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How Long Does Fentanyl Last in Your System?

Most people ask, “how long does fentanyl stay in your system?”. While it depends on how it is taken, there are more factors to consider. Mainly, Fentanyl is an opioid with high potency and can be used illegally and for legal, medical needs. The pain-relieving benefits of the medication can be quite beneficial in treating severe pain. Fentanyl can, however, also be used illegally and is occasionally added to other illegal substances. The amount of time fentanyl stays in your system can change based on several variables. It’s critical to understand how long fentanyl is expected to linger in your system if you or a loved one takes the substance.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more powerful. It is a Schedule II controlled substance [1], typically used to treat or manage patients with severe pain after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat patients with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to other opioids. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) [2], fentanyl may be habit-forming. Taking certain medications with fentanyl may increase the risk of developing severe or life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, or coma.

Most recent cases of fentanyl overdose and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin or cocaine as a combination drug —with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [3], rates of overdose deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (carfentanil) increased by over 16% from 2018 to 2019. More than 36,000 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, in 2019.

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Fentanyl Fact Sheet

Fentanyl

Common brand names include Duragesic, Abstral, Subsys, and Ionsys

Fentanyl is considered a narcotic.

Fentanyl is used to treat severe pain.


Controlled substance

High risk for addiction and dependence. Can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses or when combined with other substances, especially alcohol or other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine.


Brands: Duragesic, Abstral, Subsys, and Ionsys

Availability: Prescription needed

Pregnancy: Consult a doctor

Alcohol: Avoid. Very serious interactions can occur

Drug class: Opioid

Fentanyl

Common brands: Duragesic, Abstral, Subsys

Narcotic

It can treat severe pain.

DEA Warning Candy looking Fentanyl Dangers

The DEA has issued warnings that fentanyl pills look like candy are being sold across America. Likened to “rainbow fentanyl” in the media, the trend wherein fentanyl pills look like candy appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell the highly addictive drug.

Controlled substance

High risk for addiction and dependence. Can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses or when combined with other substances, especially alcohol or other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine.


Brands: Duragesic, Abstral, Subsys, and Ionsys

Availability: Prescription needed

Pregnancy: Consult a doctor

Alcohol: Avoid. Very serious interactions can occur

Drug class: Opioid

Similar to other opioid analgesics, fentanyl produces effects such as: relaxation, euphoria, pain relief, sedation, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, urinary retention, pupillary constriction, and respiratory depression.


The drug fentanyl should not be used concomitant with certain medications such as CYP3A4 inhibitors like macrolide antibiotics or azole-antifungal agents, and protease inhibitors may increase plasma concentrations of fentanyl, extending the opioid drug action and exacerbating the opioid-induced respiratory depression


Warnings

Call your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine. Do not use too much of this medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to

Fentanyl Statistics

More than 932,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Nearly 92,000 persons in the U.S. died from a drug-involved overdose in 2020, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. And deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise, with 56,516 overdose deaths reported in 2020.

Source:

NIH – Overdose Death Rates


932,000

More than 932,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose.

Source: National Institute On Drug Abuse

91,799

Nearly 92,000 persons in the U.S. died from a drug-involved overdose in 2020, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids.

Source: National Institute On Drug Abuse

56,516

Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise, with 56,516 overdose deaths reported in 2020.

Source: National Institute On Drug Abuse

What is Fentanyl Used for?

Fentanyl is used for the treatment of chronic pain. It’s normally used to treat pain experienced by cancer patients, particularly for “breakthrough pain.” This type of pain happens when a cancer patient already has constant pain medicine, such as morphine, but then experiences sudden, severe pain. Fentanyl acts on the brain’s opioid receptors to alter how the brain experiences distress and react to it. Fentanyl is not intended for short-term pain and will go away in a few days or on an as-needed basis.

When used for surgical applications, it’s often part of the anesthesia given to patients to prevent pain following the surgery. When fentanyl is prescribed medically, it’s available in several different forms, including a tablet, a lollipop, a spray, a dissolving strip, a tablet, an injectable solution, and a patch that goes on the skin. Since there is a high likelihood of abuse and dependence on fentanyl when it’s needed, it’s used under medical supervision. Patients prescribed fentanyl are given instructions, which include not drinking alcohol when taking it and checking with a pharmacist before taking any other over-the-counter or prescription medicines, vitamins, or supplements.

How long does fentanyl stay in your system for? Fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids and can cause an overdose in even the smallest amounts.
How long does fentanyl stay in your system for? Fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids and can cause an overdose in even the smallest amounts.

