary pH

If the urinary pH is acidic, it takes a shorter period of time to remove drug from your body. This is similar to methadone as well [9].

  • Metabolic Rate

The basal metabolic rate (BMR) refers to the amount of energy expended by your body at rest. The BMRs are known to have significant impact on the process of clearing methadone.

To be specific, those who have higher BMRs will have methadone cleared more quickly.

  • Liver Function

If you have hepatic impairment, the possibility is that your body cannot metabolize or excrete methadone quickly. In other words, liver problems will be adverse to the clearance of methadone.

According to a case study, slower metabolism leads to longer half-life of methadone [10].

How Frequently You Use

If you want to know how long does it take to get methadone out of your system, you had better find out how often you use it.

Too frequent dosage is likely to result in the accumulation of drug. As a consequence, it is longer to clear completely methadone.

Besides, various kinds of patients have a different half-life of methadone. For instance, healthy patients often experience 33-46 hours to clear 50 percent of methadone. Yet, for chronic pain patients, it is much longer [11].


Another factor that might change the result of how long does methadone stay in your system is dosage. It makes sense that if you use much methadone, it is more challenging to get rid of it quickly.

When you get too much drug at one time, it is likely to concentrate in your lipids and liver. In addition, high dosage results in physiologic alterations which are responsible for longer clearance.

Other Medications

Your liver contains many enzymes which play an essential role in the methadone metabolism. Therefore, in case you are using other drugs, your metabolism might be affected.

Methadone Tests

You can use various types of tests to determine the amount of methadone in your system. Urine test is the most popular one, but you can always go for other kinds, for example, blood or saliva tests.

Each of them has pros and cons, so why don’t you analyze them more closely to find out which one is the most suitable for you?

Urine Tests

This is by far the most common option in case you want to know whether a person ingests methadone or not. It starts with collecting the sample of fresh urine and then, analyzing it in the laboratory.

If you are wondering how long does methadone stay in urine, you need to know that it can be detected just within 60 minutes after ingestion. And it can last up to 14 days.

This is actually an advantage of urine tests, compared to others. You can detect it even a longer time after its usage. It is also convenient and non-invasive.

Blood Tests

It is possible to detect methadone just 30 minutes after you get it orally. When it comes to how long does methadone stay in your blood, it is worth remembering that it is easier to identify it in your bloodstream after 4 hours.

The time it takes to detect methadone from the blood might be various among individuals; however, in most cases, the detection is still possible after some days.

The disadvantage of blood tests is its high cost. Moreover, they are quite invasive and not many people’s favorite option.

Saliva Tests

Getting saliva is another way to determine the use of methadone. However, it is just as limited as blood tests. You can get the result just 30 minutes after ingesting methadone. And the results are detectable some days after [12].

On the other hand, saliva tests are very convenient and non-invasive, unlike blood ones. Normally, the detection will happen in the laboratory, but thanks to innovative technology, the detection is much more rapid now.

Hair Tests

Hair tests are outstanding from other types because you can use them to detect the use of methadone even several months after that.

The presence of methadone in hair is more common for frequent users. If you are new, you will have to wait for several weeks in order to witness the concentration of methadone in your hair.

Get your hair follicles and the detection will happen in a laboratory.

Who Should Get Methadone Drug Tests?

Not everyone has to take the drug tests, especially in terms of methadone. Overall, these people have a higher possibility of doing so.

  • Addicts

This drug test is particularly helpful to help supervisors keep track of addicts who are heavily dependent on methadone. The result will have a big say over the period of time when addicts have to stay in the program or not.

They are also the most common groups for these types of tests.

  • Athletes

Methadone does not provide any benefit of improving performance. However, athletes sometimes have to take the test. And the consequences are real, from fining to banning.

So, if you are or intend to be an athlete, it is not a good idea to use methadone.

  • Military Personnel

The use of methadone might not be accepted in the military environment. It might make military personnel have difficulty following commands or handling dangerous things. Thus, this type of test is also common among soldiers.

How Do You Take Methadone Out of Your Body?

Once understanding how long does methadone stay in your system, you might be surprised at the period of time you have to experience before getting rid of methadone.

So, is there any method to accelerate it? How do you take methadone out of your body more efficiently? Let’s find out our ultimate tips to eliminate methadone!

Reduce Your Body Fat

We have already known that there is an association between methadone and high levels of body fat. The more body fat you have, the more likely it is for methadone to concentration in your fatty tissues.

Thus, it is necessary to control your body fat more effectively so as to reduce the accumulation of methadone. In other words, you have to pay attention to your healthy lifestyles, including both diets and exercises.

Acidify Your Urinary pH

One of the main factors that influence how long does methadone stay in your system is urinary pH. And we learnt that it should be more acidic to remove methadone more quickly.



Instead of being obsessed with how long does methadone last, you ought to take actions to see improvements of clearing it. Running, jogging or any types of cardio will have great impacts on your removal of methadone.

These cardio workouts enhance your metabolism, help you burn more fat and enhance your blood circulation to every organ, especially kidney and liver.

The results can be visible as long as you are loyal to it and do not forget to follow a balanced diet every day.


Urine is the fundamental way to excrete methadone from your body. Therefore, if you wish to eradicate more methadone, you should make sure that your urinary flow is good.

In other words, it is a great idea to stay hydrated all the time. Otherwise, dehydration will worsen the situation as you have to cope with inefficient excretion.

Follow the suggestions of experts that you need around 8 glasses of water on a daily basis.


In general, there is no uniform answer for how long does methadone stay in your system. If you insist on knowing how long does methadone last, we can tell you that it varies from 8 to 59 hours.

And the truth is that there are many things to affect your result and it is nearly impossible to get the exact answer immediately.

The bottom line is that methadone is not a good option for your health and if you have already taken it, it is important to learn how to get rid of it quickly.

Let’s share our article to let many more people be aware of the hidden dangers of methadone! And do not forget to hit LIKE to support our work!

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