How long does suboxone stay in your system? Read on to learn more about how this substance affects your body and how long it stays in your system.
Suboxone is the brand name of a combination medication that contains two ingredients, Buprenorphine and Naloxone. It works by reducing the effects that opioid drugs have on the brain and body.
By limiting the ability for opioids to attach to opioid receptors in the brain, Suboxone reduces cravings for opioid drugs and reduces the intensity of some withdrawal symptoms. But just how long does Suboxone stay in your system? This article will help answer any questions you may have.1
Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist. Because it is also an opioid drug, it can attach to the same opioid receptors in the brain typically used by illicit drugs, like heroin and prescription pain medications. However, it is only a partial agonist. This means it attaches to these receptor sites and blocks them but does not activate the receptors to create the same “high” that generally results from opioid use.
When opioid receptors in the brain are blocked, it stops the brain from sending signals that lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This helps improve addiction treatment success rates.
While Suboxone can improve and supplement the addiction treatment process, it can lead to addiction if not used as prescribed. The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies Suboxone as a Schedule III controlled substance. Drugs in this class have a moderate potential for physical and psychological dependence if misused.2
The answer to the question “how long does Suboxone stay in your system?” is that it depends. The half-life of Suboxone is a bit challenging to calculate, as it requires looking at both components of the drug. The half-life of a drug is the time the body needs to metabolize half of a dose. The half-life of Naloxone is between 2-12 hours, and 24-42 hours for Buprenorphine.3
Urine tests are considered effective for approximately two weeks for Suboxone, whereas saliva tests tend to be accurate for a few days to a week. Blood tests have a shorter detection window of only around 24 hours. The tests that can most effectively answer “how long does Suboxone stay in your system?” are hair tests, which can detect the drug for up to three months.
The factors that influence the answer to “how long does Suboxone stay in your system?” are sometimes individual and unique to the person. The factors that may speed or slow how quickly the body processes Suboxone include:
Another critical factor is the health of your liver, as the liver metabolizes Buprenorphine. Therefore, if you have a liver impairment or liver disease, the rate at which your body metabolizes Suboxone will be slower, leading to higher levels accumulating in the body for extended periods.5
When used as a treatment for opioid addiction, Suboxone therapy has various known side effects. The severity of side effects will vary from person to person. Side effects occur with Suboxone use because of how it acts within the brain to block the effects of opioids. Some of the most commonly reported side effects of Suboxone use include:6
In addition to physical side effects, it is also possible to experience emotional and behavioral side effects from Suboxone use. “How long does Suboxone stay in your system?” is also somewhat dependent on some of these side effects.
Suboxone is an opioid drug, so withdrawal symptoms often occur when someone stops taking it. It is crucial to work closely with your provider to taper off Suboxone slowly to avoid experiencing sudden and severe withdrawal symptoms. Your provider can help answer questions about stopping Suboxone, including “how long does Suboxone stay in your system?” and “what are examples of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms?
When withdrawing from Suboxone, it is common to experience many of the same withdrawal symptoms associated with other opioid drugs. However, the withdrawal symptoms will likely not be as intense as with opioids unless Suboxone is misused or abused.
In addition to flu-like symptoms, other symptoms such as those below may accompany Suboxone withdrawal:7
A straightforward way to learn more about “how long does Suboxone stay in your system?” is to consider how long it will show up on various drug tests. First, it is important to mention that many drug tests do not test for Suboxone or its components.
Therefore, unless a test specifically tests for the presence of Buprenorphine, Suboxone will not show up on a drug test. But, if an employer requests specific tests that look deeper than a traditional drug screen, Buprenorphine may show up.8
If you are concerned about how long Suboxone stays in your system if you have to take a drug test for employment, know that you are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) if you have a prescription for Suboxone. Specific blood, urine, saliva, and hair follicle tests will detect Buprenorphine in your system for several days, weeks, or months after your last dose.
Although Suboxone addiction does not occur with the same frequency as addiction to other opioids does, it is a possible outcome of misuse or abuse. It is also possible to overdose on Suboxone. Without treatment, the effects of overdose on Suboxone can be fatal.
As a treatment for opioid addiction, Suboxone is a beneficial component of a comprehensive treatment program. If taken as prescribed, it can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, allowing someone seeking sobriety from opioid addiction to take steps toward lasting recovery.
Treatment for Suboxone addiction is similar to other addiction treatment needs. The most effective programs involve individually planned programs, including detox, evidence-based therapies, and comprehensive aftercare.
Also, the most common and necessary first step for treatment is detoxification. Detox allows you to safely wean off Suboxone under the care and supervision of medical and mental health professionals. Once detox is complete, the next step is residential care.
At our residential treatment program at Ripple Ranch, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs as you enter treatment. Therapy models, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), teach you more about addiction and recovery.
Medical support from our treatment staff can help you understand critical details about recovery, such as:
At Ripple Ranch, you will work with a team of treatment providers and support staff. At our treatment facility outside of Austin, Texas, you can feel safe and supported as you begin healing from addiction’s physical, emotional, and spiritual effects.
Our individually designed, holistic care plans include individual, group, and family counseling in addition to peer support groups and aftercare arrangements. If you or a loved one have an addiction to Suboxone, let us help. Contact us today to learn more.