How Long Does Tylenol 3 Stay in Your System? – Tylenol with codeine (Tylenol 3) contains the pain-relieving medication acetaminophen, which is available over-the-counter at many stores and pharmacies. However, it also contains codeine, an opioid prescription analgesic (pain reliever) that works on the central nervous system, which is why Tylenol 3 is available only by prescription. Regarding detection times, drug screens typically yield the following results:
- Urine: Up to three days
- Blood: Up to 24 hours
- Saliva: Up to four days
- Hair: Up to 90 days
Because of codeine’s high potential for abuse and physical dependence, codeine is categorized as a schedule II, III, IV, and V substance, depending on its formulation and use. For example, Tylenol 3 is a schedule III drug.
Both acetaminophen and codeine are associated with severe interactions with other illicit and prescription drugs and overdoses.
How Long Does It Take to Experience Effects?
After oral ingestion, it usually takes around an hour to begin feeling the analgesic effects of Tylenol 3, which can endure for about 3-4 hours, depending on your dosage.
The body breaks codeine into morphine, an opium alkaloid that can induce feelings of elation, analgesia, and euphoria, and dangerous side effects, such as heart and brain damage.
Common side effects of codeine include the following:
- Difficulty urinating
- Mood swings
- Abdominal pain
The most common side effects of Tylenol are headache and nausea. In rare instances cases, acetaminophen can cause a severe skin reaction that can be life-threatening.
How Long Does Tylenol 3 Last?
The half-life of a substance is the time required for the body to cut the amount of the substance in half through metabolism. The components of Tylenol 3, acetaminophen and codeine, have differing half-lives:
Acetaminophen: One tablet of Tylenol 3 contains 300 mg of acetaminophen. For most people, the half-life of acetaminophen is between 1.25 and 3 hours. As such, the substance will be entirely eliminated from an individual’s body after 24 hours. However, this period of time could be extended if the individual suffers from poor liver function.
Codeine: One tablet of Tylenol 3 contains 30 mg of codeine. Compared to acetaminophen, codeine takes longer to eliminate from the body. The half-life of codeine is typically 2.5 or 3 hours, though it can continue to work in the body for between 4 and 6 hours. A urine test can reveal codeine for up to three days after consumption.
False Positives During Testing
Curiously, if someone consumes poppy seeds, such as those on poppy seed bagels or poppy seed muffins, it can result in a false positive on a drug test. This is because poppy seeds contain codeine in trace amounts.
Some other medications—doxylamine, diphenhydramine, verapamil, and more—can also lead to false positives on enzyme immunoassay (EIA) drug tests.
Because of this, it’s crucial to inform the lab technician or clinician about anything you’ve recently eaten or any other medications you might be taking, as this can affect your test results.
Detection Time Factors
The length of time in which Tylenol 3 remains detectable in the body is affected by numerous factors. Such factors include the dose amount, how often the substance is consumed, age, weight, metabolic rate, and the overall health of the individual.
The higher the dose of Tylenol 3, the longer it will take for the body to metabolize. Likewise, the longer the drug was taken, the longer it will take to get rid of.
How to Clean Tylenol 3 Out of the Body
As with any substance, a person should stop taking it and permit the body to metabolize it. Exercise and remaining well-hydrated can aid the metabolic process. But, attempting to “sweat the drug out” or consuming copious amounts of water will likely just dilute the test, rendering it inconclusive, resulting in a retest.
Working with a doctor or other healthcare professional is strongly advised. For medications like Tylenol 3, a well-planned tapering method can help you minimize withdrawal symptoms.
Tylenol 3 Overdose
As with other opioids, codeine can be deadly if too much is consumed too fast. Moreover, acetaminophen, even though it is a very common drug found in tons of over-the-counter medications, is hard on the liver. For this reason, taking too much acetaminophen can cause serious issues, including liver damage or failure.
Taking Tylenol 3 as prescribed and not in conjunction with any other unapproved substances will most likely not cause an overdose. Nonetheless, if an overdose is occurring, a person may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Bluish lips or fingers
- Cold or clammy skin
- Extreme drowsiness
- Stomach pain
- Profuse sweating
- Low blood pressure
- Pinpoint pupils
- Slow or labored breathing
- Respiratory arrest
If you suspect that you or someone else is overdosing, call 911 or seek emergency medical help right away.
The safety range of acetaminophen is narrow. Consuming more than the recommended maximum of 4,000 mg per day can lead to permanent damage to the liver, which can ultimately lead to premature death. Both overdose and organ damage can occur rapidly.
Because of this, Tylenol 3 and other medications that contain acetaminophen generally only have up to 325 mg per dose. Examine the active ingredients on medications before taking them to ensure you aren’t taking too much of any one substance, such as acetaminophen, at one time.
Codeine has been known to cause some people to experience respiratory issues in the first few days of use. Individuals with respiratory ailments, such as COPD or asthma, should be cautious when taking Tylenol 3.
Codeine can interact with other substances and lead to unpredictable side effects. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and taking codeine in conjunction with other CNS depressants can cause profound drowsiness and slow breathing to perilously low levels.
Alcohol is a CNS depressant and is also hard on the liver, so it should also be avoided when taking Tylenol 3 to prevent harmful side effects. Other CNS depressants to avoid include other opioids, benzodiazepines, and sleep aids.
Getting Professional Help
Taking codeine excessively poses several risks. First, the drug tends to be habit-forming, meaning it could cause a person to develop both tolerance and dependence and highly unpleasant withdrawal effects that onset when the person tries to quit. Second, going through medical detox will make the process easier with less chance of failure.
Abruptly stopping the medication (without medical help) will likely result in withdrawal symptoms, including the following:
- Dilated pupils
- Teary eyes
- Runny nose
- Trouble falling/staying asleep
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Lack of appetite
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle aches
If you’ve been using Tylenol 3 or other opioids for several weeks or longer and want to stop, you should talk to your healthcare provider or addiction specialist at Just Believe Recovery about entering a recovery program and forging a better, healthier life.