Dear mika80 -
Because OxyContin is a time-released preparation of oxycodone, the generic name for its principle ingredient, it stays in the system longer than preparations of the drug designed for immediate release, such as Percodan, Percocet, or Tylox.
Having said that, the peak concentration of oxycodone in the bloodstream, following ingestion of OxyContin, is about 3 hours - plus or minus, depending on the individual's metabolism. What this means is that the drug is at its highest concentration - or greatest efficacy - in one's system after approximately this amount of time (by the way, anywhere from 60-87% of the chemical actually gets absorbed into one's system, which is a pretty high percentage, compared to most drugs, which only achieve up to a 50% absorption rate).
The next thing the literature talks about with respect to how long a drug remains in the system is something called its half-life - which basically means the amount of time it takes for one-half of the absorbed quantity to be processed out of one's system (or, demotabilized). The half-life for OxyContin is about 4 hours on average; this means that, for a 40mg tablet, of the 60%-87% that actually gets into the system (let's just say 75% for the purposes of this example), 30mg (40mg tablet times 75%) is absorbed, of which one-half of this amount, or 15mg, will still be in the system after 4 hours. After another 4 hours, 1/2 of the 15mg, or 7.5mg will remain, then 1/2 of that amount after a total of 12 hours, or 3.75mg, will remain, and so forth.
Given that OxyContin is normally prescribed to be taken in 12-hour increments, it is pretty safe to say that the vast majority of a single dose will have been eliminated by one's system in that amount of time. Also, as an fyi, oxycodone gets eliminated from the system mostly through the urine and by perspiration (which is why sweating is a common side-effect of taking the drug).
I know this doesn't give you a precise, single answer to your question, but I hope it is of some assistance to you, nonetheless.
- OxyContin Information for Consumers
- OxyContin Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of OxyContin (detailed)
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