Tramadol is a type of opioid that typically used in managing moderate to severe pain under the brand name, Ultram or Conzip. Tramadol is most often prescribed after having surgery or for chronic pain.
From 1995 to 2014, Tramadol wasn’t considered for addictive properties (Harvard Health), even though primarily used in the management of pain. However, this drug is habit-forming if you take it for a long time or you take it without a prescription, you might become addicted. Many people get addicted to pain medication without knowing the risks which can eventually lead to the need for help coming off the drug that the body has become dependent on. But how long does Tramadol stay in your system if you try to quit?
How Tramadol Works
Tramadol is used to treat moderate to severe pain by binding opioid receptors in your brain to keep pain signals blocked. Some other pain medication such as morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone work in the same way.
However, besides blocking pain signals, Tramadol also increases the effects of serotonin and norepinephrine, two hormones that are important in pain perception. After relieving pain, you might get tramadol addiction and it might take some time for your drug tests, urine tests, and blood tests to come back clean. Hair follicle tests usually come out positive for a couple of months after using tramadol.
Are There Different Forms and Strengths of Tramadol?
Tramadol most often comes in the form of tablets and capsules. It is also available as drops or injections outside the US.
Injections and drops work faster than capsules and tablets. Within 30 minutes, the drug will have taken effect and then the effects last between 4 and 6 hours. These fast-acting doses are prescribed for short-term acute pain.
Capsules and tablets are slow-acting forms of tramadol that take more than an hour for their effects to set in but can stay in your system for longer – their effects can be felt for up to 24 hours.
How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?
Tramadol can be detected in your saliva, urine, blood, and hair. It’s also possible that you will test positive for it for different periods depending on the test that is carried out. For instance, hair tests might come out positive even after a few months after using the opioid drug.
- Saliva tests: Tramadol will be detected for up to 48 hours
- Blood tests: One tests positive for tramadol 48 hours after taking it
- Urine tests: Tramadol is detectable for up to 72 hours after taking it
- Hair samples: Tramadol is detectable for up to 90 days, sometimes for up to 6 months
Most drug screening tests do not include tramadol or other opioids. Once the detection window has passed, all tests will come out negative.
What Determines How Long Tramadol Can Stay In Your System?
Many factors determine whether tests will come out negative or positive after some time. These factors include:
- Dosage Taken:
- If you take a higher dose for a long amount of time, it might take longer to get negative results from drug tests.
- The Frequency of Substance Abuse:
- Sometimes you do not realize you are abusing a substance until it is too late.
- Taking a single dose after a long time will take a shorter time to clean out your system.
- However, if you take the drug more frequently, it will take longer to detox your system.
- The Form of Tramadol Taken:
- Have you taken drops, injections, capsules, or tablets?
- Drops and injections are easy to absorb and extract.
- They tend to move through the system faster than tablets or capsules.
- Your body’s metabolism:
- How long does it take your body to break down substances?
- When you ingest medication, your body will break it down.
- Metabolic rate
- Age, diet, body composition, activities, and genetics.
- If your metabolism is slow, it will take longer to break down tramadol.
- Organ Health:
- If your kidneys and liver don’t function correctly, it could take longer to break down tramadol.
- Generally, older people have reduced organ function and reduced metabolism.
What Are the Side Effects of Tramadol?
There is a range of severe side effects that come with physical dependence on tramadol. The severity of the adverse side effects is dependent on the dosage you have taken, and for how long. Some of the common side effects of Tramadol include:
- depressed mood
- dry mouth
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle pain
- increased blood pressure
- constricted pupils
- general body weakness or discomfort
In high dosages or tramadol overdose, some people might experience:
- slower breathing
- serotonin syndrome
- adrenal insufficiency
- low levels of male hormones
- suicidal thoughts
Because the opioid is habit-forming, ceasing the use of Tramadol will cause withdrawal symptoms that might be fatal. You can avoid withdrawal symptoms by gradually stopping the use of drugs. Again, the drug might interact with other medications you might be taking. As such, talk to your doctor before taking OR tapering off of tramadol, especially if you are on other medications.
The drug is life-threatening for children, pets, and developing fetuses which can also impair your memory and affect the way you process visual details.
How Can I Get Tramadol Out of My System?
Tramadol might take more than a few days or up to 72 hours to leave your system depending on how much you have ingested. If you have taken it for long, it stays in your hair follicles for a longer period of time.
If you have tramadol dependence, you need to reduce the dosage you take gradually until you do not experience any withdrawal symptoms. Always do this under the supervisionof health professionals. The safest way to get tramadol out of your system is with the help of a medical detox program. In a detoxification program, patients are provided with medication-assisted treatment that helps to relieve flu-like withdrawal symptoms. If you try to stop cold-turkey without knowing the risks, you might experience discomfort or dangerous side effects.
You should not only worry about the risk of dependence but also the risk of fatal side effects. If you have any questions on tramadol dependence, talk to your doctor. If you or a family member need to get off of tramadol abuse or any other opioid addiction, get help from medical professionals at an addiction treatment or rehab center.
Reach out to overcome an opioid addiction that relates to chronic pain, call us at Opus Health to start the recovery process.