How Long Does Ritalin Stay in Your System?

Detection Timetable Depends on Many Variables

Woman Taking Pill Bottle Out of Cabinet
Ritalin Can Be Habit-Forming. © Getty Images

Determining exactly how long Ritalin is detectable in the body depends on many variables, including which kind drug test is being used. Ritalin - also known as MethylPhenidate - 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 Ritalin 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 Ritalin will show up on a drug test.

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

How Long Does Ritalin Stay in the Urine?

Ritalin can be detected in the urine for 1-2 days

How Long Can Ritalin Be Detected in Blood?

There is limited data available concerning the length of time Ritalin can be detected in blood tests, but some estimates are up to 1 day.

How Long Can a Saliva Test Detect Ritalin?

A saliva test can detect Ritalin for up to 1-2 days

How Long Can a Hair Test Detect Ritalin?

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

Avoiding a Ritalin Overdose

Ritalin is a central nervous system stimulant which is used as part of a treatment program for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also used to treat narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep).

Knowing how long Ritalin remains in the system may be helpful in preventing an accidental overdose of the stimulant.

Symptoms of Ritalin overdose may include the following:

If you suspect a Ritalin overdose, seek immediately medical attention or call 9-1-1.

Other Dangers of Taking Too Much Ritalin

Ritalin, or methylphenidate, can be habit-forming. You should not take larger dosages, more often, or for a longer period of time than prescribed.

Because you can build up a tolerance to Ritalin and need more of the drug to achieve the same effect, some users tend to increase their dose and become chemically dependent. If your normal dosage is not achieving the results for which it was intended, tell your healthcare provider.


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 Institute on Drug Abuse. "Methylphenidate." Drugs, Herbs and Supplements. October 2015

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