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how long does codeine stay in your system

How Long Does Codeine Stay in Your System?

What Is Codeine? How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects? Codeine Half Life. How Long Does Codeine Stay in Saliva, Hair, Blood, & Urine? Factors That Affect Detection Time. How to Get Codeine Out of Your System? Codeine Detox Center

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What Is Codeine?

Codeine is a member of the opioid family of drugs that are derived from the opium poppy and synthesized in a laboratory to create an analgesic drug that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain, off-label use in cough, restless leg syndrome, and sometimes diarrhea [1]. Codeine is considered a narcotic, and it does carry a potential for causing addiction though it is not typically considered as dangerous as some other opiates such as Hydrocodone or OxycodoneMixing codeine with alcohol impairs the medication’s desired impact, which often leads people to drink or ingest more substances to achieve a similar high. This increase can lead to an opioid overdosealcohol poisoning, or both.

Codeine is also available in combination with acetaminophen (Capital and Codeine, Tylenol with Codeine), aspirin, carisoprodol, and promethazine and as an ingredient in many coughs and cold medications. Codeine (alone or in combination with other medications) comes as a tablet, a capsule, and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed [2]. 

Codeine is the most commonly taken opioid medication. It is at the center of the opioid addiction crisis in the United States and thus is highly regulated. Its main indication is pain and cough. Chronic pain, defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain, is pain persisting beyond the standard tissue healing time, which is three months. The most prevalent causes of non-cancer chronic pain include back pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and headache.

how long does codeine stay in your system
A common way to abuse codeine is to mix cough syrup with soft drinks as an easier-to-drink blend nicknamed, “lean” or “purple drank,” 

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How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects? 

As with any prescription drug, you need to be careful about adhering to recommended dosages of codeine (either as prescription pain-relief tablets or cough syrup). Codeine is an opiate, therefore, it’s possible to become disoriented or drowsy without intending to. drowsy. The pain relief and feel-good effects of this drug usually start 30 to 45 minutes after taking the substance. If you felt extremely lightheaded or sleepy after taking codeine, that can be a sign you took too much, so it’s important to consult with your doctor immediately about the dosage. 

Another rule to follow is to avoid alcohol while you are taking codeine. Mixing any opioid drug with alcohol is dangerous. The effects like pleasurable feelings and lowered perception of pain are temporarily enhanced. Once the drug wears off, a person may compulsively seek out the drug, which can lead to addiction. But how much codeine does it take to make you intoxicated? The amount of codeine needed to get you high varies depending on how much you take, body weight, and how quickly your liver processes the medication.

Codeine Half Life

Codeine has a half-life of approximately two and a half to three hours. This means that it takes about three hours for half a dose of codeine to be removed from your system. With that being said, various metabolites of codeine, such as morphine-3-glucuronide and codeine-6-glucuronide, have a longer half-life than codeine itself. This means that it may take up to 24 hours to completely clear codeine and its metabolites from your system.

It’s important to understand that how long it takes codeine to leave your system varies from person to person. There are a variety of factors that influence how long codeine stays in your system after your last dose.

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Height
  • Body mass
  • Body fat
  • Genetics
  • Liver/kidney function
how long does codeine stay in your system
Most people tend to downplay the danger of codeine abuse.

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How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your System?

Like many medications, codeine is metabolized by the liver upon ingestion. The plasma half-life of this drug is about 2.9 hours. The elimination of codeine is done mainly via the kidneys, which excrete approximately 90% of an oral dose within twenty-four hours. However, there are tests healthcare providers can perform that can detect codeine for up to ten weeks.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

How long codeine is detectable in a person’s system can vary by person and situation. Several factors can affect this, including:

  • The amount of the drug taken
  • The individual’s metabolism
  • Which formulation of codeine is consumed
  • Length of codeine use
  • Consumption of other medication or drugs
  • Hydration and activity levels
  • Age, liver and kidney health, and other physiological factors

For instance, particularly large doses or prolonged use may extend the amount of time the codeine is in your system. While exact times may vary, below are typical estimates for how long codeine is detectable.

How Long Does Codeine Stay in Saliva?

Codeine can show up in saliva drug tests in as few as 15 minutes. Typically, the drug will fall below testable levels in 1-2 days. However, a number of factors can impact sample collection for saliva drug tests, including low levels of oral fluid due to a range of physiological factors, including side effects of the drug itself.

How Long Does Codeine Stay in Your Hair?

