Thursday October 23rd 2014

Does Suboxone show up on drug tests?

Yes and no.

The fact is that is that, yes, the active ingredients in Suboxone can be detected ( buprenorphine and naloxone), but only if tested for specifically. However, neither component will appear as an opiate on standard testing for opiates.

If you are enrolled in an opioid treatment program (OTP), your physician may order a comprehensive panel, for a variety of reasons. Why? More on why doctors test for Suboxone and testing standards for Suboxone here.

Suboxone in treatment

Suboxone, the buprenorphine – naloxone combination, has been shown to effectively treat opioid dependence or block the effects of illicit opioids without noticeable negative effects of naloxone.  Suboxone euphoria effect is debatable, but according to some researchers, because of its lower potential for abuse and strong safety panel, Suboxone is considered the first line medication option for beginning opioid dependence treatment. So why order a drug test for Suboxone?

Why order a test for Suboxone?

Tests are generally ordered to be Suboxone-specific in a clinical setting when there is a suspicion of non-dosing (clients may be selling their medication) or low absorption may interfere with effective treatment. Suspicion of benzodiazepine abuse, which has been attributed to at least one death when combined with Suboxone, is another possible reason. The 12 panel test is costly, and seldom is used outside a clinical setting.

What screens detect Suboxone?

The major active ingredient in Suboxone (buprenorphine) can be detected in urine, blood, or hair by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (CM/MS) and by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in urine. In a study done in 1994, researchers used the enzyme-linked multiedimmunoassay technique after administering naloxone, and again, although the metabolites of naloxone are similar in structure to oxymorphone and are excreted in the urine for several days, naloxone was not associated with a positive for opiates.

How long can Suboxone be detected?

Suboxone appears in a comprehensive drug screen as buprenorphine within 2 to 5 hours. How long Suboxone stays in your system varies.  But Suboxone is usually not detectable 2-3 days after administration, dose