How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System? - Alina Lodge: Drug & Alcohol Rehab NJ (2023)

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an opioid painkiller, used for moderate to severe pain relief. A medical professional may prescribe oxycodone after a serious injury, post-surgery, or when dealing with cancer. It is also used to treat chronic pain when other drugs – such as aspirin or ibuprofen – are too weak.

Some oxycodone brand names include:

  • OxyContin
  • Oxynorm
  • OxyIR
  • Dazidox
  • Endocodone
  • Percolone
  • OxyFast: extended-release formula
  • Roxicodone: rapid-release formula
  • Targinact: combination with naloxone
  • Percocet: combination with acetaminophen

There are also many street names for the substance, such as:

  • Oxycotton
  • Perc
  • Oxy
  • OCs
  • Roxis
  • Oxycet
  • Killers
  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Berries

The drug usually comes in a pill form of different strengths, though can also be administered via liquid capsules or solution.

How Does Oxycodone Work?

The substance works by binding to opioid receptors throughout the body, mainly around the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and gastrointestinal tract. Opioid receptors are involved in pain signaling, so when oxycodone attaches to them it prevents the brain from registering these messages and provides pain relief.

In turn, this reduces the number of signals being sent via nerves throughout the body up to the brain. This decreased communication and activity between nerves is why oxycodone is referred to as a central nervous system depressant.

How Long Does Oxycodone Take to Work?

When taken orally, the substance usually works between twenty to forty minutes. After oxycodone has been ingested, the drug reaches its peak concentration in the bloodstream after one to two hours. Controlled- and extended-release versions of the drug take a little longer to reach their peak, at three to four hours.

Snorting the drug speeds up this process and with the effects typically being felt within fifteen minutes. This is because snorting oxycodone allows the bypass of the digestion track and causes the drug to quickly make its way to the brain and central nervous system.

How Long Does Oxycodone Last?

Each individual metabolizes oxycodone at different rates, though the effects of the drug usually wear off after four to six hours of taking a dose. When oxycodone is metabolized, it is broken down into substances called:

  • Noroxycodone
  • Noroxymorphone
  • Oxymorphone

One way to measure how long oxycodone stays in your system is by looking at its half-life. This is a measure of the time it takes for half the drug to be processed and eliminated from the body. On average, it takes:

  • 3.2 hours to metabolize half a dose of oxycodone
  • 4.5 to 5.6 hours to metabolize half a dose of extended- or controlled-release oxycodone

It takes several half-lives for the drug to be fully eliminated and this changes from person to person, though typically oxycodone is eliminated from blood concentrations after twenty-four hours.

What Factors Affect How Long Oxycodone Stays in Your System?

There are a range of factors that impact the length of time oxycodone is present in a person’s system. These include:

  • The dosage of oxycodone being taken: taking a large dose of the drug requires more time for the body to metabolize oxycodone.
  • The length of time a person has taken oxycodone or other opioids: the bodies of long-term opioid users need a longer period to flush out the substance compared to someone who has only taken it once. This is due to a larger amount of oxycodone metabolites being present in the bloodstream that the body has to work to remove.
  • Kidney and liver function and health: these organs combine forces to eliminate toxins and other substances from the body, therefore, individuals with poor kidney and liver health need a longer time to process oxycodone.
  • Age: generally speaking, younger adults have a faster metabolism than older adults.
  • Sex: studies have shown that blood plasma concentrations of oxycodone can be up to twenty-five percent higher in women than in men from the same dosage. This results in longer processing times in women.
  • Weight: being at the extremes of overweight or underweight will cause your body to metabolize oxycodone slower or faster.
  • Alcohol: people may combine alcohol with oxycodone to amplify the ‘high’ created by the drug. However, alcohol actually increases the time it takes for oxycodone to clear from the body, alongside increasing the risk for dangerous side effects to come up and cause an overdose.
  • Other medications: oxycodone is processed by the body through the cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) pathway. If a person is taking any medication that inhibits CYP3A – such as erythromycin, ketoconazole, or protease inhibitors – their body will not be able to break down the opioid as efficiently. This can lead to serious side effects, like respiratory depression and heart issues.

