How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

woman holding oxycodone pill in one hand and glass of water in the other

Oxycodone is an opioid pain reliever and is only available by prescription. Oxycodone is effective for use in the management of moderate to severe pain; however, it commonly misused for its euphoric effects. Oxycodone stays in the body between 14 and 24 hours but can be detected in most drug tests for up to three days.

Oxycodone misuse is very dangerous because it has a risk for physical dependence that causes withdrawal reactions and overdose can cause very serious injury, including death.

Due to the high risks associated with oxycodone misuse, drug tests are commonly used by doctors, employers and law enforcement. The presence of oxycodone in your system can be detected through a variety of testing methods.

Duration of Effects of Oxycodone

If you’re wondering how long the effects of oxycodone last, the answer depends on the specific type of oxycodone taken. Oxycodone is available in immediate-release and extended-release products. The immediate-release products are generally dosed every four to six hours and the extended-release products are dosed every 12 hours.

Most of the effects of oxycodone will be experienced while the medication is still in the body and before it is fully eliminated. Immediate-release oxycodone products stay in the body for about 14 to 16 hours after last use and extended-release oxycodone products stay in the body for about 24 hours after last use. For some people, the effects may last longer depending on their body’s reactions to oxycodone and the way their body breaks down the drug.

Oxycodone Half-Life

The half-life of oxycodone is the amount of time that it takes to reduce the level of the drug in the body by half. The oxycodone half-life varies slightly depending on the type of product being used and individual patient factors. Immediate-release oxycodone products have a half-life of about 3.2 hours and extended-release products have a half-life of about 4.5 hours.

Even though the dosage may affect the concentration of the drug in the body, it generally does not affect the elimination half-life, unless the dosage is so high that it slows down the body’s metabolism process. It is commonly accepted that it takes four to five half-lives for the medication to be completely removed from the body after the last use.

Oxycodone Screening Detection Times

Due to the high risks associated with oxycodone misuse and addiction, drug tests are commonly used by doctors, employers and law enforcement to identify oxycodone use. Oxycodone can be detected through a variety of tests. The detection times for oxycodone depend on the type of test administered.


Oxycodone is detectable in urine for up to three days after the last use. The detection time for oxycodone in urine can vary depending on the dose, frequency of use and the individual metabolism of the user.


Blood toxicology screens are most commonly used if an overdose is suspected. Oxycodone will show up in a blood test for up to 14 to 16 hours after use for immediate-release products and for up to 24 hours for extended-release products. However, the metabolites can be detected in a blood test for about two days after last use.


Saliva drug screenings are becoming more popular because these tests are quick and non-invasive. They provide a rapid result in situations where drug use would affect safety and in roadside testing by law enforcement. Oxycodone use can be detected in saliva as soon as 15 to 30 minutes after use and up to 34 hours after use.


Testing for oxycodone in hair won’t indicate the amount of drug in the body but it can provide proof that a person used or was exposed to the drug. Oxycodone’s metabolites can be detected in a hair test up to 90 days after the last use.

Factors Affecting How Long Oxycodone Stays in Your System

There are factors that impact how long oxycodone stays in your system. These factors can cause significant differences in detection times. Factors that affect how long oxycodone stays in your system include:

  • Length of use: Long-term use of oxycodone could cause a slight build-up of the drug in the body, resulting in slower metabolism
  • Method of use: Oxycodone is usually taken orally, but different methods of abuse, such as injecting, smoking or snorting oxycodone, may increase the amount of time oxycodone stays in your system
  • Age: Older patients have slower metabolism of oxycodone
  • Liver and kidney function: Liver or kidney damage cause slower metabolism of oxycodone

False Positives for Oxycodone Use

It is possible for false positives to occur. A false positive for oxycodone occurs when chemicals used in the drug test detect the presence of something that resembles oxycodone but is not actually oxycodone. This reaction is called cross-reactivity.

False-positive drug screenings for oxycodone can occur with the ingestion of certain substances such as poppy seeds or with the use of certain medications. The medications that are known to affect opioid drug screenings include quinolone antibiotics, rifampin, verapamil, quetiapine and diphenhydramine.

How Oxycodone is Broken Down in the Body?

Oxycodone metabolism is controlled by reactions in the liver. Chemicals known as enzymes are responsible for moving the metabolism of oxycodone along. The breakdown of oxycodone creates other metabolites or breakdown products. Sometimes these breakdown products are still active in the body and may have similar effects as the original drug.

Oxycodone has some active metabolites including noroxycodone, oxymorphone, and noroxymorphone. Oxycodone to oxymorphone metabolism and oxycodone to noroxymorphone metabolism are regulated by the enzyme CYP2D6. Oxycodone to noroxycodone metabolism is regulated by the enzyme CYP3A4 and CYP3A5. These specific enzymes are very important to consider when analyzing possible drug interactions with oxycodone. This is why it’s important to always tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist the names of all the medications and supplements that you are taking in order to ensure that there are no dangerous interactions.

If you or someone you know is struggling with oxycodone addiction, The Recovery Village Ridgefield can help. You will receive compassionate and comprehensive treatment to lead you to a path of recovery. To learn more about treatment, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield today to speak with a representative.

EJ, Cone, et al. “Prescription opioids. III. Disposition of oxycodone in oral fluid and blood following controlled single-dose administration.” Journal of Analytical Toxicology, April 2015. Accessed August 12, 2019.

Drummer, Olaf. “Drug Testing in Oral Fluid.” Clinical Biochemistry Reviews, 2006. Accessed August 12, 2019.

Food and Drug Administration. “OxyContin.” Purdue Pharma, September 7, 2007. Accessed August 12, 2019.

Keary, Christopher J., et al. “Toxicologic Testing for Opiates: Understanding False-Positive and False-Negative Test Results.” The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, July 26, 2012. Accessed August 12, 2019.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories. “Drug Testing: Opiates.” Accessed August 12, 2019.

PubChem. “Oxycodone.” Accessed August 12, 2019.

United States Drug Testing Laboratories. “Hair Drug Testing.” Accessed August 12, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.