Recovery Blog How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

Oxycodone is a generic opioid pain medication. Oxycodone is in brand-name medications such as OxyContin. Oxycodone can be prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain following an injury or major surgery. As with other opioids, oxycodone is habit-forming and has a high risk of dependence associated with its use, even by prescription. Other brand name drugs with oxycodone include Oxaydo, Roxycodone and Oxy IR.

How long does oxycodone stay in your system? This question is common for people facing drug tests. It’s also important to know how long it stays in your system to avoid a potential overdose. While the half-life of oxycodone is approximately 3 hours, but traces of oxycodone can be detected in your hair for up to 90 days following the latest use. On average, oxycodone clears from the blood in around 22 hours. Many variables can impact this estimate such as the health of the person who took it and how large a dose they took.

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Speed of Metabolism

How is oxycodone metabolized? When someone uses oxycodone, it goes through the digestive system and then it is broken down in the liver. The kidneys then excrete it through urine, and small amounts may be eliminated through sweat. While the half-life of oxycodone is approximately 3 hours, the metabolic process will last longer.

A range of drug screenings may detect oxycodone. The following is an overview of how long oxycodone might show up in different types of screenings:

  • In a urine test, oxycodone use can show up for anywhere to three to four days after previous use
  • In a blood test, oxycodone use may show up for approximately 24 hours after previous use
  • In a saliva test, oxycodone may be detectable for one to four days after previous use
  • In a hair follicle test, although it may take a few days for oxycodone use to initially show up, it can be detected for up to 90 days after previous use

What Is the Half-Life of Oxycodone?

The half-life of oxycodone refers to the time required for half the drug to leave the system. For oxycodone, the half-life is just over three hours. With the time-released version that’s in OxyContin, the half-life is around 4.5 hours. It usually takes four to five half-lives for a drug to clear out of the body completely. This rate varies depending on factors like genetics, age, weight and overall health.

While oxycodone might be cleared from the blood in around 24 hours, the effects of oxycodone will stop being felt well before that.

How Does Oxycodone Work?

Oxycodone works by activating opioid receptors. These receptors are found throughout the body, particularly in the brain and central nervous system. When oxycodone activates the receptors, it changes how pain signals are sent from the body to the brain. The activation can also cause a slow down in the central nervous system, including breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

Oxycodone is a central nervous system depressant. If someone takes a dose that’s too large or takes multiple doses too close to one another, they can overdose. An opioid overdose has symptoms such as limited breathing and changes in heart rate due to the depressant’s effects.

Sometimes, people using oxycodone may feel euphoric or experience pleasant feelings from the medication because of its effects on the brain and neurotransmitters. These effects are one reason there’s a risk of developing addiction while taking oxycodone.

When someone takes oxycodone orally, as prescribed, they will usually start to feel the effects within 20 to 30 minutes. A peak concentration may be reached in the bloodstream within one to two hours after someone takes it. With extended-release versions of oxycodone, it can take three to four hours for hydrocodone to reach a peak concentration level in the blood.

Get Help For Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone is one of the many prescription pain medications that are part of the opioid epidemic. If you are struggling with oxycodone addiction or you’d like to help a loved one who is, contact The Recovery Village Columbus today to speak to a representative who can help you toward a healthier future.

  • “Oxycodone.” National Institutes of Health, February 15, 2021. Accessed July 21, 2021.
  • NIH. “How opioid drugs activate receptors.” National Institutes of Health, May 22, 2018. Accessed July 21, 2021.
  • Ordóñez Gallego, A et al. “Oxycodone: a pharmacological and clinical review.” Clinical & translational oncology: official publication of the Federation of Spanish Oncology Societies and of the National Cancer Institute of Mexico, 2007. Accessed July 21, 2021.

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.