Tramadol is an opiate analgesic drug that is used to treat moderate pain.
Generally, tramadol stays in your system for 36 hours. It will typically show up on a urine drug test for two days.
How Tramadol is Taken
Tramadol is the generic name for this drug. It is sold under many brand names, such as Ultram, Ultram ER, ConZip, Synapryn, Ryzolt, and Rybix ODT.
The medication is often used to control ongoing pain. It can be taken as a regular or extended-release tablet.
It works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain to reduce pain and facilitate the release of serotonin and norepinephrine.
The regular tablet of tramadol is taken every four to six hours, while the extended-release form of the drug is taken once a day. When taking the extended-release tablet, it should always be taken at the same time of day.
Tramadol is a Schedule IV drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning that it has a low risk of dependence or abuse.
However, tramadol can still be habit-forming and poses many risks, particularly when combined with other medications.
How Long Does Tramadol Stay in the Body?
The half-life of a drug refers to the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to be metabolized by your body. Tramadol has a half-life of approximately six to seven hours, but it can take up to a day and a half to fully leave the body.
The medication can still be detected in your body for longer periods of time because of how the various systems of the body process and excrete waste products.
Tramadol may be detected in urine, blood, saliva, and hair. It can be detected quickly in the urine and blood, but it could take longer before showing up in hair samples.
- Urine test: In urine, tramadol may be detected 2 to 40 hours after consumption.
- Saliva test: In saliva, tramadol can be detected for up to 24 hours.
- Blood test: In blood, tramadol may be detected for up to 24 hours.
- Hair follicle test: Hair samples will indicate tramadol use for up to 3 months.
The amount of time that tramadol remains detectable in your bloodstream may vary according to the version of the drug you are taking. The extended-release version is designed to stay in your urine and blood longer, taking longer to metabolize and leave the body through excretion methods.
Studies have found that the average half-life of tramadol in overdose incidents is 9.24 hours due to the higher concentration levels of the drug.
How Long Does it Take to Fully Detox From Tramadol?
The length of time it takes to fully detox from tramadol will depend on how long you have been using the drug, how much of it you have been taking, and how high a tolerance you have developed to the drug.
Some factors that may impact how long it takes for tramadol to process out of the body include:
- Body composition. A high body fat percentage can cause tramadol to be detected for longer because it may build up in the fat stores of the body
- Food and water absorption: High fluid intake can cause the body to flush the drug out faster, while the presence of food can slow down elimination due to slower processing of the substance
- Age and metabolism: Older users may have slower metabolisms and therefore slower elimination of the drug. Those with higher metabolisms may eliminate the drug more quickly
- Dosage level: Those taking higher dosages of the drug may take longer to eliminate the medication from their system, as it has built up stores in the body over time
- Form of the drug: The extended-release form of the drug will take longer to metabolize out of the body than the shorter-acting versions
- Presence of other substances: If the body is working to eliminate multiple other substances, the detox process may take longer.
Those who have been taking tramadol for an extended period of time may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug.
The Following are Possible Withdrawal Symptoms from Tramadol:
- Runny nose
- Muscle pain
According to NIDA, withdrawal symptoms are a sign of physical dependency. Tramadol can be habit-forming, and people can become addicted to tramadol just as they can to any opioid drug.
Taking any other drugs with tramadol can increase the risk of experiencing adverse side effects or fatal overdose.
Tramadol should only be taken as directed and should not be used in combination with other drugs except as prescribed by a physician.
Tramadol comes with the risk of respiratory depression, which can be exacerbated by the presence of other drugs. Polysubstance abuse, particularly abuse of alcohol or other depressants alongside tramadol, further increases the likelihood of depressing the central nervous system to dangerous levels.
When detoxing from tramadol, your doctor will most likely lower your dose gradually over a period of several days. You may still have some tramadol in your system for a couple days after your last dose was taken.
Detox from tramadol can be managed with medical oversight. Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can be addressed with medical protocols as needed.
While tramadol has a low risk of abuse, it can still impact your body in serious ways. It should be treated as carefully as other prescription medications.