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How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

Suboxone is a prescription medication that contains buprenorphine—a controlled substance. Typically, it’s dosed once per day, so you can expect it to stay in your body for about 24 hours.[1]

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While you may not feel your Suboxone in your body after about a day, it may last for much longer. In a urine test (which is the most common type of screening performed), the buprenorphine in Suboxone can be detected for up to 14 days.[2]

Understanding the Half-Life of Suboxone 

Medical experts use the term half-life to describe how quickly the body metabolizes drugs like buprenorphine. The buprenorphine in oral formulations like Suboxone has a half-life of 24 to 42 hours.[1]

When four to five half-lives have occurred, your body has metabolized almost all of the drug. You took.[3] That means within about four to nine days, most of the drug has left your body. 

Suboxone Detection Timeline 

Drug testing involves providing a biological sample (like urine or blood) that’s tested to detect either the drug or its metabolites. Many drug testing formats were designed for the workplace, so employers could ensure their staff is sober.[4] However, doctors and treatment providers might also use these tests to determine if their patients are using drugs or following their treatment plans. 

This table can help you understand how long the buprenorphine in Suboxone is detected in typical tests:[2,5]

Test typeTime Frame After Last Dose 
Urine testUp to 14 days
Blood testUp to 2 hours 
Saliva testUp to 36 hours
Hair testUp to 90 days

Urine 

The most common format of drug testing involves urine. It’s easy for people to provide these samples, and the concentration of drugs in urine tends to be higher than in other samples.[4]

Urine tests can detect buprenorphine for up to 14 days.[2]

Blood 

Most blood tests are performed in emergencies when doctors are trying to help patients who are sick, unconscious, or overdosing. Blood testing allows for precise drug levels, so doctors can provide the right care. However, these tests require a medical sample drawn by a doctor or nurse.[4]

Blood tests can detect buprenorphine for about two hours.[5]

Saliva 

Tests that involve oral fluid are easy to provide, and they’re very effective in detecting the metabolites of drugs. In other words, they’re good at detecting drugs your body is already in the process of digesting.[4]

Saliva tests can detect the buprenorphine in Suboxone for up to 36 hours.[2]

Hair 

The hair on your head, as well as hair on other parts of your body, can provide evidence of long-term drug use. Professionals don’t need a lot of hair to provide accurate results, and while the results can’t always tell doctors how much you took, they can demonstrate whether or not you used drugs.[4]

Hair tests can detect the buprenorphine in Suboxone for up to 90 days.[2]

Factors Impacting Suboxone in Your System 

Several different types of factors can influence how long Suboxone stays in your system. Some of them can be controlled, and others cannot. 

Typical factors that influence how long Suboxone lasts include the following:[6]

  • Hydration: If your doctor uses a urine screening test, drinking a lot of water can dilute your urine and allow you to reduce the drug’s concentration. Some testing facilities will examine your urine’s color to ensure you’re not cheating by drinking too much before the test. 
  • Metabolism: Chemicals help your body to break down drugs. If you make too much of them, the drug might pass out of your body too quickly. Some medications can impair the production of chemicals, making them last too long. 
  • Duration of use: People who use Suboxone for long periods tend to fail tests for longer time frames than those who are new to the drug. 
  • Body mass: Larger people tend to metabolize drugs more slowly than smaller people. 

Your age can matter too. Older people often have more damage in critical organs (like the liver), making drugs persist in the body for longer than they should. Your body might also just metabolize drugs slower as you age.[7]

What to Do About Suboxone in Your System 

If you’re taking Suboxone per a doctor’s orders, don’t worry about how long it lasts or whether or not it appears in a drug test. Keep following your treatment protocol, and speak up if you have any concerns. 

If you’re abusing Suboxone, talk to your doctor. An addiction treatment team can help you learn how to achieve sobriety and keep it for the long term. When that happens, you’ll no longer need to worry about failing tests, as you’ll be on the path to a healthier life.

Treatment comes in many forms, including residential and outpatient options. Find the right level of care for your situation and get on the path to a better future.

Updated March 16, 2024
Resources
  1. Suboxone prescribing information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published March 2021. Accessed February 28, 2024.
  2. Opioid testing. Testing. Published September 28, 2022. Accessed February 28, 2024.
  3. Hallare J, Gerriets V. Half-life. StatPearls. Published June 20, 2023. Accessed February 28, 2024.
  4. McNeil S, Chen R, Cogburn M. Drug testing. StatPearls. Published July 29, 2023. Accessed February 28, 2024.
  5. Jamshidi N, Athavale A, Tremonti C, et al. Evaluation of adherence monitoring in buprenorphine treatment: A pilot study using timed drug essays to determine the accuracy of testing. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2023;89(7):1938-1947.
  6. Interpretation of opiate urine drug screens. Health Partners. Accessed February 28, 2024.
  7. Drenth-van Maanen A, Wilting I, Jansen P. Prescribing medicines to older people—How to consider the impact of aging on human organ and body functions. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2019;86(10):1921-1930.
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