Hair follicle testing can detect codeine for up to 10 weeks. The effectiveness of hair testing depends on hair length and the heaviness of drug use. However, unlike other testing methods, it can take 1 to 3 weeks for the drug to show up following initial ingestion.

How Long Does Codeine Stay in Your Blood?

Blood tests are used less frequently because they are more invasive and costly than urine tests. However, they may be used in situations where a person is unable to provide a urine sample or to confirm an unexpected positive urine test result. The window for detecting codeine on a blood test is only 24 hours.

How Long Does Codeine Stay in Urine?

As mentioned above, codeine is eliminated from the body fairly quickly by the kidneys. On average, the substance remains present in urine for 1-2 days. Urine screenings are the most commonly used drug tests in many settings because they are relatively easy and cost-effective to administer.

how long does codeine stay in your system
Abusing or taking more than the recommended dosage of codeine can lead to overdose. 

False Positive Testing

Eating foods that contain poppy seeds can trigger a false-positive test result for opiates such as Codeine. Poppy seeds may contain trace amounts of codeine and morphine. While not enough to produce the same effects as prescription opiates, research has shown that consuming just one poppy seed muffin or two poppy seed bagels is enough to show up on a standard drug screen.

Additional analysis using methods such as mass spectroscopy can sometimes help differentiate between poppy seed consumption and true opiate use. Certain medications can also trigger a false-positive test result on drug screening tests.

Verapamil (a calcium channel blocker used to treat hypertension), diphenhydramine (an antihistamine commonly found in cold and allergy medications), and doxylamine (an antihistamine often found in sleep aids and allergy medications) are all known to cause false positives for opiates on enzyme immunoassay (EIA) drug tests.

Let the testing laboratory know if you have eaten anything containing poppy seeds or if you are on any medications that might affect your test results.

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How to Get Codeine Out of Your System?

There are some things that may slightly increase the rate that which codeine is metabolized and eliminated from the body. The first step is to stop taking the drug, although this may be challenging if you have become physically dependent.

Always speak to your doctor before you quit taking a prescription containing codeine in order to avoid unpleasant opioid withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor may want to switch you to another type of pain reliever or to slowly taper you off the medication.

Once you have safely stopped taking your medication, make sure that you stay well-hydrated, eat healthily, and get regular physical activity. These lifestyle modifications may help speed up the rate at which the drug is cleared from your system.

Codeine Detox

What is Codeine detox? Codeine detox is the process of overcoming physical dependence on codeine. During codeine detox, the client will undergo a series of medical interventions and support methods that will assist in the process of overcoming withdrawal symptoms. This process may take a few days or up to a few weeks depending on:

  • How long the user has been addicted
  • How severe the addiction is
  • How much codeine is regularly used
  • Whether there are co-occurring addictions
  • The presence of other mental health conditions
how long does codeine stay in your system
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to treatment for codeine addiction, and it comes down to what’s best for you and your situation.

How Long Does it Take to Detox From Codeine?

Codeine detox is the first step to recovery. If you seek the professional care of a residential detox facility, you can expect to receive medical treatment and support that will make the entire process of detoxifying much easier, more comfortable, and acceptable to you. Codeine detox can take about 5 days or it can take 10 days or more. For most people, detox will last somewhere between 5 and ten days during which time you will effectively overcome all physical dependence factors associated with the addiction and be prepared for long-term recovery and counseling.

After detox, it is recommended that people continue their recovery work with the help of a rehab program. Many substance rehabilitation programs use a combination of treatment medications and behavioral therapies and provide individual and group therapy sessions to help those in recovery work through the reasons that led to and were supporting their continued misuse of codeine or other substances.

Codeine Detox Center

First and foremost, if you think that a loved one shows signs of addiction to prescription drugs like Codeine, you should first research the drug and addiction associated with it so that you can better understand what your loved one needs. This begs the question, “how long does Codeine stay in your system?” You must plan an intervention to provide your loved ones with options to battle their addiction in a safe and supportive environment. During this intervention, make sure that you offer compassion and support instead of judgment. Lastly, offer your support throughout the entire treatment process.

In addition, prolonged Codeine addiction can have severe physical and psychological effects, so it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. Inpatient drug rehab offers intensive care that can help you get through the early stages of withdrawal promptly. 

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient drug rehab helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.


Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to medically assist your recovery. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

how long does codeine stay in your system
Inpatient programs are the most intensive and effective treatment options for opioid addiction.

[1] NCBI –
[2] NIH –
[3] NCBI –
[4] NCBI –
[5] Mixing Prescription Drugs with Alcohol – We Level Up NJ

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