How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?

Tramadol is prescribed for pain management. Depending on the type of drug test, Tramadol can be detected in the body up to 90 days after the last dose.
How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?

Table of Contents

What Is Tramadol Used For?

For many patients, chronic pain can make daily physical and social aspects difficult, if not impossible. Over time, this pain can lead to isolation and an impaired mental state, all of which can decrease the quality of life.

As a result, patients are prescribed Tramadol for moderate to severe pain management which improves their day-to-day life.1 A study published in the National Library of Medicine states that:

“The purpose of managing pain is to reduce the trauma and improve the [patient’s] comfort with better quality of life. Tramadol is a centrally acting weak μ-opioid receptor analgesic and is a racemic mixture of (+)-tramadol and (-)-tramadol enantiomers.”1

In recent years, Tramadol has also become a popular prescription for aiding pain management in cancer patients. Proper prescription of Tramadol treats the mixed pain that occurs not only as a result of cancer but also from the curative procedures.2

How Long Does Tramadol Stay Your Body?

Tramadol for pain comes in several different forms, including tablets, capsules, and even injections. The form plays a substantial role in the Tramadol dosage and impacts how long it stays in the body. In most instances, Tramadol remains in the body for up to three months after the last dosage. To determine whether Tramadol is present within the body, there are different tests and screenings available.

How to Detect Tramadol in the Body

There are several different methods for detecting Tramadol in the body. Each of these methods yields various results, with some ranging from to presence of the substance in the past few hours to the presence in the last few months.3

Blood Test

Blood tests offer a short window for the detection of substances. The body is quick to metabolize and break down substances before releasing them as waste. This fact means that blood tests will only show the presence of a substance if it has recently entered the body. Blood tests can detect the presence of a substance for up to 48 hours after the last dosage.

Hair Test

For long-term testing, hair tests are one of the most efficient options. This test involves hair follicles being collected and tested in a laboratory setting. A hair test can provide a wide variety of information, including when a substance was used and for how long. However, if a substance only enters the body once, it may not show up on a hair test, meaning hair tests are not the best option for short-term results. Hair tests can detect the presence of a substance for up to 90 days after the last dosage.

Urine Test

Urine tests can detect a wide variety of substances, including Tramadol. These are some of the most common forms of tests, often seen in the medical and professional world. Urine tests can detect the presence of a substance for up to 72 hours after the last dosage.

Saliva Test

These tests are beneficial for testing for a substance soon after ingestion—before it has had time to diffuse or metabolize in the body. Saliva tests can detect the presence of a substance for up to 48 hours after the last dosage.

What Factors Affect How Long Tramadol Stays in the Body?

While different tests can detect Tramadol at different rates, other factors can contribute to how long it is detectable in the body. Many of these factors are external to Tramadol itself, meaning that each person’s experience will be different. These factors include:

Body Mass/Body Fat

With higher body fat levels, it can take longer for substances to diffuse throughout the body. Slow diffusion is due to a variety of factors, including poorer cardiovascular health. As a result, Tramadol may be able to stay in the body longer.

Genetics

Genetics controls each aspect of the body to some degree, including body mass and metabolism. These factors, in turn, impact how long Tramadol can stay in the body.

Metabolism

Since the body’s metabolism oversees breaking down the substance and removing it from the body, it plays a significant role in how long Tramadol is both active as well as detectable. Metabolism can be affected by factors such as age and activity level.

Urinary PH

Substance elimination is a chemical process usually involving weak acids. When the pH of urine is higher—more alkaline—the substance is removed from the body sooner.

Dosage

Tramadol dosage plays a large role in how long it will stay in the body. The higher the dosage, the longer it will be present.

In that same regard, frequent doses can take longer for the body to eliminate compared to single doses.

Type of Tramadol Used

There are two main types of Tramadol: immediate-release and extended-release. Which type enters the body has a large impact on its duration.

Immediate-release Tramadol includes injections and drops. The immediate-release type is often a smaller dosage and prescribed for acute pain. With immediate-release types, Tramadol begins working in the body usually within an hour and wears off within six.

Extended-release Tramadol is most often seen in tablets and capsules. This type includes a higher dosage that releases slowly throughout the day. Extended-release Tramadol is most often prescribed for chronic pain management.

It’s important to note that these approximate times are the duration of the activity, not presence. While Tramadol ceases activity after a few hours, it can still be detected within the body through screening.

If Other Drugs Were Taken

If other substances enter the body at or near the same time as Tramadol, the body will have to work harder to metabolize and remove all the substances. As a result, Tramadol may be present longer.

Is Tramadol Addictive?

As with other opioids, Tramadol does pose the risk for dependency. Originally, Tramadol for pain was thought to be one of the least addictive opioids for chronic conditions. As new studies arise, though, it appears that Tramadol has equal – if not higher – rates of addiction compared to other commonly used opioids.4 As a result, Tramadol should be used with care and under the guidance of a certified professional. Tramadol abuse has a high potential for developing into an opioid use disorder, which can lead to a variety of health concerns.

Side Effects of Tramadol Abuse

When using Tramadol for pain, there is always a chance that side effects may occur. However, when substances, especially opioids, enter the body regularly and without professional supervision, there is an increased chance for adverse effects to develop.

Studies show that long-term Tramadol abuse can cause health issues, such as an increased risk for heart attacks.5

Other common Tramadol side effects include:

While Tramadol addiction can have multiple side effects while the substances are actively entering the body, there is also a potential for symptoms during withdrawal.

Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms

If opioid use stops suddenly, someone with a Tramadol addiction may experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms are a common occurrence during the recovery for many opioid use disorders. Both the brain and body become accustomed to the presence of opioids, and during Tramadol addiction recovery, these substances are no longer available.

Tramadol withdrawal symptoms come in many forms, including the following:

Treatment Options for Tramadol Addiction

Treatment for Tramadol addiction goes beyond focusing on the opioid use disorder itself: it also focuses on alleviating the discomfort associated with Tramadol’s side effects and withdrawal symptoms. As a result, there are several different options designed to provide and meet individual needs during the recovery process.

Detox

One treatment for Tramadol addiction is to undergo detox. Detox involves waiting for the body to fully metabolize and eliminate the presence of the substance in the body. Often, detox involves experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can begin as early as 10 hours after the last dose and can be managed through several methods, including pharmaceutical as discussed further below.

Therapies

There are two types of therapies most used to aid in recovery from Tramadol addiction:

Contingency Management

Contingency Management (CM) is one of the most common therapies for Tramadol addiction, as well as one of the most effective. It involves positive reinforcement by offering tangible rewards for abstinence. This form of therapy works best paired with others, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on helping a person with a substance use disorder recognize patterns in their behavior and develop a skill set beneficial to recovery. These skills teach clients to prevent and move away from triggering behaviors that lead to Tramadol abuse.

Medication

Withdrawal symptoms make recovery difficult. As a result, medication is often used in pharmacotherapies to help not only with Tramadol side effects and withdrawal symptoms but also with reducing the substance’s addictive qualities.

Resources

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30594783/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28955004/
  3. https://addictionresource.com/drugs/tramadol/how-long-stays-in-system/
  4. https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l1849
  5. https://doaj.org/article/33b8912b804c48aca9b0d7dcb4b9e946

If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
(888) 744-9969 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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