How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System

How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

Understanding Suboxone in Your Body and Getting Help at Icarus

If you or a loved one have ever suffered from an opioid use disorder, you know just how devastating the effects are and how risky it is to abuse them.

Opioids are one of the most dangerous drugs impacting the American public. They account for nearly 75% of overdose deaths in the United States, leading to the opioid epidemic being labeled a Public Health Emergency in 2017.

Fortunately, the use of medications like Suboxone can help curb cravings and assist with withdrawal symptoms. However, people who are in recovery and using the drug often ask, “How long does Suboxone stay in your system?” when trying to pass a drug test because of its status as an opioid. At the same time, people abusing the drug may also want to know how long after stopping Suboxone addiction treatment they can go back to using opioids “safely.”

If you’re looking for help with an opioid addiction, Icarus Behavioral Health can help. They utilize dual-diagnosis treatments that include treatment for any mental health disorder contributing to your addiction and medically-assisted detox treatments that include safe Suboxone use to help make you more comfortable. They’ll also help create a treatment plan and build your coping skills to aid in your active and ongoing recovery.

Keep reading to learn more about Suboxone and how opioid use disorder treatment from Icarus can change your life.

What Is Suboxone?


Suboxone is a combination drug that contains both buprenorphine and naloxone. It’s a partial opioid agonist that is used to combat the effects of opioid abuse and withdrawal, helping you to overcome your addiction with as little discomfort as possible. It comes in a sublingual film or a tablet, with the film allowing for seamless Suboxone dose increases or decreases throughout treatment.

Suboxone was created as an alternative to methadone that specifically addressed opioid use, allowing it to cause fewer side effects than its predecessor. Both are opioids themselves, but their mechanism is different and they provide different effects, making them a transitional drug for getting sober. As a result, it’s commonly used as a part of medication-assisted addiction treatment for opioids.

How Do You Get Suboxone?

Suboxone can be a critical element in overcoming an addiction to opioids, but it’s not very easy to acquire. As a Schedule III controlled substance, Suboxone cannot be bought over the counter and requires a prescription from a licensed medical professional. Fortunately, you can get it prescribed by your primary care provider, psychiatrist, or care team, making it crucial that you get professional help when kicking your addiction to opioids.

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How Does Suboxone Work for Opioid Addictions?

Suboxone is a mild synthetic opioid that acts on similar opioid receptors in the brain as drugs like heroin or oxycodone, but doesn’t produce the same high as stronger drugs do. Suboxone addiction is possible, but not as likely as an addiction to other strong opioids. As a result, your brain continues to receive the drugs it needs to satisfy cravings and avoid serious withdrawal symptoms without making your dependence worse.

Suboxone is also a preferred method of weaning off opioids because it has a “ceiling effect” where doses exceeding 24mg don’t produce a stronger effect, making it less likely to be abused. However, it can be misused by those who are looking to reset their tolerance so that getting high is easier – and far more dangerous.

The Dangers of Misusing Suboxone

Over time, taking Suboxone begins to lower your brain’s dependence on opioids and changes your opioid receptors back to their baseline. Once your levels have returned to normal, your tolerance begins to reset as well, meaning you don’t need as high of a dose as previously to achieve the same effects. As a result, some people misuse Suboxone as a way to make it easier to get high.

However, those who abuse Suboxone don’t understand that a lowered tolerance also increases the chances of overdosing if a higher dose is taken, similar to the dosage used before addiction treatment. The brain and body can’t handle the strength of high-dose opioids in the same way, so it easily overwhelms them and leads to dangerous side effects like depressed breathing, loss of consciousness, and potential death.

If you or a loved one has considered using Suboxone to enable your addiction, this is a clear sign of an overwhelming substance abuse disorder. It’s crucial that you get professional help to overcome your addiction and avoid dangerous side effects of continued opioid use.

How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

Suboxone in System Timeline

Suboxone lasts longer than most other opioids like heroin or fentanyl, so it will stay in your system and provide therapeutic effects for longer. The half-life, the amount of time it takes a drug to reduce in concentration by half, is between 24 and 48 hours for buprenorphine and 2 to 12 hours for naloxone. This means that you’ll experience fast but short-term relief from withdrawal symptoms while taking the medication because of the naloxone, but the buprenorphine will maintain the levels in your blood for the entire day to minimize imbalances.

