How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?

Tramadol can be detected using urine, saliva, blood, and hair samples:

Urine – between 2-40 hours
Hair – up to 90 days
Saliva – up to 24 hours
Blood – up to 24 hours

Tramadol has a half-life of around 6-6.5 hours, and it can take about 36 hours for the drug to be eliminated from the body.

Testing for Tramadol

The presence of tramadol will not be identified on a typical drug screening, but it will, however, show up on more advanced testing if the purpose is to test for prescription drugs.

Urine Tests

During a urine test, a sample is collected from a person, and it is sent to a lab to be tested for the presence of drug metabolites. Tramadol use is detectable within 120 minutes of usage and can remain so for up to 40 hours. However, various factors will affect how long a person’s body takes to break down a drug and eliminate it from the system.

Hair Tests

When a hair test is administered, follicles are collected from a person’s head and sent to a lab for testing. This method can very accurately detect the presence of tramadol and other drugs, and for this reason, it is frequently used. It is also a method that can detect tramadol use long after it occurs, for as long three months.

Saliva Tests

During saliva testing, a sample is taken from the mouth of a person and then tested for tramadol and its metabolites. Saliva tests do not offer as long a time period for detection of tramadol, and it usually cannot be found after one day.

Blood Tests

Blood tests aren’t as commonly used as other methods because they are considered to be invasive and tramadol isn’t detectable in the blood for a long period. Like saliva tests, the drug’s presence will not likely show up on a test after 24 hours have passed since the last dose. It is important to remember, however, that each person’s body will process drugs differently—a substance that takes hours to clear from one person’s system could take days for some else.

What Is Tramadol?

Tramadol is the generic name for the brand name Ultram—a prescription drug used to treat moderate-severe pain. It is often prescribed for a patient following injury or surgery, or, in some cases, extended-release tablets are prescribed to relieve chronic pain.

Tramadol is an opioid analgesic, a class of drugs that are indicated to relieve pain by attaching to mu-opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and inhibiting serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake. When these receptors are activated, they reduce pain sensations in the body.

Contributing Factors

How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?
BMR basal metabolic rate formula in a notepad.

Body Makeup

Both body mass and fat play a role in how rapidly the body clears itself of a drug. Moreover, the greater a person’s body mass, the faster the drug will be purged from the system, so a person’s percentage of body fat also factors into how quickly the drug is eliminated. Those with a higher fat percentage may accumulate more tramadol throughout their use of the drug since tramadol attaches to fat and builds up over time. Conversely, someone with less body fat has less space for tramadol to attach, meaning the body can clear the drug more rapidly.

Presence of Food and Water

If tramadol is used around the same time that food is consumed, the body’s absorption rate can be affected. Because the body is also working to metabolize food, it does not break down the drug at the same rate that it otherwise might be able to. Conversely, fluids are thought to increase the elimination of a drug from the body since fluids increase urinary output.


The half-life of tramadol is thought to longer for older patients than for younger patients. Elderly patients can have comparatively reduced blood flow and may be on additional medications that can impede the rate in which tramadol is broken down.

Body Organs Functioning

Before tramadol is purged from the body, it is broken down by enzymes in the liver and processed in the kidneys. If either the kidneys or liver are not functioning properly, tramadol may take longer to be metabolized by the body than it otherwise would with normal kidney and liver function.

Basal Metabolic Rate

A person’s basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which the body uses energy while at rest, can affect how long tramadol remains in a person’s system. A person with a higher basal metabolic rate is burning more energy while their body is resting, which helps in breaking down and clearing the body of a drug. What’s more, a high basal metabolic rate often precedes a lower amount of body fat, leaving less space for tramadol to attach and accumulate in the body.

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Dosage of Medication

The amount of tramadol a person is regularly using can significantly affect how long the drug will stay in their body. Someone using a high dosage of the drug will take longer to breakdown the drug than a person who is using a smaller dose. And, again, a higher dose increases the amount of tramadol that is available in the body to attach to fat and stay in the body over time.

Type of Medication and Time Taking It

Tramadol comes in both immediate-release and extended-release formulations. Whereas the immediate-release version delivers the full amount of the drug into the body and acts rapidly, the extended-release form works over 24 hours and delivers the medication gradually, over time. Someone who is using the extended-release form of the medication will take longer to purge it from the system because it is being released over a longer period of time.

Additionally, someone who has been taking the medication for a relatively short amount of time will be able to clear the body of it more quickly than someone who has been using it for a prolonged period. This disparity occurs because the medication will have had less time to accumulate in the system of a short-term user.

Getting Help for Addiction

Addiction is a chronic, life-threatening disease that impacts many aspects of a person’s mental and physical well-being, and a comprehensive approach to treatment is needed to address it properly.

Recovery By The Sea offers evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy, individual and group counseling sessions, peer support groups, psychoeducation, medication-assisted treatment, aftercare planning, and much, much more.

Experts regard these treatments as being essential to the recovery process and offer the patient the best chance for success. Our services are facilitated by caring addiction professionals who are dedicated to providing clients with the resources and support they so urgently need to recover, prevent relapse, and experience a healthier and more fulfilling life.

We can help you reclaim your life, free from addiction, and begin forging a path to long-lasting sobriety and wellness. Call us as soon as possible to find out how we help people break free from the cycle of addiction once and for all!

Related: How Long Do Benzos Stay in Your System?

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