Substance Use

How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?

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How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?

The amount of time it takes for tramadol to leave the body, generally, is 42 hours. However, there are specific circumstances where tramadol remains in the body for a more extended period. Tramadol is a prescription narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain. When we feel pain, a message is transmitted from the nerve cells — specifically nociceptors — to the brain. Tramadol disrupts this communication by changing how nerves signal pain between the body and the central nervous system. Often, this is why people feel immediate relief from severe pain after using tramadol.

If you know someone who has an addiction to tramadol or struggles with symptoms of tramadol withdrawal, Zinnia Health can help. Call us 24/7 at (855) 430-9439, to find out what programs we have available in your area. We offer inpatient and outpatient treatment options.

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How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Urine, Blood, Salvia, or Hair?

Drug screening for tramadol use is often done through hair, blood, saliva, or urine. However, saliva tests may not be as accurate since trace amounts of the medication bind to the oral cavity.

  • Urine: Tramadol is detectable in the urine for 1 to 4 days after the last use.
  • Blood: Tramadol is detectable by blood for 12 to 48 hours (roughly the half-life x 7).
  • Hair Follicle: Tramadol is detectable by the hair for 30 to 90 days.
  • Saliva: Tramadol is detectable in the saliva for up to 48 hours.

Only use Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-compliant test kits for drug screening. Over-the-counter tests may not provide an accurate detection window. 

Tramadol belongs to a class of medications called opioid analgesics, and it’s one of the second most prescribed opioids in the United States. Between 2005 and 2017, the amount of tramadol prescribed nearly doubled. This is due to the highly addictive nature of this drug.

Addiction to prescription drugs such as opioid-based pain medication is common. According to the United States Department of Justice DEA Diversion Unit, more than 1.6 million people in the United States aged 12 or older misused prescription tramadol in the past year.

What Can Affect How Long Tramadol Stays in Your Body?

Many factors can affect how long tramadol stays in your system. Two major components are dosage amount and the length of time used. The higher the dosage, the longer the half-life, which increases the time tramadol stays in the blood. 

Other factors to consider include:

  • Route of administration: Pills take longer to metabolize in the body than injectables or drops.
  • Age: Metabolism slows down as we age. Older individuals may take longer for tramadol to be removed from the system by the kidneys.
  • Kidney function: Your kidneys release enzymes that help you break down tramadol. Reduced kidney function increases the amount of time it takes for tramadol to be excreted.

Certain medications may also make it harder for tramadol to eliminate from the body.

How Is Tramadol Detected on Drug Tests?

Drug tests administered by urinalysis, serum analysis, saliva, or hair strands detect tramadol use by extracting metabolites. Metabolites are byproducts left over from the body metabolizing a medication.

According to, these are pharmacologically active metabolites O-desmethyl tramadol (M1) and inactive N-desmethyl tramadol (M2), respectively.

Are you struggling with tramadol addiction or substance abuse? You don’t have to quit alone. Withdrawal symptoms and opioid side effects can be unbearable, often leading to further drug use. Zinnia Health can help. Our drug addiction centers treat opioid addiction and addiction to commonly abused prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines and fentanyl. So call us today at (855) 430-9439, and let us help you get your life back.

What Is the Half-Life of Tramadol?

Half-life is the time it takes for a medication to reduce by half in the human body—the half-life of tramadol of six hours. The formula to determine how long tramadol remains in the system is: multiply the half-life by seven. Therefore, tramadol remains in the system for a minimum of 42 hours.

Prescription tramadol (sustained-release tablets) releases the active ingredient over 12 hours. It reaches peak concentrations after 4.9 hours and is rapidly distributed in the body, according to an abstract published in the Clinical Pharmacokinetics Journal. 

How Long Does It Take for the Effects of Tramadol to Wear Off?

It takes 30 to 60 minutes for a person to feel the effects of tramadol. Side effects may begin shortly after.

Common side effects of tramadol include, but are not limited to:

  • Constipation
  • Runny nose
  • Heartburn
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Drowsiness
  • Discouragement
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling sad

Severe side effects include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Hives
  • Blisters
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Agitation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness 

The side effects may increase depending on how much tramadol a person has used and whether it was in a pill form or injection.

It’s important to note that severe side effects require medical attention and may not go away after discontinuing use.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience severe side effects or the following symptoms of overdose:

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Inability to wake up
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased pupil size
  • Unresponsiveness

Help Quitting Tramadol Use

The risk of dependence on tramadol is the same as other prescription opioids. Still, the risk of death due to tramadol overdose is high. In addition, due to its addictive nature, tramadol is harder to get by prescription than other severe pain treatment options, such as steroidal medications. Therefore, those who are addicted to tramadol often buy this drug illegally. 

Tramadol addiction is extremely dangerous and can cause irreversible damage to the body. However, addiction treatment centers like Zinnia Health can help with drug addiction, including tramadol addiction. In addition, we offer inpatient detox to help you safely taper off from tramadol, reducing the risk of painful withdrawal symptoms. 

Call us at (855) 430-9439 to find out our inpatient and outpatient options. We offer medically-supervised drug detox programs and programs such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. 

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