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How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

How long can fentanyl stay in your system? Since fentanyl can be administered in many different ways, the administration method determines how long the effects last and how long it may remain in your system. Even though fentanyl produces a fairly short-lasting high, it can last 24 hours or more if taken via a transdermal patch. However, intravenously taking fentanyl in your system may notice that their “high” wears off after 30 minutes. But how long is fentanyl stay in urine? To learn more about this, read ahead.

What is the Half life of Fentanyl?

How long is fetanyl in your system? Depending on the method of administration, the half-life of fentanyl changes. The half-life of a drug like fentanyl estimates the period it takes for the concentration or amount in the body of that drug to be reduced by exactly one-half (50%).

It takes approximately 4-6 half-lives for a substance to leave the system completely. When injected intravenously, fentanyl has a short half-life of 2-4 hours. However, fentanyl has a half-life of 7-17 hours when taken orally or transdermally. Even though the effects of fentanyl will wear off long before it is eliminated from your system, the drug will leave traces of itself in the form of metabolites. Metabolites are what drug tests screen for.

Even though fentanyl is more potent and dangerous than most other opioids, most standard drug tests do not recognize fentanyl. This is because drug tests look for metabolites – not actual drugs. And, since fentanyl doesn’t metabolize into morphine-like other opioids do, many drug tests will not detect fentanyl. However, if the person administering the test sends the sample to a lab or testing, fentanyl can be seen via an advanced drug test.

Factors That Affect Fentanyl Detection Time

There is no way to say precisely how long fentanyl stays in your system because each person is different. Many factors influence drug detection times and how long drugs remain in the body. Most elements have to do with how your metabolism works, such as:

  • Dose: The more fentanyl in the body, the longer it will take to eliminate it.
  • Metabolism: Impaired renal or liver function will lead to slower metabolism of fentanyl.
  • Location of the patch: Differences in the thickness of the skin and subcutaneous fat in various places on the body mean that the rate of absorption of fentanyl depends on where the patch is placed.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Urine?

How long does fentanyl stay in urine? While often undetected by standard drug tests, an advanced urine drug test can be used to identify fentanyl. In this case, fentanyl can be recognized in urine for eight to 24 hours, depending on various factors, including age, weight, and more. While urine tests may not identify fentanyl after a full day, other methods still detect it, and the drug can continue to wreak havoc on the body after improper use.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Hair?

Hair is one of the most telling features of a person’s health. Because of its relatively slow growth process, it is often one of the most accurate health history timelines. For this reason, hair drug testing can be one of the most effective and telling signs of long-term drug use. Fentanyl can be detected in hair for up to 90 days, about three months.

Because of this uncertainty, many people who misuse opioids now do “test doses” in hopes that they will be able to tell if the drug is laced with fentanyl.
Because of this uncertainty, many people who misuse opioids now do “test doses” in hopes that they will be able to tell if the drug is laced with fentanyl.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Blood?

Blood testing is one of the least effective methods of detecting drug use over a long period. Fentanyl can only be recognized in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours. Although it typically isn’t detectable in the blood for longer than half a day, the negative side effects of long-term opioid use manifest themselves in various ways, including life-threatening addiction and potential fentanyl overdose.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your Saliva?

Saliva can be used for various tests — from DNA to drug testing. Doctors may take a saliva swab or spittle sample to learn more about a patient. Saliva drug tests are often more accurate than urine or blood tests as they detect fentanyl for one to four days after use.

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Fentanyl Overdose

Anyone who uses drugs that may contain fentanyl, even occasionally, is at risk of a fentanyl overdose. A fentanyl overdose can overwhelm the central nervous system, disrupting the pathways that control heart function and breathing. Many people who overdose on fentanyl will fall asleep and never wake up if someone at risk of a fentanyl overdose is breathing exceptionally shallowly or slowly. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to a coma, permanent brain damage, and even death.

Many drug dealers mix the cheaper fentanyl with other drugs like heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine to increase their profits, making it often difficult to know which drug is causing the overdose. Naloxone is a medicine that can treat a fentanyl overdose when given right away. It works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors and blocking the effects of opioid drugs. But fentanyl is more potent than other opioid drugs like morphine and might require multiple doses of naloxone.

Fentanyl Top FAQs

  1. How long does fetanyl stay in urine?

    While often undetected by standard drug tests, an advanced urine drug test can be used to identify fentanyl and can be seen within 8-24 hours.

  2. How long is fentanyl in your system?

    Fentanyl produces a short-lasting high and stays for about 24 hours or more, depending on the method.

