How Long Do Barbiturates Stay in Your System?

Detection Timetable Depends on Many Variables

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Several factors are involved in determining how long barbiturates are detectable in the body, including which kind drug test is being used. Barbiturates - also known as Amytal, Nembutal, black beauties - can be detected for a shorter time with some tests, but can be "visible" for up to three months in other tests.

The timetable for detecting barbiturates in the system is also dependent upon each individual's metabolism, body mass, age, hydration level, physical activity, health conditions and other factors, making it almost impossible to determine an exact time barbiturates will show up on a drug test.

The following is an estimated range of times, or detection windows, during which barbiturates can be detected by various testing methods:

How Long Do Barbiturates Stay in Urine?

Barbiturates can be detected in a urine test for up to 2-3 weeks

How Long Do Barbiturates Remain in the Blood?

Blood tests for Barbiturates can detect the drugs for up to 1-2 days

How Long Can Barbiturates Be Detected in Saliva?

A saliva test can detect Barbiturates for 1-10 days

How Long Do Barbiturates Remain in Hair?

Barbiturates, like like many other drugs, can be detected with a hair follicle drug test for up to 90 days.

Preventing Barbiturate Intoxication or Overdose

Barbiturates work by slowing activity in the brain. They cause relaxation and sleepiness. They are prescribed as anticonvulsants and used in anesthesia. Because barbiturates are depressants even low doses can cause someone to seem like they are drunk or intoxicated.

It is important to know how long barbiturates remain in the system because the risk of overdose is great especially when combined with alcohol or opiates.

Symptoms of barbiturate intoxication and overdose can include:

  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Difficulty in thinking
  • Drowsiness or Coma
  • Faulty judgment

If someone you know has taken an overdose and seems extremely tired or has breathing problems, call 9-1-1 or the National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).


Always Test Clean. "What Are Drug Detection Times?" Drug Test Facts Accessed December 2015

American Association for Clinical Chemistry "Drugs of Abuse Testing." Lab Tests Online. Revised 2 January 2013.

LabCorp, Inc. "Drugs of Abuse Reference Guide." Accessed March 2013.

OHS Health & Safety Services. "How long do drugs stay in your system?." Accessed March 2013.

National Institue on Drug Abuse. "Barbiturate intoxication and overdose." Drugs, Herbs and Supplements January 2014

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