How Long Does Codeine Stay In Your Blood?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on April 30, 2021

Codeine is an addictive opiate that can be detected in the blood, urine, hair, and oral fluids. Having codeine stay in blood for a longer period than average can be a sign of substance abuse and addiction.

How Long Can Codeine Be Detected In Your Blood?

Codeine is a naturally occurring pain-reliever that belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics, or opiates. These drugs are known for their high potential for abuse.

One of the ways that healthcare providers monitor patients for signs of opioid abuse or addiction is by ordering routine drug tests.

Drug tests used to test for codeine use include:

  • blood tests
  • urine tests
  • hair follicle tests
  • saliva tests

Codeine Detection Time: How Long Codeine Stays In Blood

Urine screenings are the preferred drug testing method. Blood tests, in comparison, have a shorter detection window and can be more costly.

This estimate is based on the half-life of codeine and test sensitivity. Actual time-frames, however, can be influenced by a variety of factors.

Codeine, however, can typically be detected in a blood sample for up to 24 hours.

Factors that can affect the amount of time codeine stays in blood include:

  • dose taken
  • frequency of use
  • use of multiple drugs
  • metabolic rate
  • liver and kidney function
  • body fat

People who are physically dependent on codeine may have longer detection windows. This is due to a buildup of codeine that can develop after chronic drug use.

What Is Codeine?

Codeine is a prescription medication that is used to treat mild to moderate pain and reduce cough. It is also an ingredient in some over-the-counter medications, including some cough syrups.

Codeine is similar to drugs such as:

  • morphine
  • heroin
  • oxycodone
  • hydrocodone
  • hydromorphone

When taken, codeine binds to opioid receptors located in the central nervous system. These receptors are involved in the regulation of pain, mood, hormones, and physical movement.

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Although generally prescribed for pain-relief, codeine can also produce effects such as euphoria, which can become addictive in some people.

Codeine Dependence And Blood Testing

Certain factors—such as drug dependence—can affect the amount of time a drug remains detectable in the body.

Drug dependence can develop through chronic drug use. Misusing drugs can cause faster and more severe dependence.

Physical dependence can make it harder to stop taking codeine long enough to get a negative test result. This is largely due to withdrawal, which can be very uncomfortable.

How To Get Codeine Out Of Your System

If you take codeine irregularly, it will probably leave your blood within a day after you’ve stopped taking it.

If you’re a frequent user, this may not be so simple. The safest way to stop using codeine following a period of chronic use or drug abuse is to find a medical detox program.

Drug detox programs can offer:

  • treatment for withdrawal symptoms
  • 24-hour supervision
  • support from medical professionals

If you’ve been misusing codeine—by taking higher doses than prescribed, or taking it more often, for example—additional substance abuse treatment may be recommended.

Call Us Today To Find Codeine Addiction Treatment

Millions of people in the United States misuse prescription drugs like codeine each year. If this describes you or a loved one, you’re not alone.

Call our helpline today to find a codeine detox program or addiction treatment program near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on April 30, 2021
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