Wednesday April 1st 2015

How long does Ritalin stay in your system?

How long does Ritalin stay in your system?

Ritalin doesn’t stay in the body for very long. The drug’s half-life is 3 hours at the most, meaning that Ritalin leaves the body within a few days.  Can Ritalin show up on a drug test? NO, not on a standard 5 panel, but  Ritalin can show up positive for a drug screen panel for amphetamines.  Further, drug detection times can depend on a number of factors – how the drug was taken, how often a person takes the drug, and the person’s body time and metabolism. We review here and invite your questions about Ritalin in the system at the end.

Main Ritalin uses

Ritalin is used to treat ADHD in adults and children. It contains methylphenidate, a stimulant medication. Paradoxically, Ritalin has a calming, focusing effect in people with ADHD. However, in those without the condition, Ritalin can cause agitation and restlessness.  And people who get high on Ritalin abuse it for its euphoric effect.

How do you take Ritalin?

Ritalin comes in an immediate, sustained, and extended release tablet. Although Ritalin is intended to be taken orally, some people abuse Ritalin by crushing the pills and then snorting them. Snorting Ritalin is very dangerous, particularly with the sustained and extended release.

Peak levels and half life of Ritalin

The peak levels and half life of Ritalin depend on the formulation. But with the immediate release version of Ritalin, methylphenidate reaches peak levels in the blood in about 2 hours. And methylphenidate from Ritalin tablets is eliminated from plasma with an average half-life of about 3.5 hours. As a comparison, in children the average half-life of methylphenidate is about 2.5 hours, with a range of about 1.5 – 5.0 hours.

Ritalin drug testing: How long does Ritalin stay in the body?

Because of how quickly Ritalin is metabolized, it doesn’t stay in the body for very long. Even the extended and sustained release formulas should clear a person’s system within a few days of being taken. Ritalin can still be tested for and detected in the system using a variety of methods, including blood, urine and hair sample drug tests.

How long does Ritalin stay in blood?

Because of its relatively short half life, Ritalin does not stay in the blood more than a day. After 24 hours, a urine test might be more accurate.

How long does Ritalin stay in hair?

Ritalin can be detected in hair for at least 90 days. However, the detection window for hair samples depends on the length of someone’s hair and the amount of the drug they’ve taken. Heavy or extended use will be easier to detect in hair screens for Ritalin than occasional use.

How long does Ritalin stay in urine?

Ritalin can be detected in urine for 1-2 days after dosing. Ritalin will be detectable slightly longer if you’ve taken the sustained or extended release version of the drug, simply because not all of the medication is released with the initial dose. Sometimes Ritalin methylphenidate metabolites can linger in the body longer depending on factors like weight or body mass.

Ritalin and addiction

Ritalin is addictive when it is not used for a legitimate medical purpose. Addicts can develop a tolerance to Ritalin, and start taking more Ritalin achieve euphoric side effects. This can lead to withdrawal and can increase the risk of overdose.

Problems with Ritalin?

If you struggle with Ritalin addiction, please see a doctor for help. There may be therapies which can help you quit taking Ritalin. Being open with friends and family about your struggles with Ritalin will help you build a support network that can help keep you accountable.

Ritalin in your system questions

Do you still have questions about Ritalin in your system? Please leave your Ritalin questions below. We will be happy to respond to your questions with a personal and prompt response.

Reference Sources: DMME: Drug Free Workplace
PubMed Health: Methylphenidate
Toxnet: Methylphenidate

DEA: Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

Photo credit: KBoneva

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65 Responses to “How long does Ritalin stay in your system?
10:10 am January 19th, 2012

Hello Alison. What does your doctor say about this issue? Ritalin should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

10:07 pm April 4th, 2012

I took 10mg in one yesterday, and 20mg in today. Is that enough to show in a drug test trough a hair sample that is going to be taken in about a month from today?

8:30 am April 5th, 2012

Hi Will. To be honest, I’m not sure. I do know that chronic amphetamine use shows up during hair analyses 90 days previous to the test itself. But if you’re talking about one time, low dose use…I’m really not sure. Can you report the use in advance of he test in the interest of transparency and face the possible consequences?

11:30 pm April 19th, 2012

is it safe to ingest a MAOI like natural harmala seeds
24 hours after taking ritalin regular size pill?

10:08 pm May 23rd, 2012

I want the methylphedidate to show up on a drug test so if i took only one 10 mg methylphedidate at 8 am and was tested at 2:00 pm. the same day will it show up on that urine test?

9:22 am May 24th, 2012

Hi Larry. If you are using Ritalin as prescribed, and have been tested by your doctor’s office or your employer, methylphenidate will show up under expected min and max cutoff levels. Why do you need methylphenidate to show up on the urine analysis?

