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How long does OxyContin stay in your system?

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: OxyContin is a sustained, controlled-release formulation of oxycodone. OxyContin is designed to provide delivery of oxycodone over 12 hours and can be detected in urine 1-3 days after you take it, in blood for 15 to 20 minutes from the time of ingestion, and in hair for 1 month up to 3 months after dosing. Does the extended release formula affect elimination time? And how are drug tests designed to detect OxyContin in the body? More on the peak levels, half life, and detection times for OxyContin below.



OxyContin, a trade name for the narcotic “oxycodone hydrochloride”, is a painkiller available by prescription only. OxyContin is legitimately prescribed for relief of moderate to severe pain resulting from injuries, bursitis, neuralgia, arthritis, and cancer. Individuals abuse OxyContin for the euphoric effect it produces—an effect similar to that associated with heroin use.

The main ingredient in OxyContin, oxycodone, is a pure agonist opioid whose principal therapeutic action is analgesia (pain relief). With pure opioid agonist analgesics, there is no defined maximum dose; the ceiling to analgesic effectiveness is imposed only by side effects, the more serious of which may include somnolence and respiratory depression.

OxyContin is prescribed in doses of 10-80 mg daily, and is to be taken orally as a tablet. Is available as a 10 milligram (mg), 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg tablet. The tablets vary in color and size according to dosage. The tablets are imprinted with the letters OC on one side and the number of milligrams on the opposite side.

People who abuse OxyContin cut, break, chew, crush, or dissolve OxyContin. But this type of use leads to rapid immediate release of oxycodone in the body and can lead to overdose or death. The potency of OxyContin is about equal to morphine. People, who take OxyContin to get high, for the euphoric effects, are most likely to become addicted to OxyContin. Anyone who takes OxyContin in ways other that prescribed (cut, broken, chewed, crushed, or dissolved) or without a prescription is at risk of becoming addicted to the drug.

Peak Levels

The peak level of a drug is the highest level of a medicine in the body. Peak levels are compared with trough levels, which are the lowest concentration of the medicine in the body. These two indicators help doctors monitor drug use and adjust prescriptions accordingly.

OxyContin tablets achieve maximal blood level peak concentrations at about three hours after dosing, compared with 1-1.5 hours for immediate release oral oxycodone. Peak and trough concentrations of oxycodone from OxyContin tablets 10 mg administered 12-hourly are similar to those achieved from immediate release oxycodone 5 mg administered once every 6 hours. Dose proportionality has been established for the 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg and 80mg tablet strengths for both peak plasma concentrations and extent of absorption.

Compared with morphine (absolute bioavailability of approximately 30%), oxycodone has a high absolute bioavailability of up to 87% following oral administration. But what affects its absorption?

Recent fasted and fed studies for OxyContin 10, 40 and 80 mg tablets indicate that food has no significant effect on the extent of absorption of oxycodone from OxyContin tablets. Following absorption, oxycodone is distributed throughout the entire body. Oxycodone has also been found in breast milk.

Half Life

A medicine’s half-life is how long it takes for half of the dose to be eliminated from the bloodstream. In medical terms, the half-life of a drug is the time it takes for the plasma concentration of a drug to reach half of its original concentration.

The mean apparent half-life of OxyContin tablets is 6.5 hours and steady-state is achieved in about one day. As a comparison, oxycodone has an elimination half-life of approximately three hours and is metabolized in the liver. From this comparison, we can see how OxyContin is truly an extended release version of oxycodone, as it take the body nearly twice as long to eliminate half of the drug from the system.

OxyContin Drug Testing

Typically, drug screens for OxyContin are urine based. Initial screening uses an immunoassay method to identify the presence of oxycodone. Then, a second confirmatory test is required unless a positive result has been expected or drug use is disclosed. Confirmatory drug tests use gas chromatography/mass spectrometry or liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (GC/MS or LC/MS/MS) to verify a presumptive positive result.

The recommended cutoff level for oxycodone is 100 ng/mL, below the standard opioid assay cutoff level of 300 ng/ml.

Blood Sample Test

In the blood, oxycodone can be detected within 15 to 20 minutes from the time of ingestion. The concentration reaches its peak within 1 hour, but remains detectable at a constant concentration for up to 1 day.

Hair Sample Test

Oxycodone can also be detected in hair follicles for up to 1 month, sometimes up to 3 months. Detection through hair testing is quite expensive and reliable for routine drug testing.

Urine Sample Tests

The oxycodone contained in OxyContin can be detected in urine for 1-3 days. Oxycodone is metabolized to oxymorphone, so these may both be present in the urine of oxycodone users.

