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Oxycodone is synthesized drug derived from the Persian poppy, and opioid alkaloid. Oxycodone is the most commonly prescribed opioid drug and normally prescribed for acute pain relief.
This pain-relieving drug is available in immediate release (Roxicodone®, Percolone®) and controlled release forms such as OxyContin.
- It can produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
While these feelings may be pleasurable, they can be dangerous in a number of professions, particularly those that include driving or other use of heavy machinery. As such, many industries test for Oxycodone usage.
It is listed as a Schedule II drug by the U.S. DEA. Schedule II drugs are described as “drugs with medical purposes but with an extremely high abuse potential.”
Non-abusers could probably pass a drug screen for oxycodone in the following forms:
- Saliva test after one to four days of not taking oxycodone
- Blood test after one day of not taking oxycodone
- Urine test after three to four days of not taking oxycodone
- Hair follicle test after 90+ days of not taking oxycodone
Users should know oxycodone is detectable this quickly;
- saliva within 15 minutes of ingestion
- blood in 15 minutes of ingestion
- urine immediately after ingestion
- hair follicles within five to seven days of ingestion
This medication is a synthetic opioid. Because it is a synthetic, there are special types of tests designed specifically to detect its presence. These tests are highly accurate and can detect the presence of the drug in the system long after it has effectively left the user’s body.
It has a half-life of 5 hours. This means that roughly half the drug is removed from the body every 5 hours. For most drugs, it takes 5-6 half-lives to fully cleanse the body and urine tests can usually only detect traces of the drug for about a day beyond that. Normally that would mean that Oxycodone should only be detectable up to 2 days after use.
- However, the tests for Oxycodone are so precise, urine, saliva, and sweat tests can all detect past usage of the drug for up to 4 days after last use.
- This is roughly double the expected time for other drug types.
Blood tests, however, act normally. Blood tests can only detect it in the body for roughly 24 hours after it was last used, which is directly in line with how long most drug use can be detected by a drug test.
Finally, while rarely administered, except by law enforcement or rehabilitation facilities, hair follicle tests can detect Oxycodone use for up to 90 days after it was last used. This is almost 3 times as long after use as most other drugs can be detected in hair follicle tests, again due to the precision of the specific tests used to identify Oxycodone usage.
People in their early 20s have elevated levels of liver enzymes that accelerate elimination of oxycodone. In addition, individuals over 40 usually take longer to excrete drugs due to age-related reductions in liver and kidney functioning. Metabolism is slower in older adults as well. Overweight oxycodone users tend to eliminate oxycodone faster than those who are height/weight proportionate.
Physical tolerance built by regular oxycodone users and abusers will significantly delay elimination of oxycodone from the body regardless of individual variables. Oxycodone addicts naturally accumulate oxycodone metabolites in soft tissues and organs which makes it much more difficult to pass drug tests.
Onset of Effects
Following a prescribed dosage of oral oxycodone (immediate release), most people experience sedation, euphoria and analgesia within 10 to 30 minutes.
Plasma levels of oxycodone reach peak levels at around 45 to 60 minutes. Controlled release versions of oxycodone take three hours to reach peak plasma levels.
Duration of oxycodone effects is three to six hours, depending on individual factors such as age, weight, overall health, metabolism and organ functioning
Distribution, Metabolism and Elimination
Opioid chemicals target the brain, spleen, lungs, liver, intestinal tract and skeletal muscles. On an empty stomach, oxycodone begins reducing pain within 15 minutes. Controlled release OxyContin minimizes pain within 45 to 60 minutes.
Metabolization is performed by the liver with the help of the P450 enzyme. Within several different metabolic pathways, oxycodone is further metabolized to produce opioid-based metabolites called oxymorphone, noroxymorphone and noroxycodone.
Elimination by the body is primarily through urine (90 percent) and perspiration (10 percent). Oxycodone may take longer to leave the body in people with kidney and/or bladder disorders.
There is another way use can be identified, though it isn’t exactly precise.
- Withdrawal symptoms start roughly 4 – 6 hours after Oxycodone stops being used, peak after about 72 hours, and usually continue for about a week to 10 days total.
Because withdrawal symptoms are relatively obvious, especially during the days just before and after they peak, a person who uses Oxycodone may be identified by these symptoms even if the drug is not detectable in their body. These symptoms include:
- Heightened anxiety that has no reasonable cause
- Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Sleep deficiency and yawning
- Runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes
- Chronic, non-acute pain and cramps
- Increased breathing and heart rate
- Uncontrollable mood swings
- Restlessness and possibly even insomnia
- Sudden bouts of weakness
While many of these symptoms resemble those caused by illnesses of some sort, they are unlikely to be written off as illness, especially if no co-workers are sick or no co-workers later get sick. Also, the presence of these symptoms at almost exactly the same time that a drug test is scheduled is a relatively clear indicator that an individual temporarily quit a drug just to pass a test.
- This medication is a powerful opioid analgesic with an exceptionally high addiction risk.
Between the fact that these symptoms are pretty clear indicators of drug use and the fact that they are pretty unpleasant as well, it is simply more efficient to enroll in a drug rehabilitation program than to try to temporarily quit this medication in order to pass a drug test.
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