11:06 pm May 30th, 2012

My son & I both take 10 mg Ritalin twice a day. The doctor done a urine screen on us to check for it on our system. The screen came back negitive. We take the medication everyday as directed. I don’t understand why it didn’t show up in the urin screen. The bottle reads methylphenidate 10 mg tablet. Can you help

12:16 pm June 1st, 2012

Hi Jennifer. That sounds strange. Do you take any other medications which might interfere with the drug screen results?

6:40 am September 21st, 2012

Hi I took 27 mg er Ritalin prescribed and showed up negative…took it at noon then had blood at around 4pm. I am on tons of meds for chronic illnesses and had my urine show up negative before. What is going on?? So weird. Blood and urine negative.??

11:02 am September 22nd, 2012

Hi Kathy. I’d suggest that you take a list of your current prescriptions to the Medical Review Officer in charge of drug testing. It’s possible that the other medications are interfering with methylphenidate and creating a false negative test. Request a re-test.

1:42 pm October 17th, 2012

I am prescribed 20mg sr 4x a day, I generally remember to take 1-2 a day … eitherr way i take them everyday and have only been on them for about 2 months they have improved life greatly,however i have to be tested every two weeks (urine test) for my doctor. i have been tested a total of 3x and all 3 came back negitive . I’m confused as to why they keep being negitive .. i also take 7 other meds a day , metaphormin , vitamin b, vitamin d, daposone, tecta, norlutate, and singular… could these other meds be affecting the results?

2:20 pm October 17th, 2012

Hi Elisha. I wonder if your doctor is testing not for the presence of Ritalin, but for the exact dosage you SHOULD be taking? Sometimes people will get a Ritalin RX and then sell it to others. Your doctor might suspect that you are not taking Ritalin as prescribed (which you aren’t) and then stop treating you. So, take all your Ritalin as you should, and at the very least…tell your doctor about the exact doses you’ve been taking.

3:28 pm October 17th, 2012

he is only testing for presence of Ritalin not how much and i honestly forget to take the others a day … however im working on a plan so i wont forget them anymore…but with that aside i do take them everyday so im unsure as to why i am testing negitive and other then a urine test is there any other way he could test… oh he also checks for a narcotic which im prescribed that always shows but not the other. thanks for the advise

12:46 pm October 18th, 2012

Hi again, Elisha. Certain prescribed and over-the-counter medications and foods might generate false negative results for different substances. False negatives might also result from laboratory error. I’d check in with your doctor again and request a retest. Also, ask if ANY metabolites were shown as a result of the test, or if the test came back with NO sign of amphetamines. It’s always possible that your sample was mixed up with someone else’s!

2:14 am November 26th, 2012

hi i took a small snort of ritalin aproxamatly 4days ago im on the methadone programme and they have asked me to go in for a urine drug screening tomorow. will the ritalin be cleared out by tomorrow?it is the first time ive taken ritalin in years and it was only a small lineof a 20mg pill!! your help would be much appriciated!!

9:37 am November 27th, 2012

Hi alexisnz. If you are taking a urinalysis, it’s possible that Ritalin would have cleared your system before the drug screen five days later. And most methadone maintenance programs are screening for opiates, rather than amphetamines. But you might feel better if you disclose the use to your prescribing doctors. It’s really a decision you alone can make.

12:09 am December 18th, 2012

I have stopped taking my ritalin 20mg 3x per day because I am trying to get pregnant but life these past 5 months is overwhelming and I am so unfocused that I am getting very little done. I also have depression and have changed all my meds. I currently only take a prenatal vitamin and welbutrin 100SR, I was taking omega 3′s but ran out about a month ago and although it’s on my to do list it has yet to be restocked. I guess my question is this if I start taking the ritalin again and stop as soon as I find out I am pregnant what would the half life of that be? I would start by taking 10mg 2x per day and I would of course be taking the first response early detection pregnancy test so that I can stop the ritalin as soon as I have a positive pregnancy test. I have been told by 1 doctor that this is a good plan and another that I should not take the ritalin if I want to get pregnant. I Just need some clarification on the half life, so that I can make a decision and move forward. Thank you

10:04 am January 19th, 2013

if you take 3 5mg ritalin can you pass a drug test 48 hours later

2:56 pm January 26th, 2013

Hi Alison, I certainly don’t argue you doctor’s advice; however, I took Ritalin before and during both of my pregnancies without issue. Both of my girls were healthy, as was I. We had to stay in hospital for the babies to be monitored after birth, just to be sure they weren’t experiencing withdrawal. For that reason, a paediatrician was consulted, and everything was fine. I cannot function without Ritalin, as I take it for Narcolepsy, so stopping was not an option. My girls were, obviously, not breastfed. I was informed that this would make them hyperactive, anorexic, insomniacs. Best of luck to you!

