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Updated on December 10, 2022
4 min read

How Long Does Suboxone Stay In Your System?

What Is Suboxone & Is It Addictive?

Suboxone is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s a schedule III controlled substance, available as tablets and sublingual film strips. 

Suboxone contains two main ingredients, namely: buprenorphine and naloxone.

As an opioid agonist, it’s used to treat opioid use disorder. By binding to the same opioid receptors in the brain, Suboxone can reduce: 

  • Cravings
  • Pain 
  • Anxiety
  • Opioid withdrawal symptoms

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How Long Does Suboxone Last? 

Suboxone begins to work within 20 to 60 minutes of the first dose. The medication reaches its peak level within 2 to 3 hours. 

Suboxone can block opioid receptors for at least 24 hours. However, this can differ from person to person based on factors such as:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Metabolism rate
  • History of substance misuse.  

Suboxone is metabolized in the liver and excreted through urination. After 9 days, Suboxone leaves a person’s body completely. 

How Long Does Suboxone Stay In Your System?

Modern drug tests can detect Suboxone in your system for at least 8 days or more. However, this can differ from one person to another based on various factors. 

How long a drug is detectable varies from person to person based on a variety of factors, including: 

  • The dose of Suboxone
  • Age
  • Height and weight
  • Existing liver conditions
  • Metabolism
  • Length of Suboxone abuse
  • Amount of time between the drug test and the last suboxone use

The type of test also affects whether or not Suboxone is detectable in a person’s system. For instance, the drug remains in urine for up to 6 days. It remains in the blood for 2 days at most. 

Therefore, a blood test would be less effective at detecting Suboxone in your body.

How long  does Suboxone stay in your system?

Examples of drug screenings that can detect Suboxone include:

Urine

Suboxone is detectable in urine for up to 6 days. Urine tests are one of the most common drug tests because they are simple and inexpensive. 

It takes less than an hour for buprenorphine to become detectable in urine. In some heavy use cases, it might show up 2 weeks after the last use.

Hair

A hair test is one of the rarest types of drug tests. It requires a complicated technical analysis, but it can detect Suboxone for up to 90 days after use. 

Hair follicle tests produce more accurate results than testing urine or blood. It also offers a more comprehensive view of whether or not someone is a Suboxone user.

Saliva

A saliva test is a common drug testing method, it’s non-invasive and easy to administer.  These tests can detect Suboxone up 10 days after use. Meanwhile, it can detect buprenorphine within a few minutes after use. 

Blood 

Blood tests also detect Suboxone, but it is more invasive and not used frequently. Suboxone stays in the blood for up to two days after use. 

However, it is most detectable within 2 to 12 hours after the last dose.

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Half-Life of Buprenorphine

The elimination half-life of buprenorphine is 24 to 42 hours. The elimination half-life of naloxone is two to 12 hours. 

In most healthy people, no trace of Suboxone would be found after 120 to 210 hours (5 to 8 days).

However, buprenorphine can be detected in the body for longer depending on the duration of treatment. On the other hand, doctors don’t usually screen for naloxone because it isn’t a misused substance.

Symptoms and Side Effects

Suboxone is safer than heroin and other opioids when used under a doctor’s supervision. Suboxone’s fatality risk is far less than heroin and less addictive. 

The addictive component of Suboxone, buprenorphine, has a slow onset. It has milder effects and a longer duration than opioids, making it less addictive. 

Essentially, it doesn’t trigger the brain in the same addictive manner as heroin.  Naloxone, on the other hand, is not addictive and is activated only when an opioid is present in someone’s system. 

While addiction to Suboxone is rare, it is possible. If someone does become addicted to Suboxone, they will experience:

  • Changes in body temperature
  • Abnormal skin sensations
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle discomfort
  • Drug cravings
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability, moodiness, and anxiety
  • Depression 

A Suboxone overdose is more likely to occur in people who have never taken opioids. The symptoms of a Suboxone overdose are similar to those of other opioid overdoses. If available, Naloxone should be administered to help stop the overdose.

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Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction

Opioid use disorder is challenging to overcome. Fortunately, there are several options for help.

These include:

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Updated on December 10, 2022
7 sources cited
Updated on December 10, 2022
  1. Mathew, Preethy. “How Long Does Suboxone Stay In Your System?” Authority Health Mag – Nutrition, Weight Loss, Skincare and Hair Care, Authority Health Mag – Nutrition, Weight Loss, Skincare and Hair Care, 2018. 
  2. What Do You Mean by the Half Life of a Drug?” Drugs.com.
  3. Abuse, National Institute on Drug. “Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016.
  4. National Alliance on Mental Illness “Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone),“ 2016
  5. Jordan MR, Morrisonponce D. “Naloxone” Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, 2022
  6. Kumar R, Viswanath O, Saadabadi A. “Buprenorphine.” Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing, 2022.
  7. Shulman, Matisyahu et al. “Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: An Overview.” CNS drugs, 2019.

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