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Fentanyl can have harmful cross-reactions with other sedatives. This can be seen in Klonopin detox symptoms (clonazepam), Xanax addiction (alprazolam), Ativan addiction (lorazepam), and alcohol abuse. The combination of these drugs will intensify the depressing effects on the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The following are symptoms of fentanyl overdose:

  • Body is limp
  • Awake, without the ability to speak
  • Changes in skin color (darker-skinned people look grayish or ashen, and lighter-skinned people look bluish-purple)
  • Vomiting
  • The face is pale or clammy
  • Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish black
  • Pulse (heartbeat) is slow, erratic, or not there at all
  • Making a snore-like gurgling noise or “death rattle,” choking sounds
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Non-responsive to outside stimulus
  • Very slow, shallow, erratic, or stopped breathing

Fentanyl Withdrawal

Although fentanyl is used and prescribed in medical settings, it is also diverted for street use. When purchased on the streets, fentanyl may be called “china girl,” “china white,” “china town,” or “apache.” The effects of fentanyl are similar to those of other opioids. However, they are far more intense. It is difficult to quit Fentanyl without proper help. 

Fentanyl produces euphoric effects, pushing people to start abusing the drug in the first place. It makes the user feel good. That’s why many people take it recreationally, not knowing the risks. And if a person is already addicted, attempting to quit without proper treatment will result in fentanyl withdrawal.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone who suffers from an addiction to fentanyl suddenly stops using, fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can occur. These can include:

  • Fentanyl withdrawal and cravings
  • Goosebumps
  • Runny nose
  • Increased tearing
  • Sweating
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Excessive yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscles aches
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation

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How to Safely Detox from Fentanyl?

Fentanyl addiction detox is the medically assisted withdrawal from fentanyl for optimal safety and comfort. Detox should be done as part of an overall recovery plan. It is important to remember that recovery from substance addiction takes much more than simply ending drug use. The underlying causes of the addiction and the mental illness from the addiction itself must be addressed for the best chances of a successful recovery.



Benefits of An Inpatient Fentanyl Detox Program:

  • 24/7 medical observation
  • Luxury facilities & amenities
  • Medication assistance for fentanyl withdrawal symptoms
  • Nutritional supplements provided to support detox
  • Access to alternative detox therapies

The inpatient treatment approach works best as it aims to change the person’s behaviors. Also, help them establish social support systems and better-coping methods. A person will likely experience many different side effects from their drug use. These side effects may be emotional, physical, or mental. For example, someone with fentanyl withdrawal will likely experience many uncomfortable feelings and negative thoughts about life during the detox process. Unfortunately for those with dependency, detox is an unavoidable first treatment step for fentanyl addiction and to avoid any possibility of a fentanyl overdose. 

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We at Level Up NJ provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to medically assist your recovery through our Fentanyl Treatment Program. So, reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. “How long does fentanyl stay in your system after surgery?” is a question many misusers may have. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

How long does fentanyl stay in system?  It’s important to consult an addiction specialist about stopping taking fentanyl. 
How long does fentanyl stay in system?  It’s important to consult an addiction specialist about stopping taking fentanyl. 

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How long does fentynal stay in urine?

Standard drug tests frequently miss the presence of fentanyl, but an advanced urine drug test can detect it, and fentanyl can stay in urine for 8–24 hours.

How long will fentanyl stay in your system?

Depending on the method of ingestion, fentanyl can last up to 24 hours or more in the body.

How long does it take fentanyl to leave your system?

Fentanyl can stay in the system for about 24 hours or more, depending on the test used. After that, fentanyl will leave your system.

How to get fentanyl out your system?

To get fentanyl out of your system, wait up to 72 hours to allow your system to remove fentanyl.

Fentanyl how long does it stay in your system?

Fentanyl can stay up to 72 hours in the system, depending on what test is used to detect it.

How long does a fentanyl patch stay in your system? And how long does fentanyl patch stay in your system?

When fentanyl is taken via a transdermal patch, fentanyl can stay in your system for 24 hours or more.

How long does fentanyl stay in your blood system?

When fentanyl detection is done using the blood, it can be detected for up to 12 hours.

How long does IV fentanyl stay in your system?

When taken intravenously, fentanyl has a half-life of 4-6 hours, and it can be detected in your system during that time.

Sources:

[1] Fentanyl – https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/fentanyl – United States Drug Enforcement Administration

[2] Fentanyl Withdrawal – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605043.htmlU.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health

[3] What is fentanyl? – https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/basics/fentanyl.html – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[4] Silverstein JH, Rieders MF, McMullin M, Schulman S, Zahl K. An analysis of the duration of fentanyl and its metabolites in urine and saliva. Anesth Analg. 1993 Mar;76(3):618-21. DOI: 10.1213/00000539-199303000-00030. PMID: 8452277. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8452277/