Get Help Today. (800) 516-4357

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid painkiller. It’s legal to use with a prescription, but it’s illegal to abuse. Since the drug can stay in your system and be detectable in drug tests for up to 36 hours (depending on factors like the test used), if you’re abusing the drug, you’re likely to get caught.

Struggling with Opioid Addiction? Get Help Now

With repeated use, oxycodone can cause uncomfortable or even life-threatening symptoms. If you’re abusing this drug, talk to your doctor about treatment plans that can help.

Introduction to Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a prescription medication in the opioid class. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved oxycodone for moderate-to-severe pain that hasn’t responded to other forms of treatment.[6]

Understanding how long oxycodone stays in your system can help you understand your doctor’s dosing schedule. Knowing the drug can stay in your system for hours could keep you from taking another pill before the last dose has cleared.

Learning about oxycodone’s persistence could also help you understand when you might fail drug tests. For example, one oral oxycodone dose stays in your system for about 17 hours.[3] If you have a test coming up and you’ve been using oxycodone illegally, you might fail the test in this time frame.

Oxycodone is a Schedule II narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act.[8] It’s legal to use as directed and prescribed by a doctor. However, it’s illegal to possess or take the drug without a prescription. If you fail a drug test provided by law enforcement, you could face jail time or fines.

How Does Oxycodone Work?

Opioids like oxycodone work by binding to opioid receptors on the brain, spinal cord, and organs. When they’re attached, opioids block the body’s pain signals and prompt the body to release large amounts of dopamine. That action can make the user want to repeat the experience, despite any associated consequences.[7]

How Long Oxycodone Side Effects Last 

Oxycodone moves out of the digestive tract and into the bloodstream very quickly. Unpleasant side effects are common, especially in people who have never used opioids like oxycodone before. 

Common side effects include the following:[1]

  • Nausea
  • Constipation 
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Itchy skin 

Sometimes, these unpleasant symptoms fade as your body becomes accustomed to the drug. But some people always feel sick when they’re using oxycodone. 

If you don’t feel sick while on the medication, your addiction risks increase. Using opioids for as little as two months (even if used as prescribed by your doctor) can lead to physical dependence.[2] You’ll feel flu-like symptoms when you try to quit. 

What Is the Half-Life of Oxycodone?

A drug’s half-life measures how long your body needs to remove half of the drug from your system. Oxycodone’s half-life is up to 4 hours when immediate-release forms of the drug are taken orally. Extended-release forms of oxycodone have a half-life of up to 5.6 hours when taken orally.[9]

A half-life is important. When four to five half-lives have passed, the majority of the drug has been processed and removed from your system.[4] Since oxycodone’s half-life is 3.2 to 5.6 hours, the majority of the drug is out of your system in about 13 to 28 hours.

This comparison chart can help you understand how oxycodone’s half-life compares to other medications in its class:[9]

MedicationHalf-Life (Immediate Release)Half-Life (Extended Release)
Oxycodone3.2-4 hours4.5-5.6 hours
Morphine2-4 hours11-24 hours
Hydromorphone2-3 hours11 hours
Fentanyl2-4 hours (IV administration)3-14 hours (patches)

Oxycodone Detection Timeline 

Oxycodone appears in most types of routine drug tests. How long it’s detectable varies by the testing method used. 

Testing TypeDetection Period 
Urine 1–3 days 
Blood 3–6 hours
Saliva Up to 36 hours 
Hair Up to 90 days

Source: [7]

Urine Tests

Most testing companies use urine samples for drug testing. No needles or invasive procedures are required, and since oxycodone is partially processed by the kidneys, metabolites linger longer. 

Doctors can spot oxycodone doses you took days ago with a urine drug test, and all you have to do is pee into a cup.

Blood Tests

Drugs move out of the bloodstream very quickly. Doctors might use these tests to check for drugs if you’re injured and enter the emergency room. But if your employer wants to ensure you’re not high on the job, blood tests aren’t very efficient. The dose you took last night won’t show up in today’s test.

