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What is the half life of tramadol. How long does it stay in your system?

4 Answers

Official Answer Medically reviewed by C. Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Sep 16, 2019.

The half-life of tramadol (immediate-release) tablets is approximately 4.9 to 7.7 hours (average 6.3 hours).

However, tramadol is metabolized to an active metabolite called O-desmethyltramadol (M1) that also has pain-relieving activity. M1 has a half-life of 6 to 8.8 hours (average 7.4 hours).

This means that the combined half-life of tramadol and its active metabolite is approximately 13.7 hours (range 10.9 to 16.5 hours). Both tramadol and its metabolite contribute to the overall effects of tramadol.

Experts consider a medicine to be 97% cleared from someone's body after four to five half-lives. Therefore it will take approximately 68.5 hours for one dose of tramadol immediate release to be cleared from your body, although effects of tramadol will wear off much sooner.

Half-life should not be confused with the duration of effect. The duration of effect of immediate-release tramadol is approximately six to eight hours following a single dose.

What is half-life?

The half-life of a drug is an estimate of the time it takes for the concentration or amount in the body of that drug to be reduced by exactly one half (50%).

The half-life of Tramadol and its metabolite is approximately 13 hours but its effects tend to last six to eight hours( immediate-release). After four to five half-lives, 97% of a drug has cleared from the body, and the drug is no longer considered to be having an effect, although, for most drugs, actual noticeable effects would have worn off well before then.

This means it will take approximately 68.5 hours for one dose of Tramadol immediate release to be cleared from the body.

In reality, the half-life of Tramadol varies from person to person, and even sometimes within the same person. The half-life of Tramadol can be affected by dosage or overdosage and several other factors including:

  • Age (the half-life is prolonged in elderly people over the age of 75 years)
  • Ethnicity
  • Formulation of Tramadol (eg controlled or immediate release)
  • Interacting medications, especially medicines metabolized through CYP2D6, CYP3A4, or CYP2B6
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Regular dosing.

See our article Drug Half-life Explained for general information about half-lives.

Votes: +0
fragydig529 2 Dec 2015

As stated; depends on dosing with Tramadol, but if only 1 were taken it's ~6-7 hours.

Remember though, a half-life is not "how long before it's out of my system", it's "how long before HALF of what's in my system is gone".

So if a 100mg pill is taken, 6-7 hours later, you'll have 50mg. Then another 6-7 hours later, you'll have 25mg, so on and so forth.

See Also: Drug Half Life Explained

Votes: +0
chuck1957 28 Nov 2015

Geno; Also 1/2 life would depend on which one but as far as being able to figure out how long it well be in your system even when it is out most people have terrible withdrawals even after the medication is out of your system. like physical and mental withdrawals. good luck

Votes: +0
Stephen Treloar 29 Nov 2015

As Chuck correctly states that the time it takes to leave your body is not the same as when you experience the worst withdrawal. As an example most pure opiate agonist withdrawals take about 5 days, buprenorphine 7days, tramadol 10 days and methadone 22 days. After this you may suffer from post acute withdrawal syndrome for 6 months or so.

chuck1957 29 Nov 2015

Thanks Steve that is what I was trying to say big difference from when it's out of your system to when the withdrawal leave. Thanks for clearing it up. Chuck.

suzqfrid 28 Nov 2015

It depends on the strength of the tramadol and how your body metabolizes it. I take 300 er mg and it doesn't stay in my body all day If you are just starting out on it you'll probably be given 50 mg taken as needed Its not a good idea to split the er pills as they will get into your system faster

Votes: +1 free discount card

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tramadol, half life, system

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