Oxycodone Misuse

The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) recognizes oxycodone as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means it has a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe physical or psychological dependence. The substance can still be prescribed by a doctor though the risk for addiction, dependence, negative interactions, and overdosing is increased. Therefore, it is important to strictly follow recommended medical guidelines when taking the drug.

Due to the euphoric and relaxing feelings oxycodone conjures up, people taking the drug are at risk to become addicted. Even when following professional medical advice. It is also common for the body to build up a tolerance to the painkiller and in turn, the individual needs to take more and more. This also increases the chance of dependence and addiction.

Oxycodone addiction can lead to a number of adverse side effects including:

  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Severe headache
  • Sleep apnea
  • Withdrawal symptoms if a dose is not regularly taken, including: muscle cramps, restlessness, sweating, vomiting, increased heart rate, insomnia
  • Lung infections
  • Problems swallowing
  • Liver problems
  • Reduced kidney function

How to Test for Oxycodone?

There are a number of ways in which oxycodone consumption can be detected. These drug tests work generally well though there are two things to consider:

  • Each person has a different metabolic rate so it is difficult to say how long oxycodone can stay in their system for
  • Each method can pick up the substance during different time periods, so a person may be positive using one of the drug tests but negative when testing with another method

Urine Test: How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your Urine

Urine tests are the most common method to detect oxycodone. Urinalysis can detect the presence of drug metabolites after a few hours from taking it, up until four days after the last dose.

Blood Test: How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your Blood

Blood tests can pick up the presence of oxycodone fifteen to thirty minutes after taking the drug and up to twenty-four hours after last use. This low detection window combined with the invasive and expensive nature of the technique leaves blood tests an uncommon method of detection. However, the results come back in a matter of minutes, allowing for a convenient and rapid conclusion to be made.

Saliva Test: How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your Saliva

Saliva tests can rapidly detect oxycodone metabolites fifteen minutes after taking it, up to around four days after the drug was last taken. This drug test is non-invasive, relatively inexpensive, and provides results in a few minutes so is commonly used.

Hair Test: How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your Hair

Traces of oxycodone can attach to hair follicles and stay there for up to ninety days, though it takes one week after taking the drug to be detected through a person’s hair. Hair tests are the longest-term detection method so can be useful in certain situations.

Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction

If you or someone you know is concerned about passing a drug test looking for oxycodone, it may be a sign that professional medical intervention is needed.

There are a number of steps on the road to recovery, the first being a medical detox. Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable when stopping taking oxycodone, so it is common for people to slowly decrease the amount of opioids they take to reduce these effects. Other medications can also be prescribed to ease this process. A medical professional can guide someone withdrawing through this process in the safest and most comfortable way possible.

Rehabilitation programs are also extremely useful when treating substance use disorders as they provide a holistic approach to overcoming the condition. Here, psychological therapy can help break free of addiction through:

  • Understanding the route cause of addiction
  • Build coping mechanisms
  • Identifying triggers
  • Overcoming trauma

Depending on the intensity of an individual’s condition, these programs can also be tailored to be in or outpatient.

Support groups can be essential to help maintain sobriety and heal from the trauma addiction has caused. Support groups offer a safe space in which experiences can be shared, allowing people to feel heard and understood.

Contact Us

At Alina Lodge, we understand that addiction is an extremely difficult challenge to overcome and each individual has different needs. If you or your family member is struggling with oxycodone addiction please contact us today to find out how we can assist you on the road to recovery and help defeat addiction.


What is the clearance of oxycodone? ›

Total plasma clearance of oxycodone in adults is 0.7–1 L/min, which is consistent with intermediate hepatic extraction and a moderate first‐pass effect. The T1/2 is about 2–3 h after i.v. administration, about 3 h after IR solution and about 8 h after controlled‐release (CR) oxycodone (Mandema et al.

What is the half life of OxyContin controlled release? ›

Duration range is from 3 to 6 hours for immediate-release or 12 hours in controlled-release formulations. The plasma half-life is 3 to 5 hours, and stable plasma levels are reached within 24 to 36 hours.