At Home Tests

At home drug tests for OxyContin typically indicate if one or more prescription or illegal drugs are present in urine. These tests detect the presence of drugs such oxycodone. The testing is done in two steps. First, you do a quick at-home test. Second, if the test suggests that drugs may be present, you send the sample to a laboratory for additional testing. Take no serious actions until you get the laboratory’s result. Many factors may cause a false positive result in the home test.

In fact, no drug test of this type is 100% accurate. There are several factors that can make the test results negative even though the person is abusing drugs. First, you may have tested for the wrong drugs. On the other hand, you may not have tested the urine when it contained drugs.

It takes time for drugs like OxyContin to appear in the urine after a person takes them, and they do not stay in the urine indefinitely; you may have collected the urine too late or too soon. It is also possible that the chemicals in the test went bad because they were stored incorrectly or they passed their expiration date.

 How to Use

An at home drug test usually contains:

  1. A sample collection cup.
  2. A test strip, a test card, a test cassette, or other method for testing.
  3. An instruction leaflet or booklet.

It is very important that the person doing the test reads and understands the instructions first, before even collecting the sample. This is important because with most test kits, the result must be visually read within a certain number of minutes after the test is started.

You collect urine in the sample collection cup and test it according to the instructions. If the test indicates the preliminary presence of one or more drugs, the sample should be sent to a laboratory where a more specific chemical test will be used order to obtain a final result. Some home use kits have a shipping container and pre-addressed mailer in them. If you have questions about using these tests, or the results that you are getting, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Efficacy of At Home Tests

At home drug tests are usually qualitative tests. You’ll be able find out if OxyContin is present in the urine, but not how much is present. A positive test for oxycodone does not mean that a person is abusing the drug, because there is no way for the test to indicate acceptable levels compared to abusive levels of prescribed drugs.

At home testing is fairly sensitive to the presence of oxycodone in the urine. This means that if drugs are present, you will usually get a preliminary (or presumptive) positive test result. It is very important to send the urine sample to the laboratory to confirm a positive at home result because certain foods, food supplements, beverages, or medicines can affect the results of at-home tests. Laboratory tests are the most reliable way to confirm drugs of abuse.

But when should you use an at home test? You should use these tests when you think someone might be abusing prescription or illegal drugs. If you are worried about a specific drug, make sure to check the label to confirm that this test is designed to detect the drug you are looking for.

Problems with OxyContin

If you think that you have problems with OxyContin, you probably do. Help is available and treating OxyContin addiction may be one of the most important decisions of your life.

Still, there are some main signs of a problem. These include:

  • Continued use despite problems with health, work, or relationships.
  • Craving OxyContin.
  • Quitting OxyContin, but not being able to stay quit.
  • Making OxyContin the most important thing in your life.

If this sounds familiar, you are not alone!

The 2016 NSDUH, or National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 3.9 million people misused oxycodone products in the past year; this number represents 1.4 percent of people aged 12 or older. You can read this testimonial from NIDA about how pain medication can gradually take over your life. Plus, the Surgeon General has helped de-stigmatize addiction by explaining the brain disease of substance use disorders in his landmark 2016 report.

Still wondering what to do? Please leave us your questions, comments or experience with OxyContin below. We are happy to respond to all queries with a personal reply.

Reference Sources: FDA: Opioid Misuse
GuildLink: OxyContin Tablets
NIH: The controversy surrounding OxyContin abuse: issues and solutions
DEA: Oxycodone
Justice: OxyContin Diversion and Abuse
Toxnet: Oxycodone

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29 Responses to “How long does OxyContin stay in your system?
scotty smith
2:12 pm October 28th, 2012

i been on oxycontin 40 mg and oxycodone 10 mg now for 4 years. i have cancer and constantly in severe pain. im scared if and when i do get better if ill be haveing those auful withdraws . and if so what can i do about it. right now if i dont take it i end up back in the er. i no at times i shake really bad. well ty

2:05 pm October 30th, 2012

Hello scotty. We wish you a full and healthy body – one that is cancer and pain free! When the time comes to get off OxyContin and oxycodone, you can work out a tapering schedule with your prescribing doctor. Tapering dosages over the course of 4-6 weeks is an effective way of decreasing the intensity and severity of withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, you can ask for more information about medications like clonidine which target specific withdrawal symptoms. Lastly, there are over-the-counter and home remedies like NSAIDs, warm bath/shower and hot pads which can help ease discomfort caused by withdrawal. In the end, withdrawal is an uncomfortable phase…but one that will pass.

