How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
When taken intravenously, fentanyl has an elimination half-life of approximately 2 to 4 hours in adults, meaning it takes approximately 11 to 22 hours to completely leave your system.
Although many people had never heard of fentanyl before it claimed the life of the musician Prince in April 2016, this synthetic opiate pain reliever is one of the strongest opiates available today. It’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. As a result, it’s often used to relieve severe pain, especially after surgery, during cancer treatment, and to manage breakthrough pain.
In its prescription form, fentanyl is known by names such as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. However, many people obtain fentanyl without a prescription on the black market. When used for recreational purposes, fentanyl typically comes in the form of powder, spiked on blotter paper or mixed with heroin, cocaine or other street drugs to amplify the potency.
Fentanyl abuse is dangerous and even deadly. In March 2015, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a nationwide alert identifying fentanyl as a threat to public health and public safety.
- 1. How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?
- 2. How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Urine?
- 3. How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Hair?
- 4. How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Blood?
- 5. How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Saliva?
- 6. What Influences How Long Fentanyl Stays in Your System?
- 7. Will Fentanyl Show Up on a Drug Test?
To determine how long fentanyl will stay in your system after you stop taking it, it’s important to consider its elimination half-life. Elimination half-life refers to how long it takes for half of a single dose of a drug to leave the body.
The elimination half-life of fentanyl is subject to some variation based on the method by which it’s administered. When taken intravenously, fentanyl has an elimination half-life of approximately 2 to 4 hours in adults, meaning it takes approximately 11 to 22 hours to leave your system.
If you use the patch or lozenge, fentanyl exhibits a half-life of approximately 7 to 17 hours, and it will take around 36 hours for the drug to completely leave your system after you stop using.
As fentanyl breaks down in your system, it leaves behind traces called metabolites. These metabolites stay in your system longer, meaning that a thorough drug test could detect fentanyl in your system even several days after you stop taking it.
- Body mass
- Body fat
- Food intake
- Hepatic function
- Metabolic rate
- Urinary pH
- Dosage (low vs. high)
- Route of administration
- Frequency of use
- Duration of use
- Use of other drugs
However, if an advanced drug test is ordered, fentanyl is easily detected through urine, hair, saliva, and blood tests. Fentanyl can be detected in urine for eight to 24 hours, in blood for up to 12 hours, in saliva for one to three days, and in hair for up to 90 days.
It’s important to understand, however, that rapid detox is often dangerous and ineffective. Several studies have shown that this method does not result in less discomfort compared to any other methods of fentanyl withdrawal.
Individuals who abuse fentanyl often seek the euphoric effects produced by the drug. In some cases, a person may start using fentanyl as prescribed by their doctor, but then it turns into a situation where they continue taking it for non-medical reasons.
The signs and symptoms of fentanyl abuse include:
- Difficulty walking
- Muscle stiffness
- Slowed heart rate
- Labored breathing
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itching and scratching
- Pinpoint pupils
CDC.gov. “Synthetic Opioid Overdose Data.” Accessed January 22nd, 2019.
Drugabuse.gov. “Fentanyl”. June 2016. Accessed January 22nd, 2019.
Drugabuse.gov. “Emerging Trends and Alerts.” May 2018. Accessed January 22nd, 2019.
FDA.gov. “Fentanyl Patch Can Be Deadly To Children.” September 23, 2013. Accessed January 22nd, 2019.
Pubchem.gov. “Fentanyl”. Accessed January 22nd, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: 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.
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