When it comes to treatment for opioid dependence, Suboxone is one of the most popular prescriptions. This medication is a key part of medication-assisted treatment for the first weeks or months after a person stops taking opioids. It has a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine, so it reduces cravings while helping reduce the risk of overdose.
However, since it acts on opioid receptors, it can be addictive. Just how long does Suboxone stay in a person’s system? First and foremost, Suboxone is a type of long-acting opioid. That means that it continues to be bound to your system for over a week. You might not feel the physical effects of it for that long, though. There are a variety of factors that will affect exactly how long the medication remains in a person’s body.
Understanding How Long Suboxone Lasts
The first thing that you need to know is the half-life of the medication. Every medication has a half-life, which refers to the amount of time it takes for half the dose to be completely eliminated from the metabolism. Buprenorphine is an opioid with a very long half-life.
It can take 24 to 40 hours for half of the drug to be processed. This is significantly longer than most of the opioids that people get addicted to, which is part of why it works so well as a maintenance medication. The other component of the medicine, naloxone, stays in the body for a shorter period of time. Its maximum half-life is 12 hours, and it is usually processed sooner than that. Naloxone is not an addictive substance, so people aren’t typically worried about how long it’s in their body. About 5 half lives need to pass before a drug is completely eliminated from the body.
That means that the buprenorphine in Suboxone is not removed until at least 7 days have gone by. It can stay in the body for up to 10 days. Even once the dose you took wears off, it’s still possible for trace amounts to be detected with drug tests. Buprenorphine is processed by your liver. The byproducts that the liver creates will remain in the body for longer than the drug. Drug testers can look for these byproducts instead of the drug itself to see if the medication has been abused.
Factors Affecting the Length of Time
A variety of factors can influence the length of time that it takes for your body to purge Suboxone. If you are completely healthy, the medication will leave your system in around nine days. After two weeks, it will have been excreted completely through your urinary system. But some individuals have slower or faster time tables. One of the factors influencing this is your metabolism, age, and weight. You will process the medication more quickly if:
- You are young
- You have a fast metabolism
- You have a low BMI
Your experience will also be affected by how frequently you use the substance. If you take higher doses or extra doses, you’ll need extra time to purge the medication. Because the drug is processed by the liver, it will take longer to leave your system if you have an impaired liver. In addition, if you combine the medication with other substances, that can affect the length of time that it stays in the body. All of these factors vary from individual to individual. There is no simple calculator that can tell you exactly how long Suboxone will remain in the system.
Detection in Hair, Blood, Saliva, and Urine
Many people want to know how long Suboxone remains in your system because it is an opioid. But you are unlikely to fail a drug test unless it is looking specifically for Suboxone abuse. Drug tests seek out morphine, which is what opioids tend to metabolize into. Suboxone doesn’t metabolize this way. If a specialized drug test is done, the lab may detect the medication. The amount of time that the substance is detectable varies by the testing method.
Urine tests may be able to show the presence of the medication for up to two weeks. Saliva tests only show it for around five days after use. A hair follicle test can detect usage for the previous 90 days, and a blood test can detect usage for four days after use. To talk to someone about opioid treatment, you can speak to one of our counselors at 302-842-2390.