The rate of opioid overdoses in the country has risen dramatically since the epidemic’s beginning in the late 1990s. One of the drugs that have contributed to the growing addiction and overdose problems is oxycodone. As the drug epidemic persists, more research is being conducted to answer common questions about this drug’s effects on the body, such as “how long does oxycodone stay in your system?” As a drug rehab in Palm Springs, CA, that has experience working with people addicted to oxycodone, we wanted to take a closer look ourselves.
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid and one of the many different kinds of opiates derived from a plant known as the opium poppy. Along with heroin and hydrocodone, oxycodone is a highly addictive drug that is often prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Many opioids are essential in medical practice because of their efficacy in pain treatment. However, despite their medical uses, opiates like oxycodone are highly addictive, which is why people often need formal opioid withdrawal treatment to recover from their addictions.
Oxycodone is usually sold as a liquid, tablet, or capsule under brand names like Percocet, OxyContin, Roxicodone, and Roxicet. It’s a Schedule II substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Some people take oxycodone as prescribed by their doctors, while others abuse the drug to experience the euphoric and sedative high that it produces. Oxycodone works by blocking pain signals along the nerves to the brain. Oxycodone attaches to opioid receptors in different areas of the body associated with pain and pleasure, alleviating discomfort and producing a sense of well-being and sedation.
The many oxycodone side effects that a person may experience when abusing this drug may vary in severity and duration depending on factors like dose and metabolism. The effects of oxycodone typically kick in 20 to 30 minutes after being taken. These side effects may peak in the bloodstream within one to two hours after ingestion. How long it takes for oxycodone effects to kick in depends on whether the medication taken is extended or immediate release. Extended- and controlled-release oxycodone can take anywhere from three to four hours to reach peak concentration in the bloodstream.
Some common side effects of oxycodone include:
People abuse oxycodone because it can also produce feelings of sedation and euphoria when taken in higher doses than recommended. An oxycodone high involves a sense of well-being, elation, happiness, and pleasure. Because opioids affect dopamine levels and activate the reward system in the brain, those who abuse these drugs are more likely to continue abusing them after their first high. Additionally, long-term side effects of oxycodone include heart failure, constipation, breathing problems, depression, swelling in the limbs, addiction, and more. Long-term use of oxycodone usually facilitates the need for opioid addiction treatment for both physical and mental recovery.
Getting oxycodone out of your system isn’t the same for everyone. How long oxycodone stays in your system depends on its half-life, among other factors. Immediate-release oxycodone has a half-life of 3.2 hours, while controlled- and extended-release oxycodone has a half-life of 4.5 to 5.6 hours. This means that oxycodone stays in your system for roughly 24 hours before being completely eliminated. It takes several half-lives to eliminate a drug from your body entirely.
Moreover, while oxycodone may stay in your system for up to 24 hours, it can still be detected in your hair, saliva, blood, and urine for much longer.
Oxycodone can be detected in:
The pain relief of immediate-release oxycodone wears off within 4 to 6 hours after the last dose is taken. Because they last longer, controlled- and extended-release oxycodone wears off 12 hours after the last dose is taken. While oxycodone may still be detected in the system by drug tests, those who purposely abuse the drug will feel the oxycodone high wear off after around 4 to 6 hours.
There are other factors regarding oxycodone detection time that can affect how long it lasts in the body. For example, long-term users or people who have been addicted to opiates for years may take longer to eliminate oxycodone from their bodies than people who have only been using the drug for several weeks. Just like people who use drugs longer will take longer to complete prescription drug detox, people who take larger doses of oxycodone will take longer to metabolize it.
Additional factors that affect how long oxycodone stays in your body include: