How long does Codeine stay in your system?

Effects of codeine and codeine cough syrup (purple drank)

Codeine is an opiate made from the same poppy plant as morphine and is used to treat mild to moderate pain. In addition to relief of pain, a user may experience euphoric effects resulting in risk for abuse. The drug is a prescription medication commonly dispensed in tablet form. Codeine can also be found in a liquid form, prescribed as a cough syrup to treat cough symptoms. 

Codeine can be prescribed in a variety of doses and formulations. Codeine can remain active in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours and often takes about 24 hours to fully process out of the body.

More on codeine withdrawal symptoms and detox.

Life of codeine – drug testing detection times in your body

A drug test can detect codeine in a user’s system once the user has stopped taking the drug. Different types of drug tests will have varying time frames of detecting codeine, for example, saliva testing will not detect codeine for as long as hair follicle tests. The expected time frames for each test to detect the pain medication are as follows:

  • Blood: up to 24 hours
  • Saliva: up to 21 hours
  • Urine: up to 48 hours
  • Hair: up to 10 weeks

Codeine’s half-life

Half-life of a drug is the amount of time it takes for the drug’s active substances to be reduced by 50%.  Codeine has a half-life of about 3 hours, meaning this is the amount of time it takes for half a dose of codeine to leave one’s system.

Codeine drug tests

Codeine drug testing is most commonly conducted through urine, tests. Each drug test and drug screening will provide varying timelines after the effects of the pain medication subside. The level of exposure, as well as how long the patient has been on codeine, are factors that influence the time codeine stays in your system. 

Blood testing

Blood samples can detect codeine up to 24 hours following consumption. Initial detection of codeine in the blood can be seen promptly after ingestion. 

Saliva drug tests

Saliva samples show codeine detectable in oral fluid up to 21 hours following consumption of the pain medication. 

Testing hair follicles

Hair testing indicates that codeine can be detected in hair follicle samples for the longest period of up to 10 weeks following consumption. 

Urine testing

Codeine is detected in urine tests for up to 48 hours following consumption. 

Factors that determine how long codeine stays in the system

The body processes codeine through the kidneys in urine. Circumstances influence how much codeine is in a person’s body at any one time. Codeine abusers who take high doses for a long period of time may take longer than average to remove the drug from a person’s body.

Factors that determine how long codeine stays in your system include:

  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Basal metabolic rate
  • Liver/kidney function
  • Body mass index (BMI) & body fat content 
  • Quantity of codeine consumed
  • Duration of consumption

Risks of codeine – codeine abuse, codeine overdose, and codeine addiction

Codeine is often prescribed by health professionals as a pain reliever and is classified as a controlled substance. However, there are risks associated with the use of the drug including physical dependence, drug abuse, and addiction. Codeine’s addictive nature may result in the user requiring addiction treatment therapies.

Codeine recovery: Medication-Assisted Treatment and other treatments

Like other drug addictions and substance abuse, addiction to codeine can be treated in a suitable rehab program. Health professionals can suggest rehab centers that provide addiction treatment programs and addiction therapies for dual diagnosis should a patient experience co-occurring disorders (eating disorder, opiate addiction, personality disorder). 
The world-renowned ANR procedure treats the root of opioid dependence from a scientific and medical perspective and allows the patient to avoid withdrawals and cravings.

More information on addiction treatment programs and detox programs.

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