Ultram (Tramadol) and Drug Testing: What You Need to Know

Ultram, chemically known as Tramadol, is a medication prescribed for patients dealing with severe to moderate pain. It does not belong to the opiate family but it is easy to become addicted to even with medically backed reasons.  What happens when you are subjected to a drug test as an Ultram user?


Ultram And Opiates Drug Screening

As mentioned above, Ultram is not an opiate. It will not show up in routine drug tests. This is because it is a synthetic drug with a chemical structure similar to opiates but it is an opioid. The lack of the opium plant extracts means that it metabolises in a different way to drugs that have been obtained directly from poppy plants. This is why it turns up as negative in standard tests such as the 5 panel drug test.

When the 5 panel drug test is used, morphine derivatives are the target and these include Phencyclidine, Opiates, Cocaine, Cannabinoids and Amphetamines. Oxycodone, Percocet and Ultram/Tramadol will not be picked up.

However, there are toxicology screenings specifically made to pick up on Ultram and other similar prescription medication. This is known as the extended drug panel test.


Subjected To The Extended Drug Panel Test?

Two main reasons why you will be subjected to the extended drug panel test include:

Medical reasons:  Your doctor may want to use the random tests to ensure that you are sticking to therapy. It can also be used to rule out drug overdose in admitted individuals.

Work related:  The abuse of Ultram puts employees’ health and safety at risk. It can also lead to reduced productivity at work.  With drug testing, companies are able to identify and refer employees with drug or alcohol problems to rehab.


Ultram Detection Timeline

The elimination half-life for Ultram is 6.3 hours.  This means that it only leaves your system in 48 hours. In some cases, however, O-desmethyltramadol (M1) which is the major metabolite for Ultram can remain in your system for 2 days with a longer half-life of 7.4 hours. In the light of these, Ultram and its metabolites can be picked up by tests 2-4 days after the last use.


Screening Options And Windows

Blood- Ultram can be detected in the blood an hour after ingestion but it never shows up in drug tests till after the last dosage.

Saliva- The medication shows in saliva-based drug tests within an hour of ingestion and remains detectable for more than 24 hours.

Urine- Ultram is metabolised very quickly. Urine tests are not quite as effective as other options. The metabolites can still be picked up in urine tests until 48 hours after the last dosage.

Hair- Hair tests can pick up Ultram even in very low levels- making them very efficient and the screening option of choice.

There is a low possibility for you being subjected to a toxicology test that can pick up on Ultram. However, it is important to note that it is a controlled substance. This means that using it without taking legitimate prescription and getting caught can expose you to legal difficulties and job loss. This is not forgetting the dangers associated with its abuse.

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