October 30, 2023

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

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Medicially Reviewed By:
Dr. Priya Chaudhri
credentials here

By the Elevation Behavioral Health Staff Writers

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in the System?

Long after the effects of the drug have worn off, fentanyl is still present in your system. So, how long does fentanyl stay in your system? Fentanyl has a half-life of seven hours, meaning it can take about thirty-five hours to clear the body. Keep reading to learn about the factors that influence how long fentanyl stays in the system.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that has been used as an anesthesia during surgery for decades. Fentanyl is sold under the brand names Duragesic, Sublimaze, and Actiq. As a powerful pain reliever, fentanyl is most often prescribed for terminal cancer patients.

Fentanyl is easily replicated in clandestine labs in foreign countries, which has led to a flood of illicit products in recent years. The drug is manufactured in various forms, such as pills, a spray, gel patch, sublingual film, lollipops, and liquid form. In the past couple of years, rainbow-colored fentanyl pills have been designed to target young customers.

What Factors Affect How Long Fentanyl Stays in the System?

Several factors influence the length of time that fentanyl remains in the system. On average, though, the majority of the drug is eliminated from the body within four days of the last dosing.

Some of the factors that can shorten or lengthen the timeline include:

  • Body mass index.
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Metabolic rate.
  • Liver function efficiency.
  • Hydration level.
  • Dosage level.
  • Frequency of fentanyl dosing.
  • How the drug was delivered (injection has a shorter half-life vs. pill and patches that have longer half-lives).

Will Fentanyl Be Detected in Drug Testing?

Drug screening tests will vary in terms of how long fentanyl stays in your system. A urine test reveals fentanyl between 24-72 hours after dosing. A hair test can detect fentanyl for up to three months, and a blood test for 5-48 hours after use. To date, there is no saliva drug-screening test that picks up fentanyl.

What is Fentanyl Patch Abuse?

The most abused form of fentanyl is the transdermal patch version of the drug. The patch provides the slow release of the fentanyl, which makes it helpful for a patient with advanced cancer. The patch is designed to last for three days before being changed out.

The fentanyl patch is often used as a form of recreational drug use. The patch can be used in the following ways:

  • Chewing the patch. When someone chews a fentanyl patch it causes the drug to be released into the mouth where it is absorbed.
  • Multiple patches. Someone may affix several fentanyl patches on their skin at once, which greatly increases the dosing.
  • Making tea. The patches are steeped in boiling water like tea, and then consumed.
  • Inhaling the drug. The gel inside the patch is removed and heated, creating a vapor that is inhaled into the membranes inside the lungs.

Why is Fentanyl So Risky?

Fentanyl is extremely potent. It is 50-80 times more potent than morphine, which makes it a dangerous drug in the wrong hands. Just a tiny amount of fentanyl can cause fatal respiratory failure.

The problem of fentanyl overdose deaths has increased over the past few years because it is turning up in the illicit drug market. It is mixed in with heroin, cocaine, meth, and even counterfeit pills like OxyContin or Vicodin. The person buying the drug of choice does not know that it contains fentanyl, which leads to overdose.

What Are the Signs of Fentanyl Overdose?

There is very little time to respond to the person who has overdosed on fentanyl. Thankfully, more and more regular people are being trained to administer Narcan, the nasal spray that can reverse respiratory failure. All first responders are prepared to administer this life-saving drug, but time is of the essence.

Symptoms of fentanyl overdose include:

  • Dizziness
  • Slowed heart rate.
  • Slowed breathing rate.
  • Bluish lips or nails.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Profound drowsiness.
  • Clammy skin.
  • Mental confusion.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Coma
  • Death

If the person’s life was saved due to someone’s speedy response to getting the Narcan, they will be advised to go to rehab. Through a comprehensive treatment program, they can disrupt the addiction cycle and quit fentanyl.

What If I am Addicted to Fentanyl?

People are finding themselves addicted to fentanyl at a surprising rate. This is mainly due to the drug being trendy, inexpensive, potent, and accessible. Most opioids are expensive and difficult to obtain, which is why fentanyl is preferred.

If you or a loved one is addicted to fentanyl, you will notice certain signs and symptoms. These include:

  • Nodding off.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Weight loss.
  • Impaired judgment.
  • Chronic constipation.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family.
  • Needle marks.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Pinpoint pupils.
  • Slowed motor and cognitive functioning.
  • Withdrawal symptoms, which resemble the flu.

How Can I Safely Stop Taking Fentanyl?

Freeing yourself from a fentanyl addiction requires a three-step process. By completing all three of these steps your chances of achieving a sustained recovery are good:

  1. Detox and Withdrawal. Recovery begins with a fentanyl detox. A medical detox team provides medical interventions that help ease the withdrawal symptoms and support the person throughout the detox process. Detox may take about a week to complete.
  2. Active Treatment. Immediately following detox, it is time to begin the treatment phase. Addiction treatment involves various forms of therapy, along with group therapy, recovery group meetings, addiction education, relapse prevention planning, and holistic care.
  3. Aftercare. The most significant challenge for someone in early recovery from fentanyl is to remain clean and sober. To reinforce abstinence, the person will continue their recovery efforts after they complete treatment. Aftercare actions include outpatient counseling and support groups, participating in a local N.A. or A.A. chapter, and maybe staying in sober living. Aftercare also includes healthy habits, like getting regular exercise and eating healthy.

Finding yourself addicted to fentanyl is scary, but by seeking out the expert help you need, you can overcome it. Reach out for help today!

Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Elevation Behavioral Health assists individuals with dual diagnosis or primary mental health disorders. We offer a beautiful and serene setting and an expert team to help you break free from fentanyl. To learn more about our residential treatment program, please call us today at (888) 561-0868.

Our team of experts is here to help you.