How long does dihydrocodeine stay in the system?

Dihydrocodeine is a narcotic pain reliever with a similar potency to codeine and morphine. Use of this medication can result in addiction, due to its narcotic properties, and has various medical uses determined by its combination with other ingredients.

Individual metabolism, and the amount of medication consumed over the course of treatment, impact the length of time dihydrocodeine remains in the body.


Dihydrocodeine is a pain reliever recommended for cancer and post-operative patients. In addition to use as a pain reliever, dihydrocodeine is often combined with guaifenesin, an expectorant. This combination provides effective relief of cough, cold, and pain, alleviating coughing by focusing on part of the brain which tells the body to cough.

The typical prescription for dihydrocodeine allows dosing at 12-hour intervals, beginning with a low dose of 60 mg and not to exceed 120 mg twice each day. The higher dose could be authorised after observing the tolerance and severity of pain in a patient. Higher doses than 120 mg are not prescribed, since they do not provide any further degree of pain relief.

Time Spent in the Body

Dihydrocodeine remains in the body for varying lengths of time, depending on the amount prescribed, and the usage patterns. When used as prescribed, under supervision by a medical professional, it is eliminated quickly from the body. However, when this medication is abused over an extended period, the user will experience a slower elimination of the drug. Approximately 90% of a single dose evacuates the body within 24 hours and the remainder is excreted over the next 3-4 days.


Determining the precise amount of time dihydrocodeine will remain in the body depends on various individual factors. Each individual metabolises substances at different rates. In addition, the length of time the drug was in use, and the amount of dihydrocodeine being taken on a daily basis, impacts the estimate. Even an individual with a faster metabolism will retain traces of dihydrocodeine longer after having ingested high doses for a long period of time.