December 8, 2023

How Long Does Codeine Stay in Your System?

Codeine is a drug that is often prescribed for pain relief. It is also sometimes used for cough suppression and to help with diarrhea. It is a member of the opioid family and can be addictive.

The body breaks down codeine and metabolizes it into other drugs, most commonly morphine. This process takes time and leaves behind metabolites in the body that can be detected by drug tests. Typically, it will take 2-3 days for the metabolites to leave your system. That doesn’t mean that the codeine itself is completely eliminated though, just that it has fallen below the detectable limit of standard drug tests.

A variety of factors will influence how long codeine stays in your system. These include the amount of codeine taken, your body’s metabolic rate, and other medications you are taking. Medications that interfere with how the body breaks down and eliminates codeine (such as certain antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or sleep medications) can increase how long codeine stays in your system. Similarly, adequate hydration levels can make it easier to flush out your system.

Taking too much codeine or mixing it with other medications can lead to overdose and death. It is important to only use codeine as instructed by your doctor. If you are pregnant, never take codeine without first discussing it with your doctor. Long-term codeine use in pregnancy can cause babies to be born dependent on the medication, leading to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. These can include high-pitched crying, poor feeding and sucking behavior, trembling, seizures, and difficulty breathing.

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