Ambien, a commercial name for Zolpidem, is a popular drug for those with overactive minds. If you find your mind wandering at night when you need to sleep or find yourself stressing and over-thinking throughout the day, you’ve likely already become acquainted with Ambien. For many people, it’s the calm that quells the storm. But for many different reasons, some people that use it can’t get it through the medical system and resort to finding other sources. This roundabout way of getting your hands on Ambien, or if you want to keep prescription use a secret from a hopeful employer, begets a new worry: are they going to find out?
How long does Ambien stay in your system
Ambien is quick-acting, and with a normal dosage of 20mg its effects last up to four hours but begin winding down after only two. This fast action is good news for those whose lives are improved with the drug, and great news for those who are worried about being caught. Because it’s absorbed so quickly in the body, it’s also metabolized quickly through the liver. Older people and people suffering from liver conditions such as cirrhosis metabolize Ambien slower, so the effects last longer and the drug stays present longer.
However, because Ambien is an addictive drug, those who take it long-term (typically longer than two weeks) develop a tolerance which requires them to take higher dosages of it. The half-life of Ambien, which indicates how fast it wears off and is metabolized and removed from the body, increases in proportion to the dosage. So, if you’re taking a high dosage of Ambien regularly, it’s likely to stay in your system longer.
Will Ambien show up on a drug test?
Say you’ve recently taken Ambien, or regularly take high dosages, you’re probably concerned that it’s going to show up on an upcoming drug test. This is a completely valid concern. Luckily, Ambien only lasts a few days at most in the body, which means that beyond three to four days it’s nearly impossible to detect by way of a urine test.
Longer-term drug testing using hair and fingernails, however, are much better at detecting Ambien use. Though these tests give a more accurate picture of a person’s past and present drug use, they are much more expensive than your normal urine test, making them a less-popular choice among employers, home drug testing, and drug testing for legal purposes.
How long is Ambien detectable
If you’re taking the recommended dosage of Ambien, which is 20mg, it won’t show up on a standard urine test at all. Beyond that, heavier and more regular use of Ambien will show up on a standard drug test within three days of taking a high dosage. It’s most likely to show up at the 12-24-hour mark after taking it. There are also more extensive urine tests available now that can detect all traces of Ambien, even that of 20mg dosages, but like hair testing, this is pretty rare.
In hair, Ambien can be detected from one to five weeks after taking it. These tests are typically used in criminal court cases though, and thus it’s unlikely that an employer will test your hair for Ambien. After five weeks, trace amounts of Ambien in the proteins of the hair dissipate and cannot be detected.