How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?
If you or a loved one have researched treatment for opioid addiction, you have probably heard of Suboxone. Suboxone is a medication that contains buprenorphine and naltrexone. It is approved by the FDA to help treat opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
As a long-acting opioid, Suboxone stays in your system for more than a week. However, there are many individual factors that will dictate how long Suboxone stays in your system.
How Suboxone is Metabolized In The Body
In order to understand how long it takes the body to eliminate Suboxone from the system, you must understand its half-life. A half-life refers to the amount of time required for half of a dose of a substance to completely leave the body.
When it comes to buprenorphine, it has an extremely long half-life ranging anywhere from 24 to 42 hours. Naloxone, on the other hand, has a short half-life of about 2-12 hours. Since naloxone is not a drug of abuse, people are rarely concerned with how long it remains in their system. Instead, they are more focused on buprenorphine.
It takes approximately five half-lives to consider a drug completely out of your system, therefore, Suboxone is fully eliminated from your system after 7-9 days. Even though Suboxone will completely leave your system after 9 days, traces of the drug can be detected in your body for much longer.
Buprenorphine, the primary opioid medication in Suboxone, is metabolized in the liver. The liver then creates metabolites that remain in the body for a longer amount of time than Suboxone itself does. While drug tests don’t detect Suboxone metabolites, they do detect buprenorphine metabolites, also known as norbuprenorphine. Norbuprenorphine is then excreted, primarily through the urine, over a period of several days or weeks.
Norbuprenorphine has an even longer half-life than buprenorphine, averaging up to 150 hours. As a result, norbuprenorphine, or traces of Suboxone, can be found in your system and your urine for up to two weeks.
Factors That Influence How Long Suboxone Stays in Your System
A healthy person will find that it takes about nine days for Suboxone to leave their system and about 14 days for it to be fully excreted through the urine. However, other people will find that the substance leaves their body slower or faster than average.
This is because there are numerous variables that dictate how quickly the body processes substances. These include:
- Age, weight, and metabolism – People who are younger, have a lower BMI, and a higher metabolism will all process and metabolize Suboxone at a faster rate.
- Dosage and frequency of use – People who take Suboxone at higher doses or more frequently will need to allow more time for the substance to leave their system.
- Liver function – People with poor liver function will have higher levels of Suboxone in their body for a longer amount of time, causing the drug’s half-life to become longer.
- Combining Suboxone with other drugs – Other medications and substances can affect the levels of Suboxone in your body and how long it takes to leave your system. Speak with your doctor before mixing another medication with Suboxone.
Since each of these factors will be different from one person to the next, it is difficult to say exactly how long Suboxone stays in your system.
How Long Suboxone Is Detected in Urine, Saliva, Blood, and Hair
Most people are worried about getting Suboxone out of their system quickly because they are afraid they will fail a drug test for opioids. However, this is not the case. Most drug tests screen for morphine, the substance that most opioids metabolize into.
Since most standard drug tests do not screen for norbuprenorphine, drug tests will need to be sent to labs for special tests to detect Suboxone. Suboxone can be detected in your urine, hair, saliva, and blood for varying lengths of time.
For a healthy individual with good liver health, here is approximately how long Suboxone will be detected in standard drug tests.
- Urine tests – these are the most commonly used type of drug test. Suboxone may be detected in your urine as soon as 40 minutes after you take the substance. If you’ve been using Suboxone for a long time, the drug may show up on a urine screening for up to 2 weeks after taking your last dose.
- Saliva tests – Suboxone can be detected in your saliva just minutes after taking the medication and for up to about five days.
- Blood tests – Blood tests are rarely used, however, they can detect Suboxone in your plasma for up to 96 hours after your last dose.
- Hair follicle tests – Hair tests have the longest detection window. Depending on the dose you took, Suboxone can be detected in your hair follicle for up to 1-3 months after use.
Find Help For Suboxone Addiction
Most of the time, people who are taking their medications as prescribed do not have to worry about how long their medication will stay in their system. Therefore, if you’re worried about passing a drug test because you’ve been misusing Suboxone, it may be time to consider getting help.
Even though Suboxone is used to treat opioid addiction, the medication itself can be addictive if it is not used properly. The good news is that our addiction treatment specialists here at PAX Memphis specialize in Suboxone and opioid rehabilitation – and we can help you recover, too.
Call today to speak to an addiction specialist about our treatment programs.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.