Since 2015, more clinics offer Suboxone (or its generic form buprenorphine with naloxone) than not. If you’re under treatment for substance abuse, then you might be taking Suboxone right now.
If you’re one of the millions who rely on Suboxone to treat opioid use disorder, then you might wonder how long it can stay in your system.
The answer depends on:
- How you use Suboxone
- What type of drug test you take
- Your health and metabolism
Read on to learn all about how long Suboxone lasts in the body:
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your Body?
Suboxone comes in two forms:
- A sublingual tablet that you can dissolve under the tongue
- A buccal film that you can dissolve between your cheek and gums
Once you dissolve the Suboxone in your mouth, it reaches your bloodstream instantly through the soft tissues of your mucous membranes.
However, Suboxone doesn’t dissolve instantly, so it can take 45 minutes to start feeling effects with a 4 to 8 milligram dose, or rarely up to six hours if it’s your first dose.
At this stage, the body and brain effects of Suboxone include:
- Control of opioid withdrawal symptoms while not using
- Opioid withdrawal symptoms if you abuse opioids
You may experience negative side effects such as:
- Mood changes
- Stomach discomfort
- Trouble sleeping
Because Suboxone contains naloxone, you can’t get high from it like other opioids. Naloxone is an opioid-blocking agent that prevents euphoria. It also causes sickness if you abuse opioids while taking it.
After the effects of Suboxone kick in, they typically last for 24 hours or more.
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Lab Tests?
The length of time that Suboxone shows up on a lab test depends on the type of test.
There are four kinds of drug tests, including:
- Urine tests
- Hair tests
- Blood tests
- Saliva tests
Most people who use Suboxone for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) take regular drug tests, so make sure to tell the person administering the test if that applies to you.
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your Urine?
Urine tests start detecting buprenorphine in your urine less than 1 hour after you last used it.
In most cases, buprenorphine stays detectable in your urine for up to 4 days after the last use.
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your Hair?
Hair tests are notorious for their ability to detect drugs for a long period of time. In fact, Suboxone shows up in your hair for 90 days after you take it.
That’s because of the unique way that your hair shaft stores drug metabolites (the byproducts your body creates while digesting the drug) each time you use.
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your Blood?
Buprenorphine has a longer half-life than many other opioids—the amount of time that it takes for your body to get rid of half a dose.
Most blood tests don’t show opioids for very long, but buprenorphine could show up on a blood test for as long as 2 days after use.
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your Saliva?
Buprenorphine shows up in your saliva for about 2 days after use. That’s because similar to blood tests, a saliva test depends on the half-life of the drug.
They both test serum for drugs and metabolites, so blood tests and saliva tests tend to have similar useful windows—and that’s the case with Suboxone screening, too.
What Factors Affect How Long Suboxone Stays in Your System?
The more you understand about Suboxone detox, the better you can take care of yourself when it comes time to stop using the drug.
The factors that affect how long it lasts in your body include:
- Metabolism: Your metabolism is a measure of how fast your body processes substances—it’s largely something you can’t control, and includes factors like your genetics, age, and weight.
- Health: People with healthy bodies tend to detox from substances faster, including buprenorphine.
- Drug abuse history: This includes dosage, frequency of use, and whether you use other drugs.
- The last time you took an opioid: Taking any opioid when you’re detoxing from buprenorphine can set you back.
The bottom line is, there isn’t much you can do to speed up detox short from making sure you’re avoiding all opioids.
Get Treatment for Opioid Abuse
If you’re abusing buprenorphine and worried that it might cause a positive result on a drug test, then it’s definitely time to seek help.
It’s hard to abuse Suboxone because it’s mixed with naloxone—a drug that mutes the high from opioids and gets you sick if you abuse it. But it still happens, and buprenorphine abuse is just as serious as other opioid abuse.
Treatment for opioid abuse usually includes:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of talk therapy teaches you to understand your own thought patterns, including the ones that make you use drugs.
- Daily check-ins: Regular appointments keep your recovery on track throughout your treatment, and give you the opportunity to ask questions and get answers.
- Group therapy: It’s true that social support is an important tool in recovery. Sharing your experiences with people who understand in a group setting can be deeply therapeutic.
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): MAT is the use of drugs to treat opioid or alcohol withdrawal. Suboxone itself is a form of MAT, so if you’ve abused it in the past, it’s unlikely to be a part of your treatment.
Ready to take the first step into recovery? Call Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today to learn more—your health can’t wait another day!
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: National survey of substance abuse treatment services <https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3192/ShortReport-3192.pdf>
- National Center for Bioinformatics: Suboxone rationale, science, and misconceptions <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855417/>
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: A guide for patients beginning buprenorphine treatment at home <https://www.drugabuse.gov/nidamed-medical-health-professionals/discipline-specific-resources/initiating-buprenorphine-treatment-in-emergency-department/guide-patients-beginning-buprenorphine-treatment-home>
- Medical News Today: Suboxone <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325827.php#how-it-works>
- Verywell Mind: How long does buprenorphine stay in your system? <https://www.verywellmind.com/how-long-does-buprenorphine-stay-in-your-system-80228>