Does this help?

10:22 pm November 16th, 2012

Hello Scotty… I have been addicted to Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Heroin and Methadone and have had to come off of all of them at one time or another. I recently kicked methadone after a 4 month taper process from 80ml/day to 6ml/day and had horrible withdrawl symptoms. But I had found that the more i focused and worried about the withdrawl, the worse it was to go through.

Basically, dont worry about it. Concentrate on staying healthy and beating the cancer. You will be in such a great state of mind when you beat it, that a tapered withdrawl will be nothing at all to handle.

Good Wishes,

10:44 am June 24th, 2013

Scotty Smith, when the time comes look into some herbal alternatives. The Kratom Tree indigenous to south east Asia, is the best thing for opiate withdraws. Only nature can truly be your solution to the torture that nature has bestowed upon the dependence to opiates. Any man made or engineered derivatives will poison your body and mind further. So good health and god-speed.

5:45 am February 1st, 2014

hi, i took an oxy op 30 on friday night and am getting drug tested on wednesday night, will it still be in my system?

6:02 pm February 6th, 2014

Should be fine. Wrong post to hijack though.

5:34 am November 13th, 2014

how long doaes oxy stay in your system ive been takin like 60mg a day for a month n I have a drug screen n 5 days will I b alright I really need this job

3:59 pm November 17th, 2014

Hi Chris. As stated in the article above, OxyContin can be detected in urine for 1-3 days after the last dose was taken. Best of luck with the job!

shane h
10:17 pm February 21st, 2015

I took 5 oxy 20 on Saturday i have taken any i a mounth or 2and got to take drug test Tuesday morning pee and mouth swab will I pass

12:43 pm March 9th, 2015

How long does it stay in your system if you were properly prescribed by dr. And it’s been 2 years???? Because I’m detoxing & wanna be done with this evil drug, it’s day 4!

6:49 am September 18th, 2015

this is for anyone asking how long it takes oxycodone to leave your body for a urine test. its been answered already just read. 24-72 hours. done. again, 24-72 hours, 1-3 days, 24-72 hours,
1440-4320 minutes, 24-72 hours, 1-3 days, 1440-4320 minutes, 86400-259200 seconds. one more time… 24-72 hours. it’s everywhere… and here I even created a formula for u.

d x 200 x 2^-(n/h)

where d = the dose in milligrams you took, n = hours since your last dose, and h = the biological half-life of said substance. since there is a range with half-life do the math with the minimum and the maximum half-life to give you your range. if you use everyday double the dose to be safe. if you use twice a day triple the dose. if you use three or more times a day quadruple the dose to be safe. your answer is in nanograms per milliliter. even if you do 10 30’s at a time 3 times a day your last dose would be 300mg. quadrupled is 1200mg and when plugged in with a maximum half-life of 5 hours, after 60 hours your level is 58.6 n/ml which passes most of the time.

4:56 am November 9th, 2015

I have taken OxyContin a few times 5 – 6 days ago, and I have taken a home test to prescreen myself for an upcoming job which requires a drug test.

The results show basically negative but the line is very faint.

I have been drinking plenty of water and detoxing with organic green juice. Why does the test kit still faintly look positive for OXY?

1:47 am November 18th, 2015

Just wanted to know how long it will it take my body to feel better again since I went off 120mg I feel so tried and want to sleep alot just need an answer please

7:12 pm November 18th, 2015

Hello Ida. Everything depends on how the drug affects your body. It needs time for your body to adapt the new environment, the environment without OxyContin. Be patient in your recovery, and if you can’t used to it, talk with a doctor to plan you a tapering schedule.

2:14 am December 1st, 2015

I took half of one around 1130 this morning and I have a doc appt tomorrow at 430, do you think it’ll be out by then

11:05 am December 1st, 2015

Hello Ashlee. Well, experts claim that OxyContin can be detected in the urine 1-3 days after its use. However, it all depends on the drug dosage, time of use, frequency, metabolism, etc. I think you should tell your doctor that you took half pill, and the reason why you took it, so s/he will understand.

2:47 pm February 17th, 2016

I was just wondering, i have been taking oxycontin for a few yrs, un perscribed. I dont take it to be high, i have deteriorated disc in my back and some bad knees i dont take it every day. Often i will miss a few days.i use between 40-60 mg when is do take it.doctors wo t give me pain meds. I dnt knw why. I assume because so many people abuse the drug that people like me who need it make it impossible to get. Im deathly afraid of withdrawls. I went thru it once before and vow to never feel that way again. These pills are costi g me so much money. An anyo e tell me how i can taper down enuff to where i wo t feel like death or am i in this for life?

