How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?


The drug methadone is a synthetic opioid that is primarily used to treat opioid dependence. Different factors need to be analyzed to identify the period this drug stay in the body after the last dose [1].


Methadone is an opioid agonist that is utilized as a replacement for strong opioids such as heroin. This drug is used as an alternative because it is less addictive and it can suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms for up to 36 hours following its administration. It allows individuals who are suffering from opioid withdrawal effects to stabilize themselves before completely stopping taking the drug.


Figure 1 shows as image of a Methadone tablets

Methadone can also be prescribed as a pain reliever when prior analgesics that were taken are ineffective. It is available in tablet, powder, liquid concentrate and oral solution forms. It is most commonly taken orally but snorting or injecting this drug can be a sign of abuse [1, 2, 3].

Other Names

Methadone is also called with other names such as dollies, fizzies, chocolate chip cookies and wafer [4].

Pharmacologic Effects

When methadone is ingested in the body, it works as an agonist to mu-opioid receptors. This will reduce the individual’s craving for opioids and provide relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms. This process also produces enkephalins and beta-endorphins that may lead to the following effects: analgesia or pain relief, euphoria or mood elevation, physical relaxation and pleasure. Because of these effects, some individuals have switched from heroin addiction to abuse of methadone [1, 3].

Drug Test Time Table

Methadone is fat soluble compound that can easily cross through the cells and tissues of the entire body. Metabolism of this drug occurs in the liver but it may take several days before its traces are excreted out of the body. These times are an estimate of how long methadone may still be detected by different testing methods [1, 3, 5].

  • Blood Test: up to 24 hours

  • Urine Test: up to 7 days

  • Saliva Test: 1- 10 days

  • Hair Follicle Test: up to 90 days

Factors That Affect How Long Methadone Stay in the Body


Poor liver function and reduced hepatic blood flow of older people makes the clearance of methadone to take a longer time. Clearance time is faster with younger people because of their more efficient hepatic system [1].

Body Fat

Individuals with high amount of body fat has longer methadone clearance time because fat is likely to retain the drug before it is excreted from the body [1].


Pregnant women who takes methadone are able to clear it faster than their non-pregnant counterparts. This is probably due to their decreased absorption of the drug [1].

Urinary pH

The acidity of the urine affects the time it takes to clear methadone from the system. It is reabsorbed in highly alkaline urine and this prolongs the time it takes to excrete the drug [1].


  1. Mental Health Blog. (2015, October 24). How Long Does Methadone Stay In Your System? Retrieved from Mental Health Daily:
  2. Addiction Blog. (2011, November 15). How long does methadone stay in your system? Retrieved from Addiction Blog:
  3. Methadone Clinics. (2015). Street Names for Methadone. Retrieved from Methadone Clinics:
  4. Methadone Centers. (2013). How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System. Retrieved from Methadone Centers:
  5. Mayo Clinic. (2015). Methadone. Retrieved from Mayo Medical Laboratories:

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