How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?
Last Updated: January 17, 2023
Oxycodone, a generic opioid, clears from the blood in about 22 hours, but it can be detected for longer depending on the type of test.
Oxycodone is a generic opioid pain medication. Oxycodone is in brand-name medications such as OxyContin. It 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.
Oxycodone is a prescription opioid. In contrast to “opiates,” it is a synthetic drug, not naturally occurring. Other prescription opioids include hydrocodone, fentanyl, and methadone. All opioids, when formulated on their own into a prescription, are Schedule II medications. These types of drugs have accepted medical use but have a high potential for abuse and addiction.
How long does oxycodone stay in your system? This question is common for people facing drug tests or those wishing to avoid a potential overdose. While the half-life of oxycodone (how long it takes the body to eliminate half of the substance) is approximately 3–4 hours, 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.
Oxycodone Brand Names
Oxycodone has been on the market for several decades. Because of this, there are a number of brand names in addition to generic oxycodone. Common brand names include:
- Xtampza ER
The medications above contain only oxycodone as the active ingredient. There are also combination products that contain oxycodone plus other drugs. Examples include:
- Combunox (Ibuprofen/oxycodone)
- Endocet (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Endodan (Aspirin/oxycodone)
- Lynox (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Magnacet (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Narvox (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Oxycet (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Percocet (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Percodan (Aspirin/oxycodone)
- Perloxx (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Primlev (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Roxicet (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Roxiprin (Aspirin/oxycodone)
- Taxadone (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Tylox (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
- Xolox (Acetaminophen/oxycodone)
How Long Does It Take for Oxycodone to Work?
Oxycodone is a powerful painkiller used for many different purposes. It is commonly used for chronic pain and pain after surgery. It is a common drug because of its effectiveness and how quickly it starts to work. For most immediate-release formulations, oxycodone starts working in about 10–30 minutes.
Oxycodone is also available in long-acting forms to treat chronic pain. These types of oxycodone start working in an hour. In contrast to short-acting versions, extended-release oxycodone does not have a peak effect.
How Long Does Oxycodone Last?
Oxycodone is a short-acting opioid that is removed from the body in less than 24 hours. The time of effect is even shorter. For short-acting opioids, oxycodone lasts for about 4–6 hours for pain relief. The effects can be even shorter in people with a high tolerance for opioids.
Long-acting forms of oxycodone last much longer. Many of these formulations can last anywhere from 8 to 12 hours before another dose is needed. These formulations are used for chronic pain like what cancer patients experience.
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. It usually takes five half-lives for a drug to clear out of the body completely. Oxycodone’s half-life is over three hours. This rate varies depending on factors like genetics, age, weight and overall health.
Metabolism & Length of Detection
How is oxycodone metabolized? When someone uses oxycodone, it goes through the digestive system and 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 3–4 hours, the metabolic process will last longer.
A range of drug screenings may detect oxycodone. How long oxycodone might show up on a screening varies by the different types:
- In a urine test, oxycodone use can show up for anywhere from one to three days after previous use.
- In a blood test, it is based on the plasma half-life of oxycodone. Like other drugs, it will clear in five half-lives or 15–20 hours.
- In a saliva test, oxycodone may be detectable for one to two 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.
Factors That Influence How Long Oxycodone Stays in Your System
Oxycodone is a drug affected by many different factors. Some increase how long oxycodone sticks around, and some make it metabolize faster. Some of these factors include:
- Age: Generally, older adults have a slower drug metabolism than younger adults. Oxycodone can accumulate in older adults and becomes a fall risk for some people. It can cause drowsiness and dizziness even at normally prescribed doses.
- Formulation: Oxycodone is available in short- and long-acting formulations. Taking a longer-acting form will cause oxycodone to stay in the body longer.
- Genetics: Some people will metabolize oxycodone more quickly than others because of their genetics. Oxycodone is mostly broken down by the liver enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP2D6. Some people have higher levels of these enzymes and oxycodone leaves their body more quickly.
- Kidney health: If you have kidney problems, oxycodone will accumulate and take longer to leave the system.
- Liver health: Oxycodone is mostly broken down in the liver. If you have liver problems, oxycodone will take longer to leave the body.
- Weight: Most adults will metabolize oxycodone at the same rate, and weight does not play a major factor. However, the metabolism will be affected for those that are extremely over or underweight.
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 an addiction while taking oxycodone.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline
Oxycodone withdrawal can be a very distressing and possibly dangerous situation. Since oxycodone is an opioid, symptoms are the same as other opioid withdrawals. Common symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Dilated pupils
- Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- Lacrimation (tearing up)
- Muscle pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
Withdrawal symptoms can happen to a person who is dependent on the drug. Physical dependence happens because oxycodone makes changes to the central nervous system over time. Oxycodone activates opioid receptors more than would happen naturally, and the body adjusts by lowering the number and activity of these receptors. Withdrawal symptoms happen because when someone stops oxycodone, they now don’t have enough opioid receptors for their body’s needs.
Withdrawal has a predictable timeline:
- 1–4 days: Symptoms start about 8–24 hours after last use. Initial symptoms usually include yawning, goosebumps, muscle pain, anxiety and diarrhea. Cravings can be very high a few days after the last use, and there is a big relapse risk.
- 4–10 days: Symptoms may begin to improve halfway through the first week but may linger for a week and a half. There are more possible psychological symptoms during this time, including agitation, insomnia and anxiety. Other lingering symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, goosebumps and dilated pupils.
- 10+ days: Withdrawal is complete for most people, except maybe those who have abused very large amounts of oxycodone or multiple substances. After the acute withdrawal, some people can experience protracted withdrawal, which is where symptoms last longer than expected. You are more likely to have protracted withdrawal with long-term opioid abuse.
Oxycodone Addiction Treatment
For those located in Ohio and the Midwest, The Recovery Village Columbus has many oxycodone addiction treatment options. Depending on your needs, we have the following levels of care:
- Medical detox
- Inpatient care
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Outpatient care
We also have telehealth options for those who can receive services from their home.
Our location near Columbus, Ohio, is staffed with licensed professionals using evidence-based care. We are fully accredited and are here to assist you in your journey. Following a medically-supervised detox, treatment often involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), individual and group counseling and other services in a serene and relaxing environment.
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 struggling loved one, contact The Recovery Village Columbus today to speak to a representative who can help you toward a healthier future.
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