Mental Health Home > How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

Methadone has the potential to stay in your system for a long time. It accumulates in the liver and other tissues, and is released slowly. Studies on drug tests have shown that the half-life of methadone ranges from 8 to 59 hours. If you feel your doses are not lasting long enough, talk to your healthcare provider.

Methadone and Drug Testing

Methadone hydrochloride (Diskets®, Dolophine®, Methadose®) is a prescription opioid used for pain relief and for addiction treatment. It is a narcotic and is classified as a controlled substance in the United States. Like other narcotics, this medication can be abused. Methadone has the potential to stay in your system for a long time, at least compared with most other opioids.

What Is the Half-Life of Methadone?

The elimination half-life of a medication is the time it takes for the blood levels of the drug to be reduced by half. There may be significant variation from one person to the next. A wide range of elimination half-lives for methadone (8 to 59 hours) have been reported. This means that every 8 to 59 hours, the level of methadone in your blood will drop by 50 percent of the previous level.
With such a wide range of reported elimination half-lives, it is impossible to say exactly how long methadone will stay in the body for any particular person. In addition, the medicine accumulates in the liver and other tissues, where it is released slowly. This means that methadone could potentially stay in the system for a long time.

Final Thoughts

If you are concerned that your methadone doses are not lasting long enough, please let your healthcare provider know. People who are first starting the medication should understand that dosages will "hold" longer as they continue to take the medication.
If you are concerned about methadone showing up on a drug test, you should know that it is difficult (if not impossible) to accurately predict exactly how long methadone will stay in your system.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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