How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

how long does Suboxone stay in your system

Suboxone is a prescription medication that is used to help people recover from opioid use disorder. It contains two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone.[1] Suboxone was developed as an alternative to methadone for helping heroin addicts maintain long-term sobriety.

While Suboxone is still an opioid, it does not create the same type of high as other opioids like heroin or oxycodone. However, the opioid effects that Suboxone does create can limit withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings, helping people overcome the initial hurdles of recovery.

Suboxone is a long-acting medication that can stay in your system for more than a week and show up on a drug test for up to two weeks.

How Does Suboxone Work?

Suboxone contains two substances: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it activates opioid receptors in your brain but to a lesser extent than full agonists. On the other hand, naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks other opioids from taking effect and reduces the abuse potential of Suboxone.

The two main ingredients in Suboxone work together to lessen withdrawal symptoms, prevent cravings, and make it difficult for you to relapse on opioids while you are taking the medication. It takes about 20 to 60 minutes for Suboxone to take effect once you consume the substance.

Since Suboxone contains naloxone, it makes it harder for you to experience an overdose. However, taking an opioid substance while you are on Suboxone could result in precipitated withdrawal, which is characterized by severe and sudden withdrawal symptoms.

Due to this risk of precipitated withdrawal, you should never consume other opioid drugs when Suboxone is still in your system.

What is Suboxone’s Half-Life?

To understand how long Suboxone stays in your system, you have to understand the drug’s half-life. A half-life is how long it takes your body to eliminate half of a single dose of a substance. Typically, it takes 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be completely removed from your body.

When compared to other opioids, Suboxone has a relatively long half-life of 24-42 hours. Its long-acting properties are what make Suboxone so effective in managing opioid use disorder.[2] However, Suboxone can stay in your system for up to 8 days.

How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

While Suboxone can remain in your system for up to 8 days, the substance leaves behind metabolites in your system that can linger for a longer period. As a result, you could still test positive for Suboxone on a drug test even after you stop taking the medication.

While most standard drug tests do not test for Suboxone, specialized testing can be ordered to detect buprenorphine in your system.

Urine

Urine tests are the most commonly used drug test because they are minimally invasive and typically very reliable. If you are taking a drug test for a new job or a treatment program, it will most likely be a urinalysis. These tests look for metabolites of specific drugs left behind in your urine.

Suboxone can be detected in your urine for about 2 weeks.

Saliva

Saliva drug tests are not as common as urinalysis because they are less reliable and provide a shorter window of detection. However, Suboxone can remain in your saliva much longer than other types of drugs. Saliva drug tests can detect Suboxone in your saliva for up to one week after you last used it.

Blood

Blood tests are invasive and usually provide short windows of detection. For this reason, they are usually only used in a hospital setting. With that being said, blood tests can detect Suboxone in your blood for about 2 hours after you last used it.

Hair

Hair tests are the most reliable type of drug test out there. However, sending these tests to the lab can be very expensive. As a result, hair tests are not used as commonly as urine or saliva drug tests.

Hair drug tests can detect any substance in your system for up to 3 months after you last used it, including Suboxone and other opioid drugs.

Factors that Affect How Long Suboxone Stays in Your System

Many variables may influence how long Suboxone stays in your system, such as:

  • How long you’ve been using Suboxone
  • The dose you have been taking
  • Whether or not you have been using other drugs, as well
  • Your age, weight, metabolism, and overall health
  • Liver health

Find Help for Suboxone Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one abuses Suboxone, it’s time to seek professional help. Suboxone addiction can be just as detrimental to your health as heroin or oxycodone addiction. Thankfully, drug rehab programs can provide you with the support and tools you need to overcome Suboxone addiction.

To learn more about our treatment programs, contact Moving Mountains Recovery Center today.

References:

  1. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Suboxone: Rationale, Science, Misconceptions, Retrieved August 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855417/
  2. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Suboxone Label, Retrieved August 2023 From https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2021/022410s042lbl.pdf
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