Does Methadone Show Up on a Drug Test? (6 MAIN Factors)

Close up shot of white tablets from a white pill bottle on a white table

Methadone is a type of prescription medication that is used to help people with opioid addiction. It belongs to the same family of drugs as opioids and can be addictive. 

The amount of time one can detect methadone in a person’s system depends on several factors, so if your employer is asking for a drug test, you’re probably wondering whether it will show up on the drug test.

After reading studies on methadone detection and talking to a friend doctor, I’ve compiled valuable information on this topic. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Methadone is not regularly tested for on a 5- or 7-panel drug test, but it can be if someone requests it
  • Most extended drug panels, such as 10- or 12-panel tests, test for methadone
  • If you are taking methadone as part of a treatment program for addiction, your employer cannot legally fire you if your methadone is found in a drug test

What is Methadone?

A person with gloves holding up white tabletsMethadone is a synthetic opioid originally used as a chronic pain reliever and anesthetic, but it was quickly found to be addictive and lead to substance abuse [1].

Methadone can be taken as a pill, a liquid, or as an injectable to treat addiction. It is usually taken daily, and the dose is gradually increased until the person is stabilized. Once the person is stabilized, the dose is usually decreased and taken less often.

Methadone is registered as a Schedule II drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. It should only be used as part of a closely monitored methadone treatment program.

Research shows that prescribed methadone is safe and effective. 

It helps keep patients in opioid addiction treatment and reduces illicit opioid use more effectively than both placebos and treatment without medications, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) [2]. It also helps a lot with opioid withdrawal symptoms.

“Methadone has been used effectively for decades and helped countless people who are addicted to opioids maintain relatively normal lives,”
Michael Kuhar, Ph.D., and Professor of Neuropharmacology at Emory University’s School of Medicine

How Can Methadone Be Tested?

A scientist doing work in the labMethadone can be tested on extended drug panels such as 10 or 12-panel tests. 

Drug testing for methadone is not usually tested for on a standard 5- or 7-panel drug test, but it can be if someone requests it. The tests are typically 

used to detect illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines. 

As part of your addiction program, you are monitored for methadone use. There are many methadone drug tests such as urine tests, saliva tests, hair tests, and blood tests.

  • Urine drug tests are a common way to test for methadone use. Urine tests have a detection window for methadone that can be from one hour to two weeks.
  • Saliva drug tests are a way to test for drugs without having to go through surgery. The test can detect drug use within 30 minutes to a few days after the person has taken the drug.
  • Hair drug tests can detect drug use for a period of two weeks to many months.
  • Blood drug tests are very accurate and can detect a substance within 30 minutes to a few days. However, they can be expensive.

Factors That Determine Methadone Detection Time

A doctor talking to a patient

The amount of time that methadone stays in your system depends on several factors, including:

  • How much of the drug was taken
  • The person’s metabolism
  • Age
  • The alkaline of urine
  • Interaction with other medication
  • Weight

The half-life of methadone is 8 to 59 hours, which means it can stay in your system for up to two weeks, and you can test positive during drug testing.

If you are taking methadone as part of a treatment program for addiction, your employer cannot legally fire you if your methadone is found in a drug test. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people who have addiction disorders and are in treatment.

The ADA does not, however, protect people who use illicit drugs. If you test drug tests show that you are positive for methadone and you are not in a treatment program, your employer can legally take action against you, up to and including firing you.

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FAQs

How long should you be on methadone?

How long you should be on methadone depends on many factors, including the severity of addiction, how well the person responds to treatment, and whether there are any other underlying health conditions.

Why would someone take methadone daily?

Someone would take methadone daily because it has a long half-life and stays in the system for a long time. It is also taken daily to prevent withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

What are methadone addiction treatment options?

Methadone addiction treatment options include inpatient and outpatient treatment, methadone maintenance centers,medication-assisted treatment, and detoxification.

Methadone Detection

How long does methadone stay in a person’s system depends on many factors, including how much of the drug was taken, the person’s metabolism, age, weight, and interaction with other medication.

If you are not in an addiction treatment program and your employer requested a drug screening, I suggest you check out the Rescue 5-Day Detox. The effectiveness of this cleanser is confirmed by many reviews I found in forums, with reviewers who’ve been using passing the tests without any trouble. 


References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/what-is-methadone#1
  2. https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions/methadone

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