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How Long Do Opioid Painkillers Stay in Your System?

Do you ever take painkillers and wonder How long opioids stay in someone’s system depending on the drug and how it is metabolized? Depending on the amount of use and severity, some painkillers can stay in your system for up to five days.

Withdrawal symptoms last on average three days to seven days at their peak severity but certain drug tests can find opioid painkillers in your system for as long as 30 days after the last dose.

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How Does Your Body Process Pain Killers?

How Does Your Body Process Pain Killers/OTC? Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other over-the-counter painkillers work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins. “Prostaglandins” are simple hormones that play a role in pain and inflammation.

By blocking their production, painkillers can provide relief from conditions like headaches, arthritis, and menstrual cramps. But how exactly do they work?

Painkillers work by binding to proteins called cyclooxygenase enzymes, which are responsible for the production of prostaglandins. When these enzymes are inhibited, prostaglandin levels are reduced, leading to reduced pain and inflammation. In some cases, painkillers may also cause the body to produce fewer chemicals that signal pain.

While painkillers can effectively relieve pain, they also come with some risks. The most common & happening side effects include stomach upset, constipation, and diarrhea.

It’s important to understand how your body processes opioid painkillers because some painkillers are mixed with acetaminophen like Percocet which can lead to liver and kidney damage if taken in excess. More severe side effects can occur in rare cases, such as liver damage or ulcers. Therefore, it is important to speak with a doctor before taking any medications, even over-the-counter ones.

How Long are Pain Killers In Your System?

How Long are Pain Killers In Your System? Painkillers, also known as analgesics, are medications taken to relieve pain. Common painkillers include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve).

Aspirin is also a painkiller, but it has other functions as well. Acetaminophen is usually detectable in the blood for 4-6 hours after a single dose. Ibuprofen may be detectable for up to 24 hours after a dose. Naproxen may be detectable for up to 48 hours. Aspirin may be detectable for up to 5 days.

The half-life of any drug is the time it takes for the level of the drug in the blood of the body to be reduced by half. The half-life of acetaminophen is 2-4 hours, while the half-life of ibuprofen is 3-4 hours. Naproxen has a slightly longer half-life of 12-17 hours. Aspirin has a half-life of 20-30 hours. Age, liver, and kidney function can all affect how long a drug stays in the system.

For example, elderly patients or those with liver disease may have a long elimination time for acetaminophen. Patients with kidney disease may have a long elimination time for ibuprofen or naproxen.

Painkillers are typically used on an as-needed basis, so you don’t need to worry about them building up in your system. However, if you are taking them regularly, it is essential to know how long they stay in your system and to take them as directed by your healthcare provider.

Blood Test – Drug testing

Blood tests are used to determine if someone is addicted to prescription drugs. It is used to assess the general health state and screen for, diagnose, and monitor diseases and conditions. A blood test may also identify individuals in criminal justice proceedings.

Saliva Drug Tests:

A saliva test is a laboratory examination of a saliva sample. It is used to assess the general health state and screen for, diagnose, and monitor diseases and conditions. A saliva test may also identify individuals in criminal justice proceedings.

Hair Tests For Prescription Opiate Painkillers:

A hair test is a laboratory examination of a hair sample. It is used to assess the general health state and screen for, diagnose, and monitor diseases and conditions.

Hair tests are many times ordered by probation officers or individuals in the criminal justice system which can be difficult to pass if prescription painkillers like oxycontin or oxycodone have been used within the last 30 days.

Urine Tests:

A urine test is a laboratory examination of a urine sample. It is used to assess the general health state and screen for, diagnose, and monitor diseases and conditions. These drug tests typically only detect painkillers in your system for up to 72 hours.

How can you get Pain Killers out of your system?

There are a few general & most common ways that you can get painkillers out of your system. One way is to dilute your urine by drinking lots of fluids before you take the test.

You can also try using a detox drink or supplement. Another way is to use a product called UrinAid, which is available over the counter. UrinAid helps to flush out toxins and mask drug metabolites, so they are not detected in the urine.


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Can you beat a drug test for painkillers?

There is no definitive & exact answer to this question. Some people claim to be able to beat drug tests through various methods, but no scientific evidence supports these claims. It is possible if you want to cheat a drug test if you know how the test is conducted and what specific drugs it is looking for, but this requires advance planning and knowledge of the testing process.

Also, keep in mind that, Semi-synthetic opioids are created by chemically altering natural opioids.

Licensed medical professionals are the best people to prescribe opioids for chronic pain.

Detoxing from Painkillers? – Addiction Treatment

Prescription drugs are addictive when misused or without a prescription. It is possible to detox from painkillers, but it can be difficult depending on the type of painkiller and how long it has been taken.

Many detoxification programs are available, but it is essential to consult a doctor before starting any detox program. Addiction rehab and treatment centers for painkillers typically last 30 days and address the medical side of detox as well as relapse prevention and triggers to support long-term sobriety.


Is using a painkiller different from using Over The Counter Drugs?

Painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, are prescription medications classified as narcotics. Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are not classified as narcotics and are not as likely to be detected & appeared in a drug test. However, many people still use over-the-counter medications to help them pass a drug test because they are less likely to cause a positive result.

How long does a painkiller stay in a dog's system?

Addiction medicine is a field of medicine that specializes in the treatment of addiction. Painkillers do not typically stay in a dog's system for very long. The length of a time interval that it takes for the drugs to clear the system varies depending on the individual dog and the dosage given.

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Drug Enforcement Administration. “Controlled Substances.” April 12, 2022. Accessed December 12, 2022.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Commonly Used Terms.” January 26, 2021. Accessed December 12, 2022.

ARUP Laboratories. “Therapeutic Drug Monitoring.” June 2021. Accessed December 12, 2022.

Cansford Laboratories. “Oral Fluid (Saliva) Testing.” Accessed December 12, 2022.

Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems 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.

Picture of This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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