Saliva Tests

A saliva test can spot last night’s oxycodone, but it’s somewhat easy to fake a clean result. Drink a lot of water, use mouthwash, or sip alcohol, and your test results could be suspect. Faking a urine test is harder, making that method more popular for most companies. 

Hair Tests

Drug metabolites stay in your hair for long periods. You can’t cut them out or wash them away. But the results don’t tell companies how recently you used drugs. If your boss needs to find out if you took drugs before a recent accident, hair tests won’t help. 

Factors That Affect How Long Oxycodone Stays in Your System

Metabolism is personal. Multiple factors can influence how quickly (or slowly) drugs leave your body. Some of these issues are easy to control. Others are much more complex and hard to change. 

Common factors that impact oxycodone metabolism include the following:[8,9]

  • Age: Older people tend to metabolize drugs slower than younger people. If your health deteriorates with each birthday, this factor strengthens. 
  • Gender: Women are smaller and have more water in their bodies. These factors can alter how quickly substances leave your system. 
  • Weight and height: Larger people can typically accept larger drug doses than smaller people. 
  • Diet: Poor nutrition can impact organ health. If your liver and kidneys don’t function properly, oxycodone will linger. 

Oxycodone Withdrawal 

With repeated oxycodone use, your body becomes accustomed to the drug. If you lower your dose or quit abruptly, you may feel sick. If you don’t relapse to drugs, those symptoms can worsen. 

Common oxycodone withdrawal symptoms include the following:[5]

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety 
  • Aching muscles 
  • Insomnia 
  • Runny nose 
  • Sweating 
  • Abdominal cramping 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 

During the oxycodone detox process, doctors use medications that latch to opioid receptors, such as buprenorphine. They don’t make you high. But they can help you avoid severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Programs like this can improve your chances of staying sober for the long term. 

“Opioid withdrawal syndrome is a life-threatening condition resulting from opioid dependence… When opioid withdrawal signs are present, pharmacological management of opioid withdrawal is needed. Long-term opioid replacement is accomplished using methadone or buprenorphine.”[6]

Finding Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction 

It’s difficult to overcome oxycodone addiction alone. Many people relapse to drug use when they feel withdrawal symptoms or severe cravings. An oxycodone treatment program can make all the difference. You can work on addiction triggers and build skills in therapy since your withdrawal symptoms and cravings are under control.

Choose inpatient care, and you’ll move into a therapeutic environment. You’ll stay away from your triggers and stresses and work on your recovery every day. When you feel stronger, you’ll move to outpatient care. You’ll keep getting better while living at home. 

Find addiction treatment today, customized for you and your future. 

Updated March 20, 2024
  1. Oxycodone hydrochloride prescribing information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published December 2019. Accessed July 25, 2023.
  2. Opioid use disorder. American Psychiatric Association. Published December 2022. Accessed July 25, 2023.
  3. Leow KP, Smith MT, Williams B, Cramond T. Single-dose and steady-state pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of oxycodone in patients with cancer. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1992;52(5):487-495. doi:10.1038/clpt.1992.176
  4. Half life. Hallare J, Gerriets V. Stat Pearls. Published June 2022. Accessed July 25, 2023.
  5. Opiate and opioid withdrawal. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Published April 30, 2022. Accessed July 25, 2023.
  6. Oxycodone. Sadiq N, Dice T, Mead T. StatPearls. Published August 22, 2022. Accessed February 8, 2024.
  7. Prescription opioids drug facts. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published June 2021. Accessed February 8, 2024.
  8. Oxycodone. U.S. Department of Justice. Published October 2022. Accessed February 8, 2024.
  9. Managing opioid overdose in the hospital setting. Powell H, Peters G. U.S. Pharmacist. Published March 15, 2019. Accessed February 8, 2024.
Take The Next Step Now
Call Us Now Check Insurance