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How long does Fentanyl stay in the system?

When used by medical professional, and as prescribed, Fentanyl can be an effective means of treating chronic or extreme pain. However, it’s effectiveness makes it an appealing target for opiate addicts. And Fentanyl is increasingly tested for use as a drug of abuse.

Q: So, how long does it take for the body to eliminate Fentanyl? How long can it be detected in drug tests?
A: Fentanyl can take anywhere from a day to two days (or sometimes more) to leave the system.

Continue reading to learn about Fentanyl’s duration and addictive potential. Your questions are welcomed in the section at the end of the page, and we try to answer personally, as soon as possible.

What is Fentanyl, and is it dangerous?

Fentanyl is a Schedule II opiate medication, meaning it has some medicinal value but also possesses a high risk for abuse. It is intended for use with pain relief in hospitals or for patients with chronic and severe pain issues. However, the opiate epidemic has turned Fentanyl and its synthetic analogs into lethal threats comparable to heroin and other street drugs.

Fentanyl and illegally-produced Fentanyl copycats have acted as gasoline on the fire of the opiate epidemic. Fentanyl is 50-100 times more powerful than morphine, and 30-50 times more potent than heroin itself. This puts even experienced heroin users at risk of Fentanyl overdose if taken in excess. Further, in “street mixes” of heroin and Fentanyl, oftentimes the ratio of Fentanyl to heroin is totally unknown, which could also lead to overdose.

Fentanyl and Fentanyl-laced heroin have many street names, including Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, Tango, and Cash.

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How does Fentanyl work?

Fentanyl activates the opiate receptors in the brain, particularly in areas of the brain that process emotions and pain sensitivity. Does Fentanyl get you high? When you take any opiate, including Fentanyl, it increases the amount of free-floating dopamine in these parts of the brain, producing a “high” feeling, or sensation of euphoria. However, it also seriously affects the parts of the brain responsible for some critical life functions such as breathing and heart rate. The way that opiates cause death when taken in excess (i.e., overdose) is the depression of respiration- essentially. An overdose can cause the user to stop breathing, which leads to brain damage and death if not reversed in time.

How long does Fentanyl stay in the system?

In general, the answer to this question depends on a host of factors:

  • How much Fentanyl has been taken
  • The route of administration
  • How long of a time period it has been taken for
  • Subjective factors such as height, weight, gender, general health, and drug history

If Fentanyl has been administered intravenously (IV), for example, it clears from the body’s system much faster than if it has been taken transdermally (i.e., the patch) or transmucosally (i.e., lozenges). IV Fentanyl is usually cleared from the body in roughly 11-22 hours, depending on the other interacting factors.

Other administration methods can take up to a day and a half or two days.

However, as Fentanyl breaks down it leaves behind traces called “metabolites”, and these can be shown in plasma or urine screens for an even longer period of time. This means that a particularly thorough drug test could detect use even after several days of “staying clean”.

Is there a way to rapidly detox from Fentanyl?

There are some facilities that advocate for “Rapid Detox”, which is typically anesthesia-assisted withdrawal. The patient or addict is sedated under medical supervision while they are put into immediate medical withdrawal from a drug by use of an opiate blocker. However, this procedure can be expensive and is rarely covered by insurance companies. Further, studies have shown that this method does not produce any significant reduction in withdrawal discomfort compared to any other methods.

What is Fentanyl detox like?

Like any other opiate, detoxing from Fentanyl is not a pleasant experience. When medically supervised, detox is typically safe, and many side effects can be alleviated with other medications. When do you start withdrawing from Fentanyl? If you’ve developed dependence on Fentanyl, you’ll begin withdrawal close to your next expected dose n the first 24 hours after last use.

Additionally, if an addict is detoxing in a non-medical environment, without proper care and assistance, the symptoms can be severe and debilitating. When your body is used to receiving any drug on a regular basis, it can develop physical dependence, meaning the removal of that drug “throws off” the body and creates a host of unpleasant symptoms. Fentanyl withdrawal can cause:

  • chills
  • extreme nausea
  • gastrointestinal cramping
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • muscle and bone discomfort or pain
  • restlessness
  • severe anxiety
  • sweating

Questions about Fentanyl?