3:52 pm January 28th, 2013

I Take generic Methylphenidate 36 MG ER with 5 MG regular Methylphenidate 8, Noon and 4 and have been since May 2012. I need to pass a urine drug test and they test for everything, I am 5′ 5″ tall and weigh 155 my metabolish is slow to normal. How long before the test do I need to stop taking my medicine? Is there a way to speed up any traces of it in my system? Thank you – I really want this job – I have ADD and needed medicine for school.

2:36 pm January 29th, 2013

Hi Sara. IF you’re taking methylphenidate as prescribed, it may show up on a DOT 5 panel drug screen as an amphetamine, but as long as your levels are within therapeutic use, the Medical Review Officer will return the drug screen as NEGATIVE for abuse. Just present the prescription to the laboratory. You should be fine.

5:15 am February 22nd, 2013

#1: will the ritalin be looked at if u just let them no u was prescribed the by my docter…nothing wrong with that.” but what ask is CAN THE DRUG TES PROVE HOW MG’S “YOU’VE BEN TAKEING EVEN, THOW TEST WAS POSTIVE,I WONT U 2 SAY HOW GET proof if ur on it @time of test like at the hospital,doctor office or a work testing ?
one more thing is is there a test for dopeamean leavel ?? and what is it normally?
also does my thyroid being dead and must take pill once a day 4 life.,and iv been abl to realize that it was that time i felt like my soil is gone,and it helps me feal alive when i use ritalin or something of 2 that afect. i no it does improve my soul/brings me up 2 a normale unstopabl fealing,meaning i got injiry and i wish i was normall and could controll how i fired off dopeamean ,so i didnt get adhd moodswings. but kinda wont to be “hipper” like i was befor my thyroid thing.. i steal have adhd but just not ablity that was an asset .
thanks , hope u can understand what i am asking..
ok hear from u soon.”:jayson

3:04 am March 26th, 2013

With regards to Ritalin and dexamphetamine i know these meds will show an amphetamine result on a urine test. Will it also show a methamphetamine result?

John P
7:53 am July 9th, 2013

It’s amazing how Americans have given up their rights. The fourth amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. Taking something from the inside of someones body is definitely a search and seizure.
When did it become the norm that we need permission from the government to do almost anything. If we think something will help us we should as free men and women be fee to do it. The government should only interfere if we are infringing on someone else s rights.
With the furture of DNA testing etc. it’s time for people to DEMAND their privacy be protected, including their body fluids.

12:46 am September 12th, 2013

Hi there, if taking a one time dose of 5 to 10mg of Ritalin, how long until my urine will be clean for a drug test?

7:20 pm October 10th, 2013

I took Ritalin 3 days ago. I have to take drug test will it show up in urine and if I drink lots of water will it help any. I haven’t used anything in months.

Debbie Brick
1:13 pm December 5th, 2013

If I take a 30mg Adderall at 9am today will it show up in a urine test today at noon?

3:55 am December 13th, 2013

Does Ritalin show up on a swab test and if so how long does it take to leave your system so it won’t?

6:32 pm February 20th, 2014

I have heard so many different answers to my question….does Ritalin show up on drug screen…please help me..

5:50 pm February 24th, 2014

Took half a pill of ritalin at 9:30 AM.. will it be out of my system by 3:00PM if i drink lots of water?

2:04 pm March 28th, 2014

i went off on a stupid juvenile snort binge with my 10 milligram tabs of methylphenidate…ran about 1 50 milligrams of them….i am coming down after my morning lisinipril and a 1 mg. tab of blood pressure is back down…just a little high,… my pulse is down to 99…i called my doctor and asked him to UN-prescribe the 10 milligram tabs of methylphenidate…so i sabotaged that for future unscrupulous use and damage…threw what i have in the toilet..i’m a bit scared at what i did…will i be ok? any suggestions? i feel really dumb and self abusive…anything you might want to add to my thoughtless binge? health risks to watch out for? this part of my addiction came from a good doctor,..but i used them as an amusment park…i’ll be going to sleep soon but please let me know of any suggestions you might add…possibly without shaming me…thanks for the blog!

5:43 pm May 1st, 2014

Statistically, how may people out of 1,000 hypermetabolize Ritalin, such that it does not show up in their urine if it is taken as prescribed?

anna sullivan
8:33 pm May 21st, 2014

I took a ritilin today and i have a urine drug screen on monday.will it show up?

