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.

If the question of how to clean your body from tramadol is on your mind, the safest way is to taper off of the drug slowly. It is always best to consult with the prescribing doctor before doing so.

Withdrawal Symptoms

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
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Hallucinations

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.

Safe Use

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.

Tramadol, Drug Tests, and Addiction

One of the primary concerns about prolonged tramadol use is the potential of becoming addicted. If you’re concerned about how long does tramadol stays in your system because you could be tested, it could point to a substance use disorder (SUD). If you’ve become addicted to tramadol, you’ll do whatever it takes to continue using the drug, even if it means risking a job or your freedom to use the drug. 

If you’re about to get a drug test, you might be asking yourself – does tramadol show up on a drug test? The answer is yes and no. Tramadol is not detected on all standard drug tests, but it can be seen in more advanced screening. Hair tests, urine tests, saliva tests, and blood tests are the most common forms of drug tests. As was mentioned above, the tramadol half-life is six to seven hours and remains in your urine from one to four days after your last use. 

If you know a drug test is coming up, you might wonder how long does tramadol stay in your system? That depends on several factors, some of which include how long you’ve been using tramadol, the dose, age, sex, and weight, among others. The length of time it’s detectable in your system will also vary based on how you’re tested. For example, you may be wondering how long does tramadol stay in urine? A urine test will show tramadol in your system for one to four days after the last time you used it, while a hair test will say positive for four to six months. If your saliva is tested, it can appear for up to 48 hours after the last time you took it and 12 to 24 hours in your blood.

Like other opioids, tramadol has the potential to get its user addicted. Some users have reported becoming addicted to opioids the first time they try it because of how it makes them feel. Although tramadol was created to be a less potent opioid with a slimmer chance of becoming addicted, that wasn’t the case. Similar to other opioids, prolonged use can lead to tolerance, chemical dependency, and eventually addiction.

What separates tramadol from other opioids is how it affects serotonin in our brain. Those who abuse tramadol put themselves at risk of developing serotonin syndrome, which can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. For that reason, if you’ve become dependent on a drug like tramadol, you must seek help. When you become tolerant to the drug, it has altered your brain chemistry, and you adapt to the effects and become accustomed to its presence. When your tolerance builds, you’ll notice one pill doesn’t produce the same results it once did. You’ll need to take more of it to experience the same euphoric effects. 

Over time, you’ll notice you need the medication to feel normal. Although it doesn’t produce a buzz anymore, you’ll need it not to feel sick. At this point, you’ve become chemically dependent. If you don’t take it, you’ll notice withdrawal symptoms, which can be downright uncomfortable. The severity is dependent on how much you took. The final step is a full-blown addiction, which is when you’ll do whatever it takes to get your hands on the drug. It can lead you to steal, spend your life savings, and participate in acts you may have otherwise never considered before you became addicted. 

If you’ve become addicted to tramadol, know that help is available to you. Since opioid addiction has dramatically affected the United States and abroad, the quality of care has significantly increased in the past several years. Treatment will be tailored around your specific needs and put you on the path toward a new life. 


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