Do you still have questions about how Fentanyl affects the body and can be traced? Please leave your questions in the comments section. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: DEA: Drug Chem Info for Fentanyl
DEA: Drug Diversions
NIDA: Withdrawal not easier with ultrarapid opiate detox
Mental Health Daily: How long does Fentanyl stay in your system

 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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20 Responses to “How long does Fentanyl stay in the system?
Rick
4:38 am February 2nd, 2017

I am a IV user of heroin and am dealing with it being palluted with fentanyl they put it in the heroin because it’s more addicting and it makes week heroin stronger it’s cheap and I am on the methodone as well and get urine tested every week to get a home carry for the week I see my doc on tues leave a sample of pee then I use heroin Tuesday and Wednesday but can’t use any more or it will show in my next weeks pee test so it’s safe to say it’s all cleaned out of my system heroin and fentanyl by Tuesday morning the peaple on methodone seem to be not as effected (dying) as those who aren’t the methadone cuts down on the effects but is still very risky

Michael
1:58 pm March 8th, 2017

Best and fastest way to clear body from herion and fentaly for urine test. How to detox . Any home remedies?
Plz and thx.

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
7:22 pm March 13th, 2017

Hi Michael. Call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7. You will speak to a sympathetic, well-trained individual who can help you find a reliable recovery program that will meet your treatment needs.

Cici
9:55 pm March 17th, 2017

I went into detox march1 I used fentanyl Day before. Now I took a drug test march 7th and today my doctor said I had traces of that drug when I tested on 7th. How is this possible?

Tom
8:55 pm March 27th, 2017

My daughter was in a residential program for fentanyl use. She was drug tested (urine) 7 days after arrival and tested positive yet swears on her son’s life that she did not use. Is this possible? Is it possible for these traces of metabolites that you say stay in the system even longer be enough to cause a false positive 7 days later? Is a drug testing facility able to distinguish between usage and residual metabolites?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:27 pm March 28th, 2017

Hi Cici. The usual time-frames change for chronic, heavily, and/or binge users. This means that the drug can stay longer in the system. If you want to learn more about drug testing, I suggest that you download our free e-book ‘The Definitive Guide to Drug Testing’ here: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/the-definitive-guide-to-drug-testing/

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
5:36 pm March 30th, 2017

Hi Tom. The drug timeframe for heavy and/or chronic users are longer. This means that the drug stays in the system for a longer period of time. If you want to learn more about drug testing, download our free e-book ‘The Definitive Guide to Drug Testing’ here: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/the-definitive-guide-to-drug-testing/

Douglas
6:12 pm April 8th, 2017

I was gave fentanyl patch for very bad back but 4th patch was defective and put the full 3 day dose in my body have many health problems from this the worse being a cough that will not stop i turn blue just will not stop at times it makes me sick, this id one of many things many times close to death and many times as bad as i am wish i would have died the night it happened please help

Maria
8:46 pm April 8th, 2017

I was given fentanyl when I was in the hospital after the procedure that I had. After I was in recovery I had severe abdomen pain very excruciating unbearable and they gave me Fentanyl this drug didn’t take the first time they gave it to me so they gave it me more I don’t know how many milligrams but the next day I came home and I had all the symptoms that you have laid out there and I’m still having those symptoms I need to know how long it will take me to get this out of my system because I can’t I won’t and I don’t want to liver disease symptoms.

Mary
1:57 am April 21st, 2017

Have been on Fentyal 150mcgs for 15 years and want to end this cycle. I’d rather live with pain and feel alive for the rest of my life. As it is I live to make sure I have my medicine each month and it’s driving me nuts. Any suggestions?

