Oxycodone can stay in your body for various lengths of time, depending on what form of the drug you take.

If you take oxycodone, you may occasionally be required to take a drug test. Employers, doctors or even court systems can order tests to check the amount of a drug in your body. Oxycodone can be found in common drug tests like urine, blood, saliva and hair tests. How long a test can detect oxycodone in your system depends both on the type of test used and whether you take the short or long-acting form of the drug.

Types of Oxycodone for Pain Relief

Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance and opioid prescribed for severe pain. The drug comes in both long and short-acting oral dosage forms:

  • Long-acting forms like OxyContin are often prescribed for patients to take twice daily.
  • Short-acting dosage forms are usually prescribed for patients to take every four to six hours as needed. Short-acting forms of the drug are available on their own and in a combination drug with the analgesic aspirin under brand names like Percocet.

If a medical professional prescribes you both long and short-acting oxycodone, it is important not to confuse them. You should always take oxycodone exactly as your doctor prescribes and not take more of the drug or take it more often than ordered. Doing so can increase your risk of side effects, addiction and overdose.

How Does Oxycodone Work?

Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic. As such, it works on the opioid receptors in the central nervous system of your brain to change your perception of pain. As an opioid, oxycodone is highly addictive, and you should only take the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

Oxycodone can stay in your system for varying amounts of time, depending on factors like the dose of the drug and how long you have taken it. In addition, oxycodone detection times can vary widely depending on the test; for example, the drug will be detectable in your hair for much longer than in your urine. The most common types of tests for oxycodone are urine, saliva, blood and hair tests.

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your Urine?

Oxycodone is detectable in urine between one and three days after the last dose. Similarly, its breakdown product noroxycodone is also found in urine during the same timeframe. Drug tests may test for oxycodone, noroxycodone or both, depending on the test.

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your Saliva?

Oxycodone stays in your saliva for a shorter time than in your urine: only 24 to 36 hours. For this reason, saliva tests for oxycodone are relatively uncommon.

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your Blood?

Both oxycodone and its breakdown product noroxycodone remain in the blood for only three to six hours after the last dose. For this reason, blood tests for oxycodone are rarely given.

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your Hair?

Hair tests can detect oxycodone is detectable for much longer than other tests. A 1.5-inch section of hair can show if someone has used any oxycodone over the past 90 days. For this reason, hair tests are among the most comprehensive tests to see if a person is taking oxycodone.

How To Test for Oxycodone

Your doctor, a court or an employer can order a variety of tests to show whether or not you take substances including oxycodone. Drug testing can be used to show:

  • If you are likely taking your medication as directed
  • If you are illicitly taking substances that have not been prescribed to you
  • If you are relapsing into substance use after quitting

The most common types of tests for oxycodone are urine, saliva, blood and hair tests. In general, blood tests are the least common, as they only show if someone has used oxycodone over the past few hours. Conversely, urine tests are the most common because they are the least invasive and expensive type of test.

What Factors Affect How Long Oxycodone Shows Up on a Drug Test?

Multiple factors can influence how long oxycodone will show up on a drug test. These include:

  • Oxycodone dosage form: Long-acting dosage forms may show up for a longer period of time than short-acting dosage forms.
  • Oxycodone dose: Higher doses may be more likely to show up on a test than lower doses.
  • How often you take oxycodone: If you take oxycodone more frequently, it may be more likely to show up on a test than if you take it occasionally.
  • How you administer oxycodone: If you snort or inject oxycodone, it may leave your system more quickly than if you take it by mouth.
  • Your age: Oxycodone may stay in the body of an older person for longer than a younger person.
  • Your body composition and sex: Your body fat percentage and gender can influence how long oxycodone may show up on a drug test.
  • Your other health conditions: Medical problems like kidney impairment can make oxycodone stay in your system for longer periods of time.
  • Other medications: Drug interactions may cause oxycodone to remain in your system for longer than expected.
  • Hydration and nutritional status: Your hydration and nutritional status can influence how long oxycodone shows up in a test. For example, diluted urine may mean a low dose of oxycodone is undetectable.
  • The test itself: Oxycodone blood and saliva tests detect oxycodone for only a few hours, while urine tests detect the drug for days, and hair tests can show oxycodone used in the past few months

If you have specific questions about how long oxycodone will show up on a drug test, you should ask your doctor. If you are legally prescribed oxycodone, you should also inform your doctor if you are undergoing a drug test for oxycodone that a court or employer has ordered. Your doctor may be able to help you show that you have a legitimate medical prescription for the drug.

How Long Does It Take To Feel the Effects of Oxycodone?

Oxycodone generally starts acting quickly, but this can vary based on the dosage form:

  • Short-acting oxycodone starts to kick in within 10 to 15 minutes, peaking at 1 hour and lasting 3 to 6 hours.
  • Long-acting oxycodone starts to work within 1 hour and has its peak effect during this timeframe as well.

That said, your individual response to the drug can vary based on factors like the dose you are taking, your tolerance for the drug and how you are ingesting the drug.

What Is the Half-Life of Oxycodone?

The half-life of a drug refers to how long it takes for half of a single dose to be cleared from your bloodstream. In general, it takes five half-lives to completely clear a drug from your system. Oxycodone’s half-life depends on the dosage form of the drug that you are taking:

  • Short-acting oxycodone dosage forms: half-life of 3 to 5 hours
  • Extended-release oxycodone hydrochloride tablets (OxyContin): 4.5 hours
  • Extended-release oxycodone myristate capsules (Xtampza ER): 5.6 hours

Some factors can influence the half-life of oxycodone. For example, older age and poor kidney function can prolong the drug’s half-life.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

If you take oxycodone on a regular basis, your brain becomes used to the drug’s presence and adapts accordingly. This means that if you suddenly stop taking the drug, withdrawal symptoms may occur. These include:

  • Muscle aches 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased tear production
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Yawning
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

These symptoms can last different periods of time depending on whether you take short- or long-acting oxycodone. If you take both, your symptoms may reflect the timeline for the longer-acting form of the drug:

  • Short-acting oxycodone: Withdrawal starts within 12 hours of the last use, peaks after 24 to 48 hours and improves over the next 3 to 5 days.
  • Long-acting oxycodone: Withdrawal starts 30 hours after the last dose and can last up to 10 days.

Oxycodone withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable and hard to manage on your own. For this reason, it is recommended to seek medical help when withdrawing from opioids. A medically supervised detox can provide you with the tools and support to not only quit oxycodone but stay off the drug over the long term.

Opioid Addiction Treatment: Seeking Help

Oxycodone addiction is hard to overcome on your own, but recovery is possible with help. Oxycodone addiction recovery follows a multistep process, adapting to your needs as you progress through recovery:

  • Medical detox: This is the first step in oxycodone recovery. In medical detox, you are eased off oxycodone in a supervised setting. Medication-assisted treatment may be prescribed if medically appropriate.
  • Rehab: Following detox, rehab consists of social support and extensive therapy to help you adjust to an oxycodone-free life. Rehab can start with intensive inpatient residential options, progressing through outpatient programs as you recover.
  • Aftercare: Following rehab, aftercare consists of support groups and therapy to keep you focused on your recovery over the long term to help prevent relapse.

If you or a loved one struggles with oxycodone, you are not alone. Contact our oxycodone addiction experts at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake to see how we can help. Don’t wait: contact us today to learn more.

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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.