4:52 pm February 25th, 2016

Hi Rob. Of course you are not stuck for life. In general, the best way to withdrawal from OxyContin is to have your OxyContin dose tapered over time with the help of a physician. Generally, OxyContin doses are decreased by about 20%-25% from your current dose every week (but you can decrease doses every other week). The slower and more gradual the tapering, the better and safer for you. You can use medications treat OxyContin withdrawal symptoms, such as: antidepressants, clonidine (for regulating blood pressure), insomnia medications, NSAIDs (medications like Advil or ibuprofen can help with aches and pains). Speak with your pharmacist about any additional over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies that can help you lessen withdrawal symptoms.

4:52 pm February 25th, 2016

Hi Rob. Of course you are not stuck for life. In general, however, the best way to withdrawal from OxyContin is to have your OxyCotin dose tapered over time with the help of a physician. Generally, OxyContin doses are decreased by about 20%-25% from your current dose every week (but you can decrease doses every other week). The slower and more gradual the tapering, the better and safer for you. You can use medications treat OxyContin withdrawal symptoms, such as: antidepressants, clonidine (for regulating blood pressure), insomnia medications, NSAIDs (medications like Advil or ibuprofen can help with aches and pains). Speak with your pharmacist about any additional over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies that can help you lessen withdrawal symptoms.

7:20 pm March 21st, 2016

I am taking Oxycontin for about 4 months about 2 30mlg a day sat morining waS my last one it is now monday will it be out of my system n how long till i feel normal

7:59 am September 11th, 2016

I have been on opiate pain meds for many years (, prescribed ) Right now my dose is 4 15 mg per day, to taper off what is the best time table, and would Suboxin help, or how does Suboxin help with tapering off the opiates. Thanks

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:17 pm September 23rd, 2016

Hi Taryn. I’d suggest that you speak with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.

4:13 pm September 15th, 2016

how long exactly does OXYCODONE VS OXYDONTIN stay in urine? thery are tow different meds. thanks

8:55 pm September 19th, 2016

hi I took a oxycotin 20 mg on a mon a week ago, I’m 215lbs only one will it be out of my system a week later,? can it still get detected if it gets sent to a lab a week later?

11:36 am January 2nd, 2017

Thanks for the info. I am trying to learn all I can so I can have no problems with this drug. I was taking only 2/3rds of what I was prescribed until recently when my pain got alot worse. So I figured I better learn all that I can just to be safe. Thanks very much for your help!

4:34 pm July 6th, 2017

I’ve been on 60mg extended for 3xdly and 30 mg ir 2 pills 3-4 daily. My chronic pain seems endless. 4 back surgeries, neck fusion, 6 shoulder operations, parathyroid surgery, endless sciatica pain and weakness in my left leg and low back pain whenever I even try to move the trash. A bullet would be cheaper. I continually talk with doctor and psychologist about addiction and they say dependence. After 8 years I’m constantly concerned

12:34 pm July 30th, 2017

Oxycontin has such bad PR. It is a life saving drug for people that truly are living in chronic pain. It’s a shame people & politicians don’t educate themselves. If people want to abuse it and end up dying from an overdose, that is fine. Cleaning the population. I am sick and tired of the Govt punishing us because dumbasses choose to abuse it. Those of you that depend on it to function, make your voice heard with your elected officials or don’t open your mouth when they take it away. Your silence now is telling them it is okay.

2:18 pm March 29th, 2018

I have used Oxycontin for many years. First 80 mg, when my spinal pain & arthritis, & other severe pain, then when it was at a level, I thought I could handle, using a lower dose, I started taking 40mg 2x per day. In all that time, I have never taken an extra pill, nor ever felt high…, just able to function like a normal perso, with some pain, but manageable. There were 3 days, that my Dr. Said I could take 3 tabs, 1 every 8 hours, when I broke my leg. Now I am finding myself, after 20 years being a model patient, 5 days with no prescription…, it was written, but when trying to fill, it stated waiting for prior approval… I am in such extreme pain I don’t know what to do??? I was told by my pharmacist, that I could pay cash for it, but it is $700. If I pay this amount, will insurance, reimburse this amount, once prior authorization is reinstated??? Signed, Helpless & in pain Thank you for listening… Any suggestions, greatly appreciated… I need my life back… 😞💝😌

7:31 am June 21st, 2018

I have to take a hair follicle test for a job but I’ve been taking 15 mg of oxy a day for like a month for back pain is there any way to rid my hair of the drug?

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