Many people wonder how long does methadone stay in your system? Methadone is a long-acting opioid, and it can stay in the system for several days or even up to nearly two weeks in some cases. As a synthetic opioid, methadone is often used as part of treatment programs for opioid use disorder. Most commonly, methadone is used to help people with heroin addictions. Methadone is also a pain reliever.

Therapeutic effects of methadone include alleviating withdrawal symptoms from heroin, reducing the perception of pain and preventing opioids from creating euphoria. Methadone doesn’t cure or treat heroin addiction. Rather, methadone is a replacement for heroin.

Methadone is often described as harm-reduction medication. A harm-reduction approach doesn’t require someone to stop using a substance completely, but it helps alleviate some of the more severe consequences and adverse effects. For example, methadone may be safer for pregnant women than heroin. Using methadone instead of heroin can also reduce the likelihood of contracting diseases through needle sharing.

How Is Methadone Used?

People outside of addiction treatment may wonder how is methadone used. Methadone is a prescription opioid that can be given by a doctor as an oral tablet, a liquid or a powder. However, methadone has abuse potential and people who want to get high from it may inject it similarly to heroin.

A methadone clinic is where someone can go to receive medication therapy for an addiction to opioids. There are public and private methadone clinics in the United States that are highly regulated by federal and state laws.

The Half-Life of Methadone

What is the half-life of methadone? According to research cited by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the half-life of methadone can range from eight to 59 hours. Methadone’s half-life is significantly longer than its pain-relieving effects, which usually last from four to eight hours.

The half-life of methadone is likely to be shorter in someone with an existing opioid tolerance. The average half-life in this situation is approximately 24 hours. In someone who isn’t opioid-tolerant, the average half-life of methadone is approximately 55 hours.

Half-life is a term that refers to how long it takes for the amount of a drug a person uses to be reduced by 50 percent in the body. With one half-life, the amount of drug found in a person’s body will be one-half of the original starting dose.

How Long Does Methadone Stay in the Body?

There are a few reasons why may want to know how long does methadone stay in the body. On average, methadone can show up in a urine test for anywhere from six to 12 days after use. A blood test can detect methadone for up to 24 hours. A saliva test can detect it anywhere from one to 10 days.

Specific factors that can influence how long methadone stays in the body include:

  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Percentage of body fat
  • Overall health
  • The dosage of methadone used
  • How long someone used methadone

For most people, within 60 hours of using methadone it’s clear from the body.

Since methadone’s therapeutic and pain-relieving effects are significantly shorter than its half-life, someone might think they need to take another dose. Because the half-life can be so long, this can increase the risk of experiencing an overdose because so much of the drug could remain in the system when another dose is taken.

Find Help for Methadone Addiction

If you or a loved one live with addiction, contact The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake. to learn how individualized treatment plans can work for you. By addressing addiction alongside any co-occurring disorders, treatment plans cater to the specific needs of each patient to ensure they receive the best treatment. Begin your healthier future today, call now.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.