Do Detox Drinks Work for Eliminating Opioids From the Body?

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do detox drinks work

“Detox drinks” have been marketed without evidence to consumers to help them pass opioid drug tests by claiming to eliminate the byproducts of these drugs from urine and the body. However, there is no evidence that detox drinks are effective for detoxification or passing a drug screening test. 

What Are Detox Drinks?

Google delivers more than 44 million results to the query: "What are detox drinks?" There is no official consensus about what these drinks contain, but there are plenty of assumptions about what these drinks do.

A typical detox drink might contain the following:[1]

  • Water
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Herbs
  • Other chemicals 
  • Ginseng
  • Ginkgo
  • Ephedra 
  • Caffeine

They’re sold as juice, tea, smoothies, and other beverages. Sellers claim they help boost the body’s natural ability to clear toxins so you can live a healthier life. Some companies claim their products could help you clear drugs and pass a urine screening. 

What Do Detox Drinks Do?

Since most detox drinks contain water, they can help you remain hydrated. Your body needs fluid to produce urine. Since opioids leave your body in urine, hydration is important.[2]

But there's no evidence that adding fruit, vegetables, or herbs to your body in one large dose will make your organs more effective in filtering toxins. As of now, there are no known ways of reliably (or safely) eliminating opioids from your body other than time itself. [3]

Detox Drink Warnings

A “detox drink” will not help you pass an opioid urine test. These products aren't effective in helping your organs to work quicker or eliminate metabolites of opioids more rapidly from the body.

While the side effects can vary, herbal products can cause problems such as seizures, blistering, renal failure, and high blood pressure.[5] Because these drinks are not regulated by the FDA, they are not proven to be safe, and some people may experience unpleasant or even dangerous side effects from drinking them. 

How Long Do Opioids Stay in the Body?

Opioids linger in your body until your organs can process them. This is an estimate of how long different opioids stay in the body, although these timelines vary by individual based on a number of factors:

Drug Name How Long Is It Detectable in Urine?
Codeine 1–2 days
Fentanyl 1 day
Heroin 2–7 days
Hydrocodone 2–4 days
Methadone 7 days
Morphine 2–3 days
Oxycodone 1–4 days

Sources

  1. These Are the Best Nine Ingredients for Your Detox Drink. Flavorman. https://flavorman.com/best-ingredients-for-detox-drinks. Accessed September 2022.
  2. Extraction and Determination of Opium Alkaloids in Urine Samples Using Dispersive Liquid-Liquid Microextraction Followed by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography. Journal of Chromatography. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1570023211005599. October 2011. Accessed September 2022.
  3. Colonic Irrigation and the Theory of Autointoxication: A Triumph of Ignorance Over Science. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9252839/. June 1997. Accessed September 2022.
  4. Study Supports Five a Day Recommendations for Fruits and Vegetables. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2021/study-supports-5-day-recommendations-fruits-and-vegetables. March 2021. Accessed September 2022. 
  5. Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicine Toxicities: When to Anticipate Them and How to Manage Them. International Journal of Emergency Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2700222/. June 2009. Accessed September 2022.

Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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