Most drugs are clinically eliminated after four to five half–lives, so you can expect Suboxone to stay in your system for anywhere from five to ten days. However, each person will process the drug differently.

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Factors Impacting How Long Suboxone Stays In Your System

Like many other drugs, Suboxone’s effects and elimination rate will depend on a variety of different factors.

The level of hepatic impairment, or liver function, plays a significant role in how long Suboxone lasts in your system. The drug is processed by your liver and excreted through your urine and feces, so an impaired liver will slow the elimination rate and increase the half-life.

According to the FDA, moderate hepatic impairment can extend the half-life of buprenorphine by as much as 35% while severe liver disease increases it by as much as 57%. Naloxone sees a 165% and 122% increase, respectively, in its half-life as well, though its half-life still remains much shorter than buprenorphine.

Other factors that can contribute to how long Suboxone stays in your system include:

  • Age
  • Body weight
  • Dosage
  • Drug interactions

Overall, most people will no longer have a clinically relevant level of Suboxone in their system after two weeks, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be detected on a drug test.

Is Suboxone Detectable on Drug Tests?

Suboxone Drug Tests

You can detect Suboxone on a drug test, but it’s not commonly tested for. Despite being an opioid like heroin, its composition is different from others that are often included in drug testing, so it’s unlikely to be detected, unless the test specifically looks for Suboxone.

In most cases, undergoing medically-assisted treatment using Suboxone with the supervision of a medical team will not be testing for Suboxone, unless you have a history of noncompliance with a treatment program.

How Long Is Suboxone Detectable?

If a drug test does look for Suboxone specifically, the method of testing will determine how long it’s detectable.

While Suboxone stays in your body for between 5-10 days, its detectability is generally less than two days for blood tests due to small concentrations left over after the drug has been metabolized.

Saliva can show trace levels of Suboxone for up to three days, while hair tests can show Suboxone use for up to 90 days.

Urine tests, one of the most common drug testing methods, detects Suboxone use for up to seven days after use.

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Types of Suboxone Misuse and Abuse

Suboxone is commonly used to help people overcome their addiction to opioids in a safer and more comfortable way. However, it is not always used as intended.

While Suboxone addiction isn’t common due to its ceiling effect, some people may use it recreationally to achieve a low-grade high. But, it is more commonly used to enable further drug use. If you’re addicted to opioids, taking Suboxone helps you reset your tolerance, allowing you to take smaller doses of other opioids while achieving a similar effect. However, it also puts you at a higher risk of overdosing.

Alternatively, Suboxone may be used to temporarily wean off of stronger opioids in anticipation of being tested for drugs without experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms. Since drug tests don’t usually look for Suboxone, some people take it temporarily until they pass their test. Then, they resume their normal drug use.

If you or someone you know is using Suboxone without being under the care of a medical professional, they are likely abusing the drug and can be at a higher risk of overdose and death. If you’re worried about how long Suboxone stays in your system because you’re waiting to be able to use drugs again, it’s time to seek help for your addiction.

Overcome Opioids at Icarus Behavioral Health Today

Overcome Opioid Abuse at Icarus

Addiction is a stressful, debilitating disease that can make it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Opioid addiction is particularly dangerous due to the risks of overdose from high-concentration drugs like fentanyl, so getting help to treat an addiction is crucial to your health.

Icarus Behavioral Health can help you overcome your addiction. They provide medical detox assistance, medication-assisted treatment options that use Suboxone, and dual-diagnosis care that helps to get you clean safely while addressing any underlying causes for your addiction. By taking a comprehensive approach to your care, they’re able to better prepare you for sobriety so that you can maintain your healthy lifestyle.

You don’t need to ask “How long does suboxone stay in your system” – with Icarus’s help, you can stop worrying about drug half-lives and drug testing and instead focus on living a healthy, happy life.

Call today to learn more about how we can help treat opioid addiction.

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