What is the duration of action of OxyContin? ›

OXYCONTIN is administered orally every 12 hours. The starting dosage for patients who are not opioid tolerant is OXYCONTIN 10 mg orally every 12 hours. Use of higher starting doses in patients who are not opioid tolerant may cause fatal respiratory depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

What is oxycodone soluble in? ›

OxyContin is designed to be swallowed whole; however, abusers ingest the drug in a variety of ways. OxyContin abusers often chew the tablets or crush the tablets and snort the powder. Because oxycodone is water soluble, crushed tablets can be dissolved in water and the solution injected.

Is oxycodone cleared by the liver or kidney? ›

Codeine, hydromorphone, meperidine, morphine, oxycodone, and tramadol all have active metabolites that are renally-cleared. Accumulation of active metabolites can lead to opioid toxicity in renally-impaired patients.

What is the safe range for oxycodone? ›

Adults—At first, 5 to 15 milligrams (mg) every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed and tolerated. Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

What is the half-life of oral opioids? ›

Methadone equilibrates with a half-life of about 8 min. Morphine, in contrast, equilibrates with a half-life of 2–3 h. The slowest opioid with respect to plasma-effect site transfer is M6G, with an equilibration half-life of about 7 h.

What is the half-life of oxycodone 10? ›

Following a single, oral dose of oxycodone, the mean ± SD elimination half-life is 3.51 ± 1.43 hours.

What is the half-life of opioid analgesics? ›

Opioid infusion administration

It takes approximately four half-lives (~8hrs for morphine/hydromorphone, ~1.5hrs for fentanyl) to reach steady state plasma concentration if given as an infusion, therefore if the rate is to be increased, a bolus should be given as well.

What is the strongest pain killer? ›

Opioid drugs relieve pain by mimicking a naturally occurring pain-relief function within our nervous symptoms. They are the best, strongest pain relievers we have. Unfortunately, they come with side effects, some severe such as numbness, addiction, and respiratory depression, leading to overdose deaths.

What are the peak times for OxyContin? ›

This form of oxycodone can be taken with or without food. The tablets should be swallowed whole. Do not break, chew or crush the tablets. When the medication is swallowed, it begins working to relieve pain in about 2 to 4 hours, although it reaches its peak effect in 15 to 30 hours.

What time of day is best to take OxyContin? ›

You can take oxycodone at any time of day, but try to take it at the same time every day and space your doses evenly. For example, if you take oxycodone twice a day and have your first dose at 8am, take your second dose around 8pm.

What can I take with oxycodone to make it stronger? ›

Oxycodone/acetaminophen is a pain medication that contains a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of oxycodone.

Does oxycodone dissolve in alcohol? ›

Oxycodone is a white, odorless crystalline powder derived from the opium alkaloid, thebaine. Oxycodone hydrochloride dissolves in water (1 g in 6 to 7 mL). It is slightly soluble in alcohol (octanol water partition coefficient 0.7).

How much oxycodone is considered trafficking? ›

Trafficking in Prescription Medication – Minimum Amounts

Therefore, you may be charged with trafficking even if you only have a couple dozen pills that contain a mixture of oxycodone. The crime of possession is upgraded to trafficking if you possess 7 grams or more of oxycodone, or 14 grams or more of hydrocodone.

What is the clearance of a medication? ›

Clearance is equal to the rate at which a drug is removed from plasma(mg/min) divided by the concentration of that drug in the plasma (mg/mL). The total ability of the body to clear a drug from the plasma is renal clearance plus hepatic clearance plus clearance from all other tissues.

What organ is opioid clearance? ›

The liver is the major site of biotransformation for most opioids. Thus, the disposition of these drugs may be affected in patients with liver insufficiency.

What does clearance of medication mean? ›

Clearance defined

Drug clearance is concerned with the rate at which the active drug is removed from the body; and for most drugs at steady state, clearance remains constant so that drug input equals drug output. Clearance is defined as the rate of drug elimination divided by the plasma concentration of the drug.


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