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How long does Cotinine take to get cleared from the system?

Answered by
Dr. Chintan Solanki


Practicing since :2007

Answered : 2406 Questions

Posted on Wed, 6 Aug 2014 in General Health
Question: I quit smoking cigarettes at the end of May 2014 and ended my last use of the nicotine patch at 4mg three days ago, July 16, 2014, and have to take a preop cotinine test on July 31, 2014. Will my system be clear of Cotinine by that time. I am walking twice a day for 45 minutes, eating all natural with no junk food and drinking four 16 oz bottles of water per day. I am not sure if it will be a urine or blood test but either way will that be enough time for the cotinine to be out of my system for preoperative testing. I weigh 263 pounds and this is for gastric bypass surgery. What is the normal time frame for continine to be clear from my system. What is the range of the urine versus blood test?
Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki 41 minutes later
Brief Answer:
You are not likey to clear the test

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for using healthcaremagic.
I read your details. After 1 month of stopping smoking and 15 days of nicotine patch you are going for testing.
Normally clearing of nicotine - cotinine from body depends upon total duration of intake, type of cigarette used and metabolism in the body. Generally it takes 1 to 4 months.
I want to know,"For how much time you have smoked and quantity of smoking."
Your weight is also high so your fat volume gonna be high which leads to later on redistribution of cotinine in the system , so I guess you are not likely clear the test.
Normal range for Urine< 0.5 ug/ml is negative and Serum/blood < 0.025 ug/ml is negative, however it sometimes varied depending upon methods used by laboratories.
Hope I have answered your query.
Dr.Chintan Solanki
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
Follow up: Dr. Chintan Solanki 1 hour later
Why does it take so long to clear cotinine from my system...even most testing parameters say it is cleared within 7-14 do you come to this conclusion????
Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki 31 minutes later
Brief Answer:
it depend on some factors

Detailed Answer:

Please tell your duration and quantity of smoking.As I told I was guessing from your history that you can not clear.

Cotinine is nicotine metabolite. Nicotine deposited in fat also. And after that it slowly redistributed in circulation and metabolized in liver. If you have pretty fat/adipose tissue and if smoking is for many Years, there is possibility of appearing in circulation even after smoking up to 2-3 months.

Hope you understood what I want to convey. At end point you may clear the test also if parameter are set that nicotine patch is allowed.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
Follow up: Dr. Chintan Solanki 22 minutes later
I have smoked one pack per day for 20 years. I understand what you are saying I just don't understand how something with a half-life of 20 hours is stored in fat and redistributed as fat is later broken down. Doesn't half-life refer to entire cycle of a substance??? It just seems that like a catch 22 as I am told by my physician to stop smoking and go on the patch prior to surgery and followed his instructions but then I also have to lose 10% body weight prior to surgery which will subsequently spike my cotinine levels...frustrating...bottom line the 16 days that I have will not be enough to pass the cotinine test in your opinion.
Answered by Dr. Chintan Solanki 7 hours later
Brief Answer:
Just relax, hope for the best

Detailed Answer:
I ctan understand your frustration. But a pack for 20 years daily is really high. However in between smoking and test there is one month of gap. If your doctor is convinced that your slightly high result can be due to nicotine patch, he will agree to move forward.
So just relax, continue exercise and hope for the best. Important thing is you have quit smoking.So keep it up. If this time you will not clear, 31st August retest and you will clear and yes half life means substance appear in circulation and cleared more than 50% from quantity in circulation not in fat.
All the best & Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nalaparaju

The User accepted the expert's answer

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