How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your System?

Author: NP Addiction Clinic
Published: May 3, 2022

If you have substance use disorder and will be taking drug tests, you may be wondering how long codeine stays in your system. This article fills you in on everything you need to know about codeine and drug tests and gives you info on stopping codeine abuse if you want to quit.

What Is Codeine?

Codeine is an opioid-based prescription medication used as a cough suppressant and to treat mild to moderate pain relief. You might be prescribed codeine if you have whiplash from a car accident, have burnt yourself, or have a severe headache.

Preparations of codeine usually come mixed with paracetamol in tablet form, though it is possible to get codeine cough syrup or codeine tablets without paracetamol added.

Your ability to buy codeine depends on what state you are in. In some states, you can buy codeine over the counter, while in other states, codeine is a controlled substance, and you must have the permission of a qualified healthcare provider.

People abuse codeine for several different reasons. Some people do it to get high; some take it to get to sleep, and others use it to treat an underlying disorder.

When you take codeine, drug effects come on between 30 minutes and one hour. If you are new to taking codeine, you may feel relaxed, euphoric, itchy, sedated, or energized. Low doses tend to cause a more uplifting effect, while higher doses cause you to be more sleepy.

If you are not opiate-naive, codeine may not do much for you. People who take codeine for long periods often find that the drug does not get them high any longer, and instead, they have to take it, so they do not go into withdrawal.

Factors That Influence How Long Codeine Stays In Your System

Some of the critical factors that influence how long codeine remains in your system include other drugs you may be taking, your family history with opioids, and other individual factors like your metabolism rate.

For example, taking other medications or supplements along with codeine can increase the length of time that it takes when your body processes codeine. Certain genetic factors or medical conditions can also affect how quickly codeine is processed and eliminated from the body.

Other individual factors that can impact your codeine levels include your age, gender, body weight, and overall health status. Generally speaking, individuals with faster metabolisms tend to clear codeine from their bodies more quickly than those with slower metabolisms.

How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your Blood?

Blood tests are not standard as they are more invasive than other tests. They are sometimes used if it is not possible to get a urine test.

If you are about to get a blood test, you may be concerned about how long codeine stays in your blood. The answer to this is about 24 hours after you have stopped taking codeine.


How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your Saliva?

How long is codeine detectable by drug tests in your saliva? The answer to this is around 21 hours after last use.

How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your Urine?

For most people, codeine can be detected in urine tests for up to 48 hours after your last use. If you are a chronic user, codeine may be found in your blood for up to a week after you have ceased use.

How To Pass a Drug Test

If you are subjected to drug testing that will detect codeine, you may be curious about how to pass the test while still taking codeine.

Some people who abuse codeine attempt to pass codeine tests by eating or drinking certain things or by attempting to cheat the system in some other way. The truth is that these methods of passing a drug test are unreliable and may find you get into even more trouble.

If you are addicted to codeine, the most reliable way of passing a codeine test is by stopping taking codeine.

Can Someone Become Addicted To Codeine?

While some people may feel that codeine use is harmless, this is not true. While codeine addiction is not usually as severe as other opioids like heroin and fentanyl, codeine is addictive.

Once addicted, you must continue codeine use or face withdrawal symptoms. Once someone starts getting unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they stop using codeine, it becomes far more difficult for them to get clean.

Withdrawal symptoms from codeine include:

  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Panic attacks
  • Muscle pain
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Vomiting

If you have an underlying mental health disorder, it may be more challenging to stop taking codeine. This is because it is likely that you started to take codeine originally to self-medicate this mental health problem.

People with co-occurring issues must get help from a treatment center that can treat both addictions and deal with mental concerns. If this is not done, relapse following treatment is high.

Risk of Codeine Overdose

Codeine is a powerful opioid drug commonly prescribed for pain or as an antitussive agent. While it is generally considered safe when used as directed, some risks are associated with codeine overdose. These include substance use disorder, which can occur when someone becomes addicted to codeine or uses it in high doses for extended periods.

Other potential effects of a codeine overdose include:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Respiratory distress
  • Nausea
  • Slow pulse
  • Coma
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Death

Users frequently combine codeine with other drugs to increase the high of codeine. The risk of codeine overdose is significantly exacerbated if you combine codeine with other substances.

Combining codeine with other depressants is particularly dangerous, as these drugs slow down the heart rate, causing cardiac arrest. Combining drugs also increases the effects of codeine withdrawal when drug use is ceased.

Alternatives To Codeine Abuse for Pain Relief

If you take large amounts of codeine for pain for a long time, it can be challenging to see a way out. Some solutions may be effective and do not involve drug abuse.

  • Hypnotism. Being hypnotized has helped many people to deal with pain. Ensure that you find a hypnotist who has experience assisting people in relieving pain.
  • Non-opioid painkillers. Your health professional can prescribe you painkillers that are not opioid-based.
  • Yoga. A movement system like yoga can help relieve symptoms of pain in the body. It may also help you change your relationship with pain.
  • Meditation. This can also assist you in changing how you relate to pain.

Before you try these, you must deal with your physical dependence on codeine. Note that withdrawal may make your feelings of pain worsen before they get better.

Codeine Addiction Treatment

If you want to stop taking codeine, you need professional medical advice. Start by looking up treatment facilities in your area. Does the addiction treatment you are looking at have experience treating people who are abusing codeine and have other opioid addictions? Is there a team of certified addiction health professionals dedicated to helping you get better? Does the treatment involve Medication-Assisted Treatment that will help you get through withdrawal comfortably?

If the answers to all these questions are "yes," then you have a good idea that your treatment for addiction to codeine will be high quality.

Contact NPAC today to fight out how we can help you free yourself from the pain of codeine addiction.

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