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How Long Does Sublocade Stay in Your System?

Sublocade is an injectable treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) that is meant to stay active in your system for approximately a month. This form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is administered once per month, and the medication is slowly released into your system throughout that month.

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The drug remains in your system for longer than it is active. It is generally detectable on blood and urine drug tests for a year or longer after use.[1]

Average Length of Time Sublocade Stays in Your System

Sublocade is administered in doses that are designed to slowly released in your system for one month. 

Depending on your level of need, 100 mg or 300 mg doses are injected underneath the skin in the abdominal region. A minimum of 26 days must pass between doses of Sublocade to give your body enough time to metabolize it safely.[1]

The exact amount of time Sublocade stays in a person’s system varies slightly, depending on many factors. Physical health, body weight, and composition, history of substance use, and response to Sublocade can all impact how long the drug remains in your system. 

Breaking Down Sublocade’s Half-Life

The half-life of a drug refers to how long it takes for half of the initial dose of the substance to be metabolized from the body. Half-life has been reached when 50% of the drug has been eliminated from the person’s system.[3]

Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Sublocade, has a half-life of 25 to 70 hours, with an average half-life of 38 hours when taken under the tongue.[4] When injected as Sublocade, however, the half-life is much longer. 

Sublocade has a much longer half-life, as it is administered in an extended-release version. Experts estimate that the half-life of Sublocade is approximately 43 to 60 days.[5]

Due to its long half-life, Sublocade is an effective treatment for people dependent on opioid drugs. Over the duration of a month, it consistently binds to opioid receptors in the brain to prevent cravings and withdrawal symptoms that may prompt further opioid misuse.[6]

Detection Times for Sublocade 

The detection window of substances in a person’s system varies depending on the type of drug test that is used. Detection times for substances like Sublocade can vary from several hours to up to 12 months or even longer. 

Most standard drug tests don’t check for buprenorphine or its metabolites. Specialized tests must be used to test for Sublocade or other buprenorphine medications.

The chart below outlines typical detection times for Sublocade based on the type of test used:[2] 

Type of Drug TestDetection Time
Urine test12 months or longer
Blood test12 months or longer
Hair test4-6 months
Saliva test12-24 hours

Per the drug’s manufacturer, trace amounts of Sublocade may be detectable in blood and urine tests for a year or longer after steady-state maintenance dose levels have been achieved.[1] How quickly your body metabolizes Sublocade or opioids in general, will also impact the exact detection time of Sublocade in your system.[2]

Components That Impact Sublocade in Your System

Many factors impact how long Sublocade stays in your system. While the drug is meant to be slowly released over one month, some people may metabolize it more quickly or slowly than others. Drug metabolism is an individual process influenced by multiple factors, including these:[7]

  • Genetic factors
  • Pre-existing conditions, like liver or heart problems
  • Drug interactions with other medications or substances being used

The dose of Sublocade taken and the person’s reaction to it also impact how long it stays in the system. Some people may take a lower dose of Sublocade and metabolize it so quickly that its effects are hardly felt. Others may metabolize the drug so slowly that they have a toxic reaction to it and experience negative side effects.[7]

When considering taking Sublocade, speak with your healthcare provider about your health status, history of health conditions, and current use of medications and substances. Your doctor will be able to determine the safest and most effective amount of Sublocade to take for your situation.  

Updated March 18, 2024
Resources
  1. Prescribing information: Sublocade (buprenorphine extended-release) injection, for subcutaneous use. Sublocade.com. Published December 2023. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  2. Appendix B. Urine collection and testing procedures and alternative methods for monitoring drug use. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Published 2006. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  3. Hallare, J. and Gerriets, V. Half Life. StatPearls. Published June 20, 2023. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  4. Kumar, R., Viswanath, O., and Saadabadi, A. Buprenorphine. StatPearls. Published November 30, 2023. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  5. All About Sublocade Injection. Healthline. Published September 12, 2022. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  6. Buprenorphine Quick Start Guide. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  7. Le, J. Drug Metabolism. MSD Manual Professional Version. Published June 2022. Accessed February 22, 2024.
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