Sufentanil How Long Does It Stay in Your System?

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Sufentanil has a half-life of 164 minutes. It can be detected in the blood for up to 12 hours following the time of injection, in the urine for up to 24 hours, and in saliva for one to three days.
Sufentanil How Long Does It Stay in Your System?
Sufentanil is the most powerful pain reliever available. It is administered via epidural or intravenous injection and has an immediate onset of action. It is 5 to 10 times more potent than fentanyl. The rapid elimination of Sufentanil from the body allows for fast recovery times following surgery.

Sufentanil is indicated for use in invasive surgical procedures as a pain relieving agent alongside general anesthesia. Sufentanil is considered to be ideal for procedures in which the patient is intubated and will need to remain intubated for an extended period following the procedure.

Sufentanil is classified as a Schedule II substance by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.

Sufentanil is often the analgesic of choice when treating people who are heavily tolerant to opioids. For these patients, Sufentanil may be the only medication capable of compensating for the baseline opioid concentrations in the blood. Individuals who use buprenorphine for the management of long-term opioid misuse may require Sufentanil as opposed to a milder opioid. Sufentanil, in many cases, is the only opioid capable of breaking buprenorphine’s bonds to opioid receptors in the body.

A transdermal patch version of Sufentanil is in stage III of clinical trials for the relief of chronic pain. The primary advantage of the Sufentanil patch over a fentanyl patch is that the Sufentanil patch only needs to be changed once per week.

Sufentanil is not used outside of surgery due to its dangerously high potency. Intravenous doses of up to eight mg per kilogram are typically administered as a component of general anesthesia.

If barbiturates, benzodiazepines, inhalation agents, other opioids, or other central nervous system depressants are used in conjunction with Sufentanil, doses should be adjusted according to the patient’s response.

Sufentanil should only be administered in a hospital setting by a specialist who is trained in airway management due to the high likelihood of complications involving respiratory depression. The primary side effect of Sufentanil use is respiratory depression.

Skeletal muscle rigidity that focuses around the neck and extremities occurs in most patients. Skeletal muscle rigidity contributes to further exacerbation of respiratory depression through reduced tidal volume. Other side effects may include blood pressure fluctuations, irregular heart rhythms, nausea, and vomiting. On rare occasions, life-threatening allergic reactions can occur.

The terminal elimination half-life of Sufentanil is 164 minutes in adults. In infants and children, its half-life is significantly shorter -between 42 and 97 minutes. The distribution time of Sufentanil is 1.4 minutes, with a redistribution time of 17.1 minutes.
The elimination time of Sufentanil varies greatly between patients. The patient’s weight, underlying health issues, overall physical health, use of other drugs and central nervous system depressants, and pre-existing opioid tolerance all influence how long it will take for the drug to be metabolized and cleared from the body.

The patient’s size is one of the most significant contributing factors. Doses for obese patients must be calculated based on their lean body mass. Elderly patients and those with generally debilitated health will require lower doses of Sufentanil due to extended clearance times and elevated plasma concentrations due to poorly functioning organs. Patients with a history of liver and kidney malfunction may experience extended clearance times.

Sufentanil is primarily metabolized in the liver and small intestine. Approximately 80% of Sufentanil and its metabolites are excreted within the first 24 hours following the time of administration. Only 2% of the drug is eliminated unaltered in the urine. Peak plasma concentrations of Sufentanil range from 91% to 93% in healthy adults.

Sufentanil and its metabolites remain at testable levels in the urine for up to 24 hours following the time of the last dose. Blood tests may detect Sufentanil within the first 12 hours. Saliva tests may detect Sufentanil within the first three days following administration. As is the case with the majority of substances, Sufentanil can be detected in hair follicle screenings for up to 90 days.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid misuse or abuse, The Recovery Village is available to answer any questions that you may have. Visit us online at or call toll-free at 855-548-9825 to learn more about recovery options in your area.

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.