Medically Reviewed

How Long Does Subutex Stay in Your System?

- 9 sections

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Subutex (buprenorphine) is a prescription opioid medication that is approved by the FDA to help treat opioid withdrawal and dependence. The drug is a partial opioid agonist that activates opioid receptors in the brain without producing a high. This helps relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings in people who are addicted to opioids.[1]

As an opioid, many people wonder whether or not Subutex can be detected on a drug test. While most standard drug tests do not test for buprenorphine yet, samples of your urine, hair, blood, and saliva can be sent off to a laboratory for screening. Depending on the type of test you take, as well as other factors, Subutex stays in your system anywhere between 24 hours and 90 days.

To better understand how long Subutex stays in your system, let’s take a look at how the drug is processed and what factors affect its metabolism in the body.

How Long The Effects of Subutex Last

Subutex is a long-lasting opioid so its effects last far longer than most other opioids. As a sublingual tablet, it takes the body 15-30 minutes to begin feeling the effects. These effects can last for up to 24-72 hours. If you combine Subutex with other substances, like alcohol, or takes Subutex at high doses may experience longer-lasting effects.

How Subutex is Processed in The Body

How Subutex is Processed in The Body

Subutex is taken orally as it dissolves under the tongue. It is then absorbed into the bloodstream and released throughout your body. Your liver is responsible for processing and metabolizing Subutex. Once buprenorphine is converted into metabolites, it is excreted through your urine and feces.[2]

In order to understand how long Subutex (buprenorphine) stays in your system, you have to consider the half-life (the amount of time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body) of the drug.

Buprenorphine has a half-life of between 24 to 48 hours.[3] Since it takes between four and five half-lives for a substance to be eliminated from your body, it can take anywhere from 120 to 210 hours, or 5-8 days, for Subutex to leave your system.

Factors That Determine How Long Subutex Stays in Your System

A healthy person can expect Subutex to be eliminated from their system after 8 days maximum. However, there are many different factors that can slow the process down. These include:[4]

  • Liver health – Since the liver is responsible for metabolizing buprenorphine, people with poor liver health will process Subutex slower. For instance, people with severe liver disease may take anywhere from 7 to 14 days to eliminate Subutex from their system.
  • Frequency, duration, and amount of Subutex use – The longer you take Subutex, the longer it will stay in your system. Similarly, taking Subutex more frequently or at higher doses can cause it to stay in your system longer.
  • Age, weight, and metabolism – Older people and those with higher BMIs will require more time to process Subutex and eliminate it from their body. Conversely, the faster your metabolism is, the faster the drug will leave your system.
  • Method of administration – The way in which Subutex is used can also affect how long it stays in your system. For example, even though injecting drugs makes the body process them faster, it can lead to greater amounts of the drug available in the body over time, possibly increasing the time it takes to be eliminated from the body.

There are also a number of biological, genetic, and environmental aspects that can speed up or slow down the process of eliminating Subutex from your body. As a result, it’s impossible to know exactly how long it will take. It can be even more difficult to determine whether or not you will pass a drug test because buprenorphine metabolites may stay in your urine, blood, hair, and saliva for longer than 8 days.

How Long Subutex Stays in Your Urine, Blood, Hair, and Saliva

Even though most people will eliminate Subutex from their system after 8 days, traces of metabolites can be found in your body for a long time. These can be detected in drug tests that screen samples of urine, blood, hair, and saliva.

Although many standard drug tests cannot detect buprenorphine, the sample can be sent off to a lab for a more thorough screening. Whether or not buprenorphine is detected depends on whether or not it has left your system and which type of test is being used.

Urine Tests

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Subutex will not show up as an opioid on urine tests, however, labs can test for buprenorphine in your urine. Subutex can be detected in your urine for 7-10 days after your last dose.

Blood Tests

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Subutex will stay in your blood a lot longer than most other substances. The drug may be detectable in your blood for up to 9 days after your last dose.

Hair Follicle Tests

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Hair follicle tests have the longest detection window of all drug tests. Subutex can be detected in your hair follicle for up to 90 days after your last dose.

Saliva Tests

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Saliva tests are rarely used and they have a short detection window. Subutex can be detected in your saliva for 24 hours after your last dose.

Find Help Today

If you find yourself wondering how long Subutex stays in your system because you need to pass a drug test, it’s likely that you’ve been taking it for nonmedicinal reasons. Whether you need to detox from Subutex or you have become addicted to it after abusing it, our drug rehab program in Tennessee is here to help. We offer an extensive number of treatment options ranging from medical detox to medication-assisted treatment that can help you overcome Subutex addiction. Call now to learn more.