Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used medically to treat post-surgical pain. Counterfeit pills and other illicitly manufactured versions of the opioid exist as well, and many illicit drugs are now laced with fentanyl. This has contributed to an increase in opioid overdose deaths, as fentanyl is an extremely dangerous drug, especially if you don’t know that you are taking it. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
Fentanyl addiction greatly increases your risk of overdose, so carrying Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of drug overdoses, can save your life. Fentanyl use, even if prescribed, can lead to many different adverse effects before fentanyl overdose, such as poor mental health, back or chest pain, abdominal pain, heartburn, weight loss, trouble sleeping, and tremors. Severe fentanyl use can cause agitation, irregular heartbeat, confusion or hallucinations, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, seizures, and death.
The length of time that fentanyl stays in your system depends on how severe your fentanyl use is and when your last dose of the drug was, as well as a few other factors. When you stop using fentanyl, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms which can vary in intensity. During the withdrawal period, you may find yourself wondering how long it will take until your body has rid your system of fentanyl and the detox phase is over.
The elimination half-life of fentanyl is the most important factor in determining how long the drug will stay in your system. The elimination half-life depends on the way that fentanyl was taken. For intravenous fentanyl, it will be clear from your body the quickest, as the half-life is only about 2 to 4 hours. This means that it will take around 11 to 22 hours for your body to be completely rid of the drug.
Other forms of fentanyl, such as patches and lozenges, have an elimination half-life of approximately 7 hours. This means that it will take about 1 and a half days after your last dose of fentanyl for your body to be completely rid of the drug. Individual factors that can affect the elimination speed of fentanyl include each person’s age, body mass, and liver function.
Fentanyl’s elimination half-life is much shorter for younger users as opposed to elderly users. In young people, the half-life of fentanyl ranges from 4.2 to 4.42 hours, meaning it takes about 1 and a half days for their bodies to be rid of fentanyl. For elderly people, the half-life of fentanyl ranges from 11.1 to 15.75 hours, meaning it can take up to 3 and a half days for their bodies to be completely rid of fentanyl.
If you have a genetically faster metabolism, you will also be able to rid your body of fentanyl much quicker than those with a slower metabolism. Staying well hydrated is another factor that can influence the rate at which you flush the drug out of your system, as drinking plenty of water will help you do so faster.
The dosage and frequency of your fentanyl use affects the elimination half-life as well, since higher quantities of the drug will take longer to exit your system. This is due to the drug slowing your metabolism with each use. Long-term use of fentanyl means you have built up greater quantities of the drug in your tissue, so this will take longer to be eliminated than it would in someone who has only used the drug once.
Another factor that can affect the elimination rate of fentanyl is whether you are taking any other drugs at the same time. This can alter the metabolism rate of fentanyl as the interaction between each drug’s enzymes will have an adverse effect on their elimination rates.
Certain drug tests can detect fentanyl in your system. For urine tests, fentanyl can be detected between 24-72 hours after the last use. Hair tests can detect the drug for a much longer period of up to 3 months, while blood tests can detect fentanyl between 5 and 48 hours after use, depending on the dosage of the drug.
If you are struggling with fentanyl use, Arista Recovery has treatment options in place to help you begin recovery. Contact us today and we’ll put you on the path toward a brighter tomorrow.