How Long Does Concerta Stay In Your System

Concerta is a drug that mainly stimulates the central nervous system. Concerta contains an ingredient known as methylphenidate, which is commonly misused because of its positive effects on cognitive functions, body performance, euphoria, sociability, and decreasing hunger. Methylphenidate is available in other brands, such as Aptensio XR, Ritalin, Cotempla XR-ODT, Metadate ER, Metadate CD, Methylin, Quillivant XR and QuilliChew ER.

How does Concerta work

The methylphenidate contained in Concerta inhibits certain substances responsible for the reuptake of dopamine and nor-epinephrine, resulting in prolonging the time the latter substances can work in your body. Concerta is indicated to treat 3 disorders, including narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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How long does Concerta stay in your system

Up to 18 hours since the last dose of Concrta, it is likely to stay in your system. The reason is that the half-life of the methylphenidate in Concerta is approximately 2-3 hours, which means that within 2-3 hours post-administration, half the administered dose will no longer be active in your system, and so on till the full dose is eliminated. Additionally, if you administer the extended-release form of methylphenidate, such as Metadate ER, it is likely to stay in your system for around 19 hours.

Nevertheless, there are other factors that can significantly affect the duration Concerta stays in your system. Those factors differ from a person to another, including:

  • Your age
  • Your body mass
  • Whether you’re a mild or a chronic user of Concerta
  • Your metabolic rate of drugs. That determines the rate of Concerta elimination from your system.

Will Concerta show on a drug test?

No, Concerta will not show on a drug test. The reason is that methylphenidate is not included within the substances people are tested for.

How long is Concerta detectable

Blood and urine

Up to less than 24 hours post-administration, Concerta is likely detectable in your blood; while in urine, the duration Concerta is detectable may be prolonged for up to 2 days.

Hair, saliva and fingernails

Starting from 1 week post-administration, and up to 1 month, the methylphenidate contained in Concerta is likely detectable in 3-cm hair; while it is likely detectable for only 24 hours in your saliva. On the other side, fingernails-based tests are rarely considered for methylphenidate testing.

What drug tests will show the presence of Concerta

  • Blood analysis
  • Urinalysis
  • Hair-based tests, including: Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry,¬†ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assays)
  • Saliva-based tests, such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)

How is Concerta stored in the body

Along with the previously mentioned half-life of methylphenidate, the half-life of ritalinic acid that results from methylphenidate metabolism determine the duration of Concerta storage in different body parts, such as urine, blood, hair and saliva.

Within 48-96 hours, around 78%-97% of the administered dose is excreted in the urine; while 1%-3% is excreted through the feces, and less than 1% is excreted without being metabolized.


  1. PubChem. Methylphenidate.
How Long Does Concerta Stay In Your System
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