How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?
Medically Verified: 2/1/24
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Suboxone is a medication that has been a lifeline for many individuals struggling with opioid addiction. It can be prescribed during detox to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal and it can be used in early recovery to alleviate opioid cravings and reduce the risk for relapse.
Whether you’re considering Suboxone treatment or curious about drug testing, it’s essential to understand how long it stays in your system. Suboxone can show up on a urine test for up to two weeks after your last dose, but detection times may vary based on individual factors.
Suboxone consists of two primary medications: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, so it binds to the same receptors in the brain that opioids do but with less intensity. It helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for individuals to withdraw from opioids. Naloxone, on the other hand, is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids and can cause withdrawal symptoms if abused. It’s included in Suboxone to deter misuse.
Suboxone is typically administered as a sublingual film or tablet. It is placed under the tongue, where it dissolves, releasing the medication slowly into the bloodstream.
Suboxone is commonly prescribed as part of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs to help people recovering from opioid addiction. It helps stabilize individuals, reduces cravings, and allows them to focus on their recovery.
Understanding Suboxone Half-Life and Metabolism
Suboxone will start working within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion and the effects can last for 12-24 hours depending on the dose. However, the body starts metabolizing Suboxone as soon as it enters the bloodstream.
The elimination half-life of a substance is a measure of how long it takes for half of a single dose to be metabolized and eliminated from the body. Drugs with longer half-lives stay in the body for longer periods of time.
The buprenorphine in Suboxone has a long half-life of about 37 hours, meaning it can take over eight days for Suboxone to leave the body. Naloxone has a shorter half-life of between 2 and 12 hours.
When buprenorphine is metabolized, primarily in the liver, it is broken down into several metabolites, with norbuprenorphine being one of the primary ones. Norbuprenorphine is further metabolized into glucuronide conjugates. These metabolites are eventually eliminated from the body through urine and feces and may show up on specialized drug tests.
Naloxone is not a controlled substance and is typically not screened for using drug tests.
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?
Specialized drug tests or advanced laboratory testing may detect buprenorphine in your system if you have been taking Suboxone. How long Suboxone can be detected by a drug test may vary based on the type of drug test used.
- Urine Test – Urine tests can typically detect Suboxone for up to 2-4 days after the last use. However, this window may be extended in chronic, long-term Suboxone users, with urine tests able to detect the drug for up to two weeks. This is the most popular and reliable drug test type.
- Blood Test – Suboxone is detectable in blood for a shorter duration of time than urine, but this type of test is rarely used unless in a medical setting. Blood tests can detect Suboxone for 24-48 hours after the last dose.
- Saliva Test – Suboxone can be detected in saliva for a shorter period of time compared to some other testing methods. Suboxone can be detected in saliva for approximately 1-2 days after the last dose.
- Hair Test – Hair follicle tests have a longer detection window and can detect Suboxone use for up to 90 days or more. However, this method is less commonly used.
Factors that Influence How Long Suboxone Stays in Your System
The duration for which Suboxone remains detectable in your system can vary from person to person and depends on several factors, including:
- Metabolism – Your metabolic rate plays a significant role in how quickly your body processes and eliminates Suboxone. Individuals with faster metabolisms may clear the drug from their system more quickly.
- Age – Metabolic rates tend to slow down with age, which can affect the elimination time of Suboxone.
- Dosage – The amount of Suboxone you take can impact how long it stays in your system. Higher doses may take longer to clear the body.
- Duration of use – If you’ve been taking Suboxone for an extended period, it may accumulate in your system, leading to a longer elimination time.
- Frequency of use – Taking Suboxone regularly as prescribed may lead to a more consistent presence in your system compared to sporadic or occasional use.
- Individual health factors – Each person’s body is unique, and factors such as age, overall health, and genetics can influence drug metabolism.
- Liver and kidney function – The liver and kidneys are responsible for metabolizing and excreting drugs from your body. If these organs are compromised, it can affect the elimination time of Suboxone.
- Genetics – Some individuals may metabolize drugs more quickly or slowly due to genetic factors, leading to variations in drug metabolism and elimination times.
Get Help Today
Suboxone is a useful medication when it comes to treating opioid addiction, but it can be habit-forming when abused. If you have been abusing Suboxone and are worried about passing a drug test due to your substance use, you may want to consider seeking help from a professional addiction treatment center.
At Carolina Center for Recovery, our comprehensive, compassionate, and unique treatment program helps build a foundation for a healthy recovery and sober future. To learn more about Suboxone or to explore our various addiction treatment programs, please contact us today.
- National Institutes of Health: Suboxone: Rationale, Science, Misconceptions, Retrieved September 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855417/
- National Institutes of Health: Buprenorphine metabolites, buprenorphine-3-glucuronide and norbuprenorphine-3-glucuronide, are biologically active, Retrieved September 2023 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3560935/