4:31 pm April 21st, 2017

Hi Mary. What pain are you using it for?
You can read more about Fentanyl withdrawal, here: http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/when-does-fentanyl-withdrawal-start/

Margaret
12:59 am April 22nd, 2017

I was on 150mcg/hr Fentanyl for over 25 years due to 5 back surgeries. I took my last patch on February 16th 2017. I now am using 5mg Oxycodone 4xday. I feel like I am still withdrawing from the Fentanyl. After so many years is the Fentanyl in my bone marrow and will it take months to get rid of all of it?

Rikki
2:32 am April 23rd, 2017

Hi i am an IV user and desperatly want to quit. I know what im getting these days is more fent than anything if not straight fent. I have suboxones to do this but have been told by several people that the subs didnt seem to work or that they caused their withdrawls to be even worse even tho they waited over 24 hours to take it. Could this be because of the fentanyl? If so, how long should i wait to start the subs to avoid these worse withdrawls? Will the subs even work for withdrawls from fentanyl? I know your gonna say it depends on how much i am using and the answer to that i would say i do half gram to a gram per day

Carrie
5:20 pm April 23rd, 2017

I am withdrawing from phentanl from being on it for 3years,,cold turkey due to my doctor realizing me from her practice because I got my apt day mixed up…I found a doc . And then went to a pain clinic,,they will not administer meds until my urine test comes back..so no phentanl…. hso my doctor gave me 10 mg of oxy/ acetaminophen,,I take it when I feel I can’t take it any more,,3to 4 times a day,,is this drug the same as phentanl, please,please reply,,,,I have been taking it 3fimes a day..I want off these meds,,I’m on these due to cervical pain from motorcycle. Accident..I have had cervical rebuild from 4 to7.p ins plates cadaver bone,,,,,this has been the worst nightmare ever,,thank you,carrie

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:53 pm April 25th, 2017

Hi Margaret. You’ve build up a tolerance to Fentanyl. It needs time for your body to adopt the new fentanyl-free environment. I suggest that you speak with your doctor about all concerns you have with Fentanyl. Also, consult with a pharmacist to recommend some over-the-counter aid, herbs, teas, etc to ease withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, here’s suggested reading on the topic: http://addictionblog.org/?s=fentanyl

Douglas
2:27 pm April 25th, 2017

I was gave patch’s for very bad pain the 4th patch put all 3 day suppli into my body that has been over 2 months ago now after 3 hospital trips never could get my heart rate up they put a pace maker in after blacking out many times plus many more very bad problem like hearing is gone eyes giving me problems , lungs are not good even close as let and Mylan the maker just don’t care. Please stay away from these very bad things

I was told to use these for very bad back pain now my DR. AND myself wish we had never heard of this. After 4 hospital stays the last a pace maker after the Fentanyl patch put all in me for 3 days all at the same time this a killed the then Has MYLAN CARED AT ALL NOT ONE BIT! The pace maker got the heart rate back up were it was before I don’t black out any more. Bujt still dealing with many more side adfects that are very bad losing hearing ,my eye sight nerve probems But good old Mylan would not have cared if it would have killed me the way I fell I would not have either living like this is not fun Douglas

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
1:35 pm May 9th, 2017

Hi Carrie. Both medications are opioids. Experts claim that the best way to quit painkillers is reducing the daily dose. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule. Also, download our free e-book ‘How to Quit Opioid Painkiller’ to learn more about ending these drugs: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/how-to-quit-opioid-painkillers/

Gavin
4:13 pm May 9th, 2017

Hey i am 14 i have questions about withdrawal and charges when one
consumes ¨fent ¨’ not because i use it just for a school project

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:59 am May 11th, 2017
Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:27 am May 15th, 2017

Hi Rikki. I suggest that you consult with your doctor before making any changes in your medications.

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About Heather King, PhD

Heather King, Ph.D., completed her graduate studies in preclinical substance abuse research in July of 2015. She has authored several peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals on the effects of drug abuse on the brain and behavior, and has personal experience in addiction and recovery. She currently works at Serenity Acres, a drug and alcohol treatment center outside of Annapolis, MD.

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