How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your System

How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your System

You always wanted to be a mother, and with the birth of your son, your dream was realized. The plan did not quite go as you thought, though. You required a c-section to save your son. Both of you were healthy and mending well in the hospital. But no one could have prepared you for the pain afterward. Every cough, laugh, and movement felt excruciating, even with the medications your doctor prescribed. With proper consulting and education, he decided to put you on a stronger medication to help.

Now, you are ready to get back to work and build a routine with your son. On your first day back, the management team announces a plant-wide drug screen will be taking place. Is this going to affect you? Your boss knows you just got back and you disclosed all the medications you were given in the hospital and at home. She said the only one you need to prove a prescription for is codeine in case it shows up on the test. You are relieved, you have it in your purse in case you needed to bring it in. But you wonder, how long does codeine stay in the system?

In 2021, 454 deaths occurred from prescription opioids in Virginia. At ReVIDA® Recovery, our goal is to educate our communities on topics surrounding opioid use disorders. We are proud to offer medication-assisted treatment as we have seen firsthand how it has helped save lives. Our dedicated professionals work with you to develop a plan that suits your needs and helps you accomplish your goals. Today, we are looking at the codeine detection time within the body.

Codeine and the Body: How Long Processing Takes

Once codeine enters the body, the process to break it down begins. The liver is responsible for metabolizing codeine as it removes toxins from the body with the help of enzymes. The CYP2D6 enzyme is responsible for converting codeine to morphine, which activates the euphoric effects. However, the CYP2D6 enzyme can be inactive or overactive depending on the person. In those with inactive CYP2D6 enzymes, codeine may not deliver adequate pain relief. In contrast, those with overactive CYP2D6 enzymes will experience rapid conversion of codeine to morphine, and the effects set in quickly. However, those with overactive enzymes are more likely to experience an overdose because of this.

On average, only 5-10% of codeine becomes metabolized to produce effects while 80% is excreted. This percentage can vary depending on which type of enzymes the person has. After codeine is converted to morphine, other enzymes within the liver begin to break it down for removal. The half-life of codeine is around 3 hours, and it can take up to 10 hours to fully metabolize the substance.

codeine detection windows in the body

How Long Is Codeine Detectable?

The detection time of codeine can vary from person to person depending on certain factors. These can include body fat percentage, dosage and frequency, and how long the person has been taking it. There are common tests involved when trying to detect the presence of codeine. Let’s take a look at these further.

Urine Testing

Urine testing can vary in concentrations of codeine they are looking for, but the average urine screen can detect its presence around 3 days after use. In some studies, codeine was still detectable 4.5 days after use, with the range beginning at 2.75 days after. Most of the codeine metabolites are excreted through urine, making this test one of the most common. It is also cost-effective and non-invasive.

Saliva Testing

While saliva testing does have benefits, it has not been proven to be effective with codeine results. Detection with saliva is only a few hours, 4-5 maximum. Even though codeine is still in the system, there is not enough concentration within the saliva to trigger an accurate result. Other countries are trying to develop ways to better test saliva concentrations, but no method has proven 100% effective.

Blood Testing

Codeine has a plasma concentration half-life of 2-4 hours, meaning it can be detectable in the blood for around 8 hours. Blood tests are expensive and invasive as they require a needle stick, but they can be more effective at showing concentration levels than urine tests. Blood tests are typically reserved for situations that require exact concentration levels, such as the person driving impaired and causing an accident. These findings are used to determine how much codeine was present at the time.

Hair Testing

Hair testing for codeine is utilized to show long-term use. A recent study showed that codeine was detectable in the hair follicle just 30 minutes after use. However, in the distal hair – the hair that has grown out away from the scalp – did not produce a positive result until 3 weeks later. The distal hair remained positive up to 10 weeks after the initial dose. This study was performed by administering only a single dose of codeine, not short or long-term use.

Hair tests require setup, sample collection, and lengthy laboratory tests, making them expensive and impractical. However, in cases where someone needs to monitor long-term codeine use, they are very effective. Depending on the person, the dosage, and the length of time taken, a hair test could detect codeine past the 10-week mark.

duration of codeine in your system explained

What Makes Codeine More Detectable?

As we mentioned above, some people may have overactive codeine enzymes, meaning they process more of it into morphine. This can increase the concentration levels within the body and make it more detectable. Other factors can increase codeine detection time, including:

Duration of use – those who take codeine longer will have it stored within fatty tissue. This can increase the amount of time it takes to eliminate it from the body.

Age – as we age, metabolism slows, adding to the amount of time it takes to process codeine.

Combining substances – other prescriptions or substances can interfere with codeine metabolization. Some have been shown to increase the rate of metabolization while others have decreased it. Using codeine with other opioids can produce a toxic level of concentration, resulting in an overdose.

Health issues – those with liver conditions will have a difficult time processing codeine. This can result in a build-up of codeine within the body, increasing detection time.

Can You Get Codeine Out of Your System Faster?

There is no tried and true method to get codeine out of your system faster. You can help your metabolism by staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and exercising. However, exercise can trigger the release of codeine from fat storage, making concentration levels in your system rise. The best way to get codeine out of your system is to refrain from use. This will allow the body to process the codeine without overwhelming the system.

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Get Help for Codeine Use Disorder in Virginia

Having a looming worry about getting drug tested for codeine is no way to try to manage life. The good news is that quality opioid use disorder treatment is available and can address all of your concerns about quitting codeine. With the help of medical professionals, you will be able to discover the root causes of your addiction, develop healthy coping skills, and find what will work for you after you complete the program. You will be prepared with all the tools needed to begin your journey to a successful recovery. For some, medication-assisted treatment will be utilized to reach those goals. This is a proven method of treatment of codeine use disorder and can help you succeed where other treatments may have failed. You are not a lost cause, you can begin today by taking that first step.

Codeine use disorder can take over your life. ReVIDA® Recovery understands how powerless it can feel to lose everything to opioids, which is why our staff treats everyone with respect and compassion. We see you as a person, and with flexible programming and same-day appointments, we are able to help here and now. Call us today at 423-631-0432 to get started.

Reclaim your life.