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How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

Written by Abby Doty

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD

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What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid often used in medical settings for severe pain management. It can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine, making it one of the most dangerous drugs when misused. Fentanyl is available in several forms, including lozenges, patches, tablets and even as a powder in its illicit form.

How Does Fentanyl Work?

Fentanyl works by interacting with the body’s opioid receptors, primarily found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. When fentanyl binds to these receptors, it can produce feelings of relaxation and euphoria. However, due to its potency, it can also lead to severe side effects and addiction when used without medical supervision or beyond prescribed limits.

Side Effects of Fentanyl

Fentanyl can cause a range of side effects, including confusion, drowsiness, constipation, nausea, vomiting and shallow breathing. More severe long-term effects can include respiratory depression, liver damage and heart problems.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from fentanyl can include anxiety, insomnia, agitation, muscle aches, excessive sweating, diarrhea, respiratory depression and dilated pupils. These symptoms typically begin around 24 hours after the last dose and can last for days or even weeks, depending on the individual and the amount of fentanyl they have been taking.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

The duration that fentanyl stays in a person’s system depends on several factors, including metabolism, weight, body mass, age, kidney and liver function, and frequency of drug use.

Fentanyl can be detected in the body through various drug tests. A urine test can detect fentanyl between 24 to 72 hours after the last use, while a blood test can detect it anywhere from 3 to 12 hours after the last dose. Hair tests can detect fentanyl up to 90 days after the last use.

The Half-Life of Fentanyl

The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body. The half-life of fentanyl varies widely depending on the dosage form: while the half-life of fentanyl lozenges can be as short as 3.2 hours, the fentanyl skin patch has a half-life of up to 27 hours. The half-life can also vary depending on the person’s age, with fentanyl’s half-life being longer in older adults than younger adults.

How To Recover From Fentanyl Abuse

Recovering from fentanyl abuse requires professional help due to the drug’s potency and the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Treatment typically includes a combination of medical detox, controlled prescribed medication and behavioral therapies.

Behavioral therapies can include general counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management and motivational enhancement. These therapies can help individuals develop positive habits, coping skills and relapse prevention techniques.

Seeking Help for Fentanyl Addiction in Missouri

If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl addiction, it’s crucial to seek help as soon as possible. Overdose can lead to death, making it essential to reach out to specialists who can provide the necessary support and resources. Treatment centers offer detoxification and residential programs to help individuals safely manage withdrawal symptoms and recover from opioid abuse.

Addiction is not a character flaw or a sign of weakness—it’s a complex health condition that requires professional treatment. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help.


Insurance May Cover Fentanyl Addiction Treatment

Your insurance plan may cover some or all of the cost of treatment for fentanyl addiction. Our online health insurance verification system will estimate your in-network and out-of-network deductibles, coinsurance percentages and out-of-pocket maximums. Within 5 minutes, you’ll receive an email with these details – free of charge

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    Sources

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    Drugs.com. “FentaNYL Monograph for Professionals.” April 19, 2023. Accessed August 6, 2023.

    Gryczynski, Jan, et al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-reported Drug Use among Primary Care Patients with Moderate-risk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, May 17, 2014. Accessed August 6, 2023.

    ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” September 2022. Accessed August 6, 2023.

    ARUP Laboratories. “Therapeutic Drug Monitoring.” February 2023. Accessed August 6, 2023.

    American Society of Addiction Medicine. “National Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder.” December 18, 2019. Accessed August 6, 2023.

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Protracted Withdrawal.” July 2010. Accessed August 6, 2023.

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