how long does methadone stay in your system

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

Methadone is a prescription medication that is primarily used to treat opioid use disorder. As a full opioid agonist, it prevents withdrawal symptoms and cravings by attaching to and activating opioid receptors in your brain.[1] While methadone is effective in managing opioid withdrawal, it can be addictive when abused.

If someone uses methadone in a large dose, they may experience a euphoric high. This could cause them to continually abuse the substance, leading to an addiction. If you or a loved one regularly abuse methadone, being aware of how long the drug stays in your system is important.

Knowing how long methadone remains in your body can prevent you from taking too much at once and suffering an overdose, when your withdrawal symptoms will begin if you stop taking it, and whether you will pass or fail a drug test.

How is Methadone Metabolized?

When you consume methadone, it will travel through your bloodstream and into your liver. Once inside the liver, it will be broken down into a metabolite called 2-ethylidene-1, 5-dimethyl-3, 3-diphenyl pyrrolidine (EDDP) with the help of cytochrome P450 enzymes. EDDP is then eliminated from the body via urine.

Some individuals do not have enough cytochrome P450 enzymes in their bodies, so they eliminate methadone at a slower rate.

Methadone is known for having a long half-life, ranging from 8 to 60 hours, depending on the person.[2] This means that it can take up to 12 days for the substance to leave your body.

What Factors Affect How Long Methadone Remains in Your Body?

Exactly how long methadone stays in your system will depend on a variety of personal factors. For example, someone who has been abusing methadone for a year will have the substance in their body longer than an individual who only used it a couple of times.

Other factors that influence how long methadone stays in your system include:

  • Your overall physical health – The state of your health can impact how your body processes and eliminates methadone. Generally, individuals with better overall health might metabolize and clear methadone more efficiently.
  • The speed of your metabolism – A faster metabolic rate often results in quicker clearance of drugs, including methadone. Individuals with a higher metabolism are likely to eliminate methadone faster than those with a slower metabolism.
  • The health of your liver – The liver plays a crucial role in processing drugs, and impaired liver function can affect the metabolism and elimination of methadone, potentially prolonging its presence in the body.
  • Your weight and age – Body weight and age can influence drug distribution and metabolism. Higher body weight might lead to a longer retention of methadone in fatty tissues, and age-related changes in metabolism could affect drug clearance.
  • The presence of other substances in your system – Concurrent use of other drugs or substances can interact with methadone’s metabolism and clearance, affecting its duration in your body.
  • The dose of methadone you use – Higher doses of methadone might take longer to be metabolized and excreted compared to lower doses.
  • The frequency at which you use methadone – Chronic or frequent use of methadone can lead to its accumulation in the body, extending its detection window. Frequent use can also impact the body’s ability to clear the drug efficiently.

These factors collectively contribute to the overall duration that methadone remains in your system. Individual variations are significant, so the actual duration can vary from person to person.

How Long is Methadone Detectable in Your System?

The best way to understand how long methadone stays in your system is to look at how long drug tests can detect the substance. Whether you are getting a new job or trying to get into a trade school, you might have to take a drug test to prove your sobriety. Being aware of how long methadone is detectable in your body can be incredibly important in these situations.

Each type of drug test has a different window of detection. Typically, hair tests can find substances in your body for a longer period than other types of drug tests.


Urine drug tests look for metabolites that methadone leaves behind in your urine. These are the most commonly used drug tests because they are minimally invasive, very accurate, and comparably cheap. Urine drug tests can detect methadone in your system for up to two weeks after your last dose.


Saliva drug tests are convenient because they only require a quick swab of the mouth. However, they are not used as frequently as urine tests because they are less reliable. With that being said, saliva drug tests can detect methadone in your body for a couple of days after your last dose.


Blood tests are not as commonly used because they are invasive and can be expensive. However, hospitals often use them to determine if you are on any substances that could be contributing to your condition. Blood tests can detect methadone in your system for 2 to 3 days after your last dose.


Hair tests look for traces of a substance left behind in your hair follicles. Hair drug tests can detect any substance (including methadone) in your system for up to 90 days after you last consumed it.

Find Help for Methadone Addiction

If you or a loved one are addicted to methadone, it’s time to seek professional help. Whether you started abusing this drug in a treatment program or off of the street, drug rehab can help you regain control over your life.

To receive assistance in finding a reputable drug rehab program or a sober living home, contact New You Sober Living today.


  1. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): What is Methadone, Retrieved August 2023 From
  2. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Methadone Label, Retrieved August 2023 From
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