8:55 pm May 22nd, 2014

How long does ritlan stay in ur system if you injection it interveniuos?

Dani Cline
3:31 am June 3rd, 2014

I took a Ritalin about 4 days before my UA. Will it show up? They’re looking for any signs of drug abuse/use that is not currently prescribed by the physician.

Doug Mach
3:38 am June 4th, 2014

I was given a Ritalin from a friend, she knew I wanted to lose weight and had a diet pill. It was a 20 mg….I took it at 4 this afternoon. Now I am freaking out because I may have to urine test tomorrow by 7 in evening ….27 hours later…Is there a chance it will show up? I am taking water pills, taking niacin and drinking cranberry juice. HELP…I made a mistake, now I am so scared.

5:09 pm June 4th, 2014

If you snort ritalin does it stay in your system as long as taking it normally? If not how long does it it stay In your urine?

4:09 pm June 20th, 2014

I chewed up 40 mg Ritalin at 1100 today have pee test Monday will I be clean by then please anwer ASAP thanks today is Friday if I drink a lot of water will it help

6:31 am July 14th, 2014

How did your drug test go pam?

12:05 am July 29th, 2014

how long will ritilan stay in your system if your injecting the meds for a urine test

10:57 pm August 5th, 2014

i go to a clinic for suboxone and this month my urine came back positive for ritalinic acid 1475 ng/ml cut off 500 i can not for the life of me figure out how it got there i have been on a drug free progrm for over 10 years and only 1 dirty urine first month ten years ago i am now 61 and have coped along with a lot of other things and i am trying to find sites that will let me read up on what may cause a false positive i don’t have any other explanation i know what it is my son is ADHD and took it when he was young but he is now 36 so i haven’t seen any or touched any in well over25 years. i so i would like some info on sites to read

4:37 am August 22nd, 2014

I heard that Injecting any sort of prescription drug is dangerous and can lead to infections due to the substance not being specifically made for this purpose. Does anyone else feel extremely nauseas when taking Ritalin on an empty stomach? Also, if I take 15mg of Ritalin (short acting) at 11:00am and drink alcohol at 6:00pm, will I have to worry about possible unwanted drug interaction? I only got prescribed Ritalin a couple weeks ago, so I don’t yet know the effects of taking Ritalin and drinking Alcohol on the same day.

7:46 pm September 13th, 2014

Ok so I took 1400 mg of ritalin yesterday and its been about 24 hours should I call someone I’m only 14 and weigh 102i did it because I deal with child abuse but know I’m done just really want to still live should i call. Can i still survive if I dont tell anyone or do anything thanks I really need help fast pleas reply to this as soon as possible thanks

9:27 am September 15th, 2014

Irina2525. Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. It’s a number for poison emergencies and you can call to get a free over-the-phone assessment of the risk of overdose. They’ll give you instructions on what to do next.

1:50 am September 19th, 2014

Please answer this question and email me with the answer. I admittingly did abuse ritalin the night before a drug test given to me by my pain management doctor, I snorted about 50 20mg pills and was given the drug test the very next day, so I’m worried the doctors will know I abused it, so my question is simple, will the drug test which is sent to a lab show that I abused my ritalin? Please let me know if ritalin is something which will be tested for in a urine test sent to a lab? Please be as detailed as possible and what should my excuse be if they do indeed find that I had a high level of it in my system, I would be very grateful for any answers or advise you can give me. Thank you, sincerely Paul

9:03 am September 19th, 2014

Hi Paul. Overall, yes, Ritalin can be detected in a drug test. But, it depends on the test itself and on what urine is being tested for. Ritalin is detected in a intense Urine testing stage, on the kinds of tests usually conducted in the military. Also it depends how fast your body gets rid of it during the day so that’s another reason why it can’t be detected in the common urine tests today. So, I think you’ll be fine, and for more info you can read this article:

7:32 pm October 22nd, 2014

I snorted one Ritalin 20 mg 2 nights ago. I never took any before that. I have to do a drug test today, should it be out of my system? I weigh 210 lbs. and 6 ft. Tall

9:00 am October 25th, 2014

I’m prescribed 20mg ritalin 3x day. I messed up and went on a small binge and snorted like 4 days worth.My dr tested me before and I was negative. Dr was pissed. Now I’m not sure if I get tested in 2 days if my levels will be ok. I will not be able to take them for 2 days to get the count right since they do pill counts. I have a friend who gets the daytrana patch [20mg] and she gave me a few. Will wearing them 2 at a time make my levels ok? I’ve never done this before and am scared that I will get busted by dr for abuse. I really normally take them right but had some dumb thinking and messed up.

