How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

Suboxone half-life

How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

Table of Contents

What is Suboxone?

Before we get to how long Suboxone stays in your system and the Suboxone half-life, we first should answer the question, “what is Suboxone?” Suboxone is the brand name for buprenorphine/naloxone. It is a combination drug that is used alongside therapy to treat substance use disorders.1

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It helps lower the impact of withdrawal symptoms during detox. Naloxone is also an opioid antagonist. If someone were to inject naloxone, they will have severe withdrawal symptoms.1

What does it Treat?

Suboxone is used to treat people who are struggling with heroin use disorder or opioid use disorder. It is used alongside cognitive-behavior therapy to help people recover from substance use disorder.

Suboxone vs. Methadone

Methadone and Suboxone are used to help with detox, but the way they are used is very different. For example, methadone can only be used if someone is going through a certified opioid treatment program.2 However, a patient can get a prescription of Suboxone to take at home. Both of them are opioids, but methadone has a higher chance of misuse.

Suboxone vs. Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine, better known as Subutex, only contains one chemical. Suboxone is a combination of both buprenorphine and naloxone. Subutex came first, but people still struggled with opioid use disorder, simply transferring to the new opioid. Suboxone was created to lower the risk of misuse by adding naloxone, which causes extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if injected or misused.

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Just like any opioid, Suboxone has a chance of leading to addiction. However, it does not give off as much euphoria as other opioids. The drug was designed to prevent abuse while helping people taper off their struggles with opioid use disorder. There is a ceiling where the drug no longer heightens effects because of the naloxone in it. If anything, the drug causes more issues with uncomfortable effects.3

Statistics on Suboxone Use

Statistics show that Suboxone is very effective when used long-term in helping people recover from substance use disorder. However, there is some proof that people are more likely to relapse when tapered off the drug than other ones.4

The drug is very effective when it comes to treatment when given in high doses. However, some treatment centers only prescribe small doses of the substance, which can lead to it being ineffective.4

How is Suboxone Metabolized?

Suboxone is metabolized through the liver. Because of this metabolization, norbuprenorphine, otherwise known as buprenorphine metabolites, are released. Norbuprenorphine has a longer half-life than Suboxone itself, leaving traces in your system long after the Suboxone is gone.

Suboxone Half-Life

Suboxone’s half-life lasts around 24-48 hours. Therefore, it takes over a week for the drug to no longer be in someone’s system. Norbuprenorphine’s half-life is around 150 hours, meaning that Suboxone can still be found inside of urine or blood for fourteen days after taking it.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

Several factors affect Suboxone detection time.

  • Body fat content: Body fat content can negatively impact your metabolism rate. A higher muscle mass correlates with a higher metabolism.
  • Weight and height: If a person weighs more or is tall, they are more likely to have a higher basal metabolic rate and will likely break down the Suboxone quicker.
  • Age: Metabolism speed goes down as you age. Therefore, someone who is older will process Suboxone slower than someone younger.5
  • Metabolism speed: People naturally have varying speeds of metabolism. Someone who has a high metabolism will break it down quicker.
  • Size of a dose: If someone took a higher dosage of Suboxone, then it will take a longer time for your liver to break it down and it might stay in your system longer.5
  • Abuse timeline: The longer that someone abuses a drug, the more likely it will stay in their system for an extended period due to build-up over time.
  • Liver health: When someone has liver issues, it can have a significant effect on not only metabolism but on how toxins and other things are broken down inside of a body. If someone has a healthy liver, they are more likely to break down Suboxone than someone with an unhealthy liver.5

Suboxone Detection Test

There are several ways that someone can detect Suboxone in someone’s system. It will not show up as an opioid or cause a false positive. The only time it will show up is if a test is testing specifically for buprenorphine, norbuprenorphine, and naloxone.


During a urine Suboxone detection test, they will analyze your urine to see if there are signs of buprenorphine or norbuprenorphine. This test works but has the shortest timeline because it is based on how quickly the body metabolizes and releases Suboxone.6


A hair detection test normally is a little less accurate, but it can detect substances inside of someone’s system for up to 90 days. An employer might use this alongside a urine test to find both short-term and long-term use.7


A blood Suboxone detection test will test for traces of norbuprenorphine and buprenorphine inside of your bloodstream. Normally, the doctor will take a sample of your blood and send it to be tested inside of a lab.


During this test, a doctor will normally use a swab to get a sample of your saliva. It can take between 2-3 days, and this test is very rapid and accurate.8

Treatment for Suboxone Addiction

There are some signs of Suboxone misuse, which show there might be an addiction. They are as follows:

If you or a loved one are struggling with Suboxone use disorder, seek medical attention from a facility.


During detox, a doctor might use methadone as a replacement to help with moving someone off Suboxone. This switch would help with Suboxone side effects. Since Suboxone is used for medication-assisted treatment, it would be best to go to more of a therapy-only method.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most popular methods to help people struggling with opioid use disorder. During CBT, the patient will work with the therapist to learn how to change their behaviors and find healthier coping mechanisms.

In conclusion, if you or someone you love is struggling with opioid use disorder or Suboxone use disorder, please seek out a physician right away. They will be able to help you take the next steps in your path to recovery.



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