A report by the US DEA highlighted the abuse of the narcotic-like synthetic pain reliever Tramadol. More than 3.2 million individuals above the age of 12 were reportedly using Tramadol in the US, for non-medical reasons. Intended to be used as an extended release pain reliever for moderate to extreme pain, the drug is increasingly being used by youngsters for various other reasons. The report showed that the abuse of the substance accounted for more than 10% of the total abuse of pain relievers in the US. As a result, one of the most frequently searched question is – how long does tramadol stay in your urine?. We will set the record straight with a clear and evidence backed presentation of the facts about the synthetic opioid.

What is Tramadol, how long does tramadol stay in your urine?

Tramadol is a synthetic, centrally acting, analgesic that belongs to the category of serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. The mechanism of action of the medication makes it suitable for treating moderate to severe pain in various conditions, with an extended release action. It is regarded as different from other medications in the same category due to its unique action over the neurotransmitters that are responsible for pain modulation. However, it is increasingly being used by individuals for other purposes – to relax, to fall into deep sleep, to overcome boredom and to get high – similar to the effects of other intoxicating substances. Before we look at the question how long does tramadol stay in your urine, it is important to dig a little deeper into the substance.

Effects of Tramadol which can result in aggravated behavior with sustained abuse

Regardless of the reason for use of the medication, the effects commonly experienced by individuals include euphoria, laziness, totally relaxed feeling and a feeling of detachment from the body. When taken as part of treatment regimen, these effects do not have much of an impact on behavior of patients. However, when taken non-medically, these effects manifest into undesirable, erratic behavior. More than 6000 visits to the emergency room as a result of suicidal tendencies by individuals on Tramadol are reported annually in the US. This indicates the possible side effects from non-medical, unsupervised use of the medication. This explains the reason behind the popularity of the question how long does tramadol stay in your urine?

Neuroadaptation and dependence

One of the reasons why the drug has become a cause for concern is the effects of repeated administration. While the use of Tramadol to treat medical conditions will demand repeated uses, it is not indicative of dependence or addiction. Individuals on the medication will not find it challenging to get off the medication, as the effects are primarily focused on treating the pain. However, in the case of individuals who take the medication for non-medical uses, the possibility of addiction is strong. In the case of patients who take Tramadol for medical purposes, the patients are generally taken off the medication by gradually reducing the dosage. This is intended to eliminate the possibility of drug withdrawal symptoms or dependence. Before we answer the question how long does tramadol stay in your urine it is necessary to look at some of the more common and probable withdrawal symptoms associated with the medication. Similar to most opioid analgesics, probable withdrawal symptoms include body pain, loss of appetite, restlessness, tremors, pain in the stomach, sleep deprivation, diarrhea, overall weakness and fever. When these symptoms replace the relaxed state of mind, euphoria and drowsiness associated with the medication, individuals behave differently and this is one of the reasons why some of the patients exhibit suicidal tendencies.

How long does tramadol stay in your urine? Is its presence the same throughout the body?

The presence of Tramadol in the human system is different in different parts/organs of the body. For instance, the presence of Tramadol can be detected in the body within two hours of it entering the body, and its presence can be detected for up to 40 hours after it first entered the body. This is almost two days from the time it enters the body. As we answer the question how long does tramadol stay in your urine it is also important to look at how long its presence can be detected in other parts/organs of the body. The longest duration of detection of presence is in hair samples. Tramadol can be detected in hair for upto 90 days, while its presence in saliva and blood can be detected for upto 24 hours.

There are many factors that determine the duration of presence of Tramadol in the system. This includes the metabolism of the individual to a certain extent and the half-life of the drug. Half-life of any drug refers to the time required for the total concentration of the drug to be reduced by half in the body, from the starting dosage. The effective concentration of Tramadol is reduced by half in around six hours, and the complete elimination of the drug from urine takes almost 40 hours. This can be lesser for certain individuals and more for some, the figure of 40 hours is the average. To answer the question – how long does tramadol stay in your urine – on an average, the presence of Tramadol can be detected in urine for upto 40 hours after it first entered the body.

What are the various important factors that impact the duration of presence of Tramadol?

The question – how long does tramadol stay in your urine – demands a detailed answer to weed out doubts about the average time. The presence of the drug in the body depends on multiple factors, that include :

#1 Age of the individual

Elderly patients are likely to have the drug in their system for a longer time, because the rate of metabolism differs. As a result of this the half-life of the drug is known to increase significantly, which causes the presence to remain for a longer duration. In addition to this, the possibility of medication having an impact on the half-life also exists, which increases the average time of presence of tramadol in the body.

#2 Dietary intake

A large number of individuals are unaware of the impact of dietary intake on the absorption of medication. For instance, if you take tramadol along with food, the time taken for the tramadol to be absorbed in the body will be longer. This is because the body’s digestive system works towards breaking down and absorbing nutrients from the food, which will delay the absorption of the drug. As a result, the presence of the drug will be for a longer time. Undoubtedly, the answer to the question how long does tramadol stay in your urine will change as per the manner of intake of the drug. On a similar note, increased fluid intake will have the effect of quickly flushing out the presence of the drug, as repeated urination will slowly cleanse the system of the presence of tramadol.

#3 Type of body

This may come as a surprise to many – type of body. However, it is true that the type of body has an impact on the half life of drugs in the system. The speed with which the human body clears substances depends on body mass and the amount of fat in the body. There are two different angles to the question how long does tramadol stay in your urine. The first is the body mass, and the second is the amount of fat in the body. Individuals with more body mass will find that the drug leaves their body faster. In other words the half life of the drug is lesser in individuals more body mass. Conversely, individuals with more body fat are likely to have Tramadol in their bodies for a longer time. This is because Tramadol is known to have a natural affinity for fat and will bind itself to fat more easily, thereby staying in the body for a longer time. In fact, individuals who are on lengthy regimen including Tramadol will find that the medication is in their system for a longer time. Individuals with lesser body fat will have the presence of Tramadol for a shorter time as the body cleanses and rids itself of the substance faster.

There are other reasons that contribute to the presence Tramadol in the body for longer or shorter times. Therefore, the best way to answer the question how long does tramadol stay in your urine is to look at the host of factors that may determine the time it takes for the medication to be cleansed from the body. For instance, individuals on the long release medication will have traces of it in the body for a longer time, while individuals on the short release type will have it for a shorter time. Similarly, individuals who are prescribed to be on the medication for a longer time will find that the effects and traces last longer than individuals who take the medication for a shorter time.

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