11:34 am October 30th, 2014

i was justbwondering if they can tell by the levels in your urine if you’re abusing it or not. im on 5mg 3x a day but tend to do way more and i got a test today and just wanna know if they’ll be able to tell

2:14 am November 4th, 2014

I am a 72 year old female with diabetes, bipolar 2 with anxiety and ADHD. Medications for all. I have taken short acting Ritalin for 21 years. It seems that Ritalin side effects could exacerbate my
troublesome Bipolar symptoms. Ritalin dose is 30 mg per day.
Should I taper from Ritalin with Dr’s help?

10:58 am November 18th, 2014

I am prescribed adderall but recently took a ritelin and will have to take a drug test (it’s not sent off to a lab). It’s a quick result urine test. I know my adderall will show but will the ritelin show as a seperatly or will it show up the same as my adderall on those particular test

5:48 am November 20th, 2014

I don’t have ADHD but I still took in 60 miligrams, how long will I still be feeling the effects? I took it at 9:00 am

11:15 am November 21st, 2014

what do i need to take, or do to get ritalin out of my system

7:36 pm December 17th, 2014

I have a 5 month old daughter and I’m right now trying to break her from breastfeeding. She’s taking the bottle pretty good but still wants booby at night. I was perscribed Ritalin before i was pregnant and I’m just wondering how long does it take to get out of the milk glands?

2:47 pm December 23rd, 2014

Hello Whitney. What’s your current dose? Doctors suggest you avoid breastfeeding during the first three hours after a taken dose (the concentration of the drug is the highest). I’d suggest waiting for four hours after you take your medication and then breastfeed her. If you have any further questions, call the InfantRisk Center at 806-352-2519

4:37 am January 10th, 2015

how long will ritalin 30 mg er effect the appetite in an 11year old that weighs 90lbs

2:38 pm January 11th, 2015

Hey um i’m 15 and i take Ritalin for ADD i’m not sure how big my douse is but i’m pretty sure it’s small i hate Ritalin and one of my biggest problem’s with it is that it stimulates me if it’s in the morning when i’m in school that’s fine but my problem is that i take Ritalin at around 7:30 AM and i could not sleep till 9:00pm or later. Ritalin literally messes up my sleeping scheduled and has come to the point where i was staying up some day’s for 36 hours or so how can i get the effect to wear off more quickly?

2:50 pm January 16th, 2015

Hi Jodi. There is no precise answer to your question, people are different, so it’s never the same. You can call a doctor to discuss general concerns around Ritalin use and side effects.

9:48 am January 23rd, 2015

I weigh 140lbs, and took 100mgs within 5 or 6 hours. My muscles are twitching, there’s some tingling, shaking, constantly changing heart ate that I can feel through my entire body. What is next? How long until these symptoms go away?

12:56 pm January 26th, 2015

Hi Bill. Average daily dosage for Ritalin is 20-30mg, and some people require 40-60mg, but they are taken in divided doses 2 or 3 times a day. I’d suggest you Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for a free over-the-phone assessment of the risk and dangers, and instructions on what you should do next.

5:12 pm February 3rd, 2015

I’ve had SRS (severe reactive scoliosis) since my teens (56). I’ve been taking Ritalin 10mg 2 x 2 d for years (narcolepsy) from my dr. Their office changed their drug testing company 3 months ago & they’re saying I have none showing in my 2 tests back to back even though I take it daily. I’ve been with the same dr for 20 years and he’s dropping me. The first test said none of my 5 meds were showing and he said it had to be a mistake, the last showed everything but the ritilan. Never had any problems until the last 2 months.
I’m in a small town, the dr’s all know each other and I don’t want to be labeled. Be nice to know and maybe show him why the test is bad besides the lab of course.

randy deel
11:23 pm February 4th, 2015

How,long does it take to get,out of your system?

John Doe
7:29 pm February 7th, 2015

I took one 54 mg tablet of methylphenidate, or ritalin. I am regularly drug tested and I have one coming up. Will the methylphenidate show up as methamphetamine? I am taking a normal 5-panel drug test.

John Doe
9:23 pm March 18th, 2015

I have NEVER took Ritalin before but was given a 25 mg tablet. I plan to take half of it but haven’t yet bc Im on probation so I get pee test, it’s random. I have Narcolepsy. I sleep all the time. People say I’m lazy but I can’t help my sleep disorder. I dont know alot about the disorder! I weigh about 155 lbs. 5″2. I read all comments/ replys before asking but how long would it stay in urine? Thank you ahead of time !

11:02 am March 28th, 2015

What are the side effect off taking 30,tablet and 30 concentra at one time

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