Anyone who is taking Ambien needs to have an understanding of how long zolpidem stays in the system. Whether this is to take other medications safely or to pass an Ambien drug test, it is critical information. Here is what users should know about zolpidem metabolism and drug testing.
Learn About Zolpidem Half-Life:
How Long Does Ambien Stay In One’s System?
Within minutes of taking zolpidem, users start to experience the effects of Ambien. These effects remain in place for many hours, allowing the medication to help users sleep. Despite how long the effects last, the Ambien half-life is relatively short, at just 2.5 hours on average for the instant release formula. For the extended-release version, that only increases to 2.8 hours.
However, just because the half-life of Ambien is typically under three hours does not mean that full clearance occurs in roughly six. For most individuals, getting Ambien completely out of the system takes around 14 hours.
Users should keep in mind that clearance takes longer for women than it does for men, putting women at greater risk of complications from the medication. Other factors can slow down clearance as well, including:
- the overall health of the individual
- the individual’s metabolism
- any problems with the organs, especially the liver
- whether or not the medication is taken with food
- hydration of the patient
- the body fat percentage
- how old the individual is
It is important that users understand when half and full clearance take place. This helps them avoid things like overlapping medications that could trigger zolpidem adverse effects. For those who like to imbibe, being aware of zolpidem half-life can also ensure they never end up with Ambien mixed with alcohol, which can cause severe health complications.
Ambien Drug Test
Ambien drug tests are not standard, nor are they very common. Because Ambien use is FDA approved and it is not a top medication of abuse, most people testing for drug use won’t even think to look for it. The exception is when abuse is suspected. In this case, a zolpidem drug test looking for the presence of the substance in the body may be requested.
Zolpidem can be detected in the urine, blood, saliva, and hair. However, it does not remain present for very long. Of these, the most accurate over the long-term is hair, as it holds evidence of use the longest. However, urine tests are by far the most convenient for testers and offer a better testing window than blood or saliva.
How Long Does Ambien Stay In Urine?
Because zolpidem metabolism is rapid, it does not remain detectible in the urine for long. At the regular zolpidem dosage, it can become undetectable in as little as 24 hours. If the user is taking high doses, it could remain detectable in the urine for 72 hours.
How Long Does Ambien Stay In Blood?
While most would assume a blood test offers a better testing window than urine, with zolpidem, this is actually quite short. Zolpidem can become undetectable in the blood in as little as 6 hours. When taken at a high dose, Ambien shows up on a drug screening for as long as 48 hours in some patients.
How Long Does Ambien Stay In Saliva?
Saliva tests for zolpidem are very uncommon. However, they can be useful in some settings. These tests can reveal the presence of the drug within 15 minutes of taking it; though, after 8 hours, they are typically unable to pick up traces anymore.
How Long Does Ambien Stay In Hair?
Hair follicle testing offers the largest window of detection. With this type of test, technicians can pick up traces of the drug up to five weeks after use. However, these are quite rare and may require extra effort to get.
Does Ambien Show Up On A 12 Panel Drug Test?
Anyone who gets tested for their job, custody agreements, parole, and more worries about what shows up on a standard 12-panel drug test. While these tests can pick up a wide variety of substances of abuse, zolpidem is not one of them.
This does not mean someone abusing the drug is in the clear. If the authority ordering drug the test suspects abuse, they could order a more comprehensive examination, and if they are zero in on zolpidem use specifically, they could seek a targeted test. Should the user have a prescription and use it correctly, this should not be an issue. However, if abuse or misuse is taking place, the user should anticipate legal consequences.
Ambien Drug Test: False Positives
Because Ambien acts in a similar manner to barbiturates, users may worry that it could result in a false positive on a zolpidem drug screening. While their effects have their similarities, these are two very different types of substances, and zolpidem will not cause a false positive for barbiturates. This does not mean that false positives on any drug screening are fully ruled out; it just means that thus far, zolpidem interactions with testing materials have not been demonstrated to cause a false positive. However, there is a possibility that Ambien interactions with other medications concomitantly taken can cause unpredictable reactions and results in drug screening.
Ending Ambien Misuse
If someone is misusing Ambien, they need to get help before the abuse turns deadly. While beating dependence and addiction can seem daunting, users can get through it with the right support in drug rehabilitation centers. Thanks to addiction treatment programs there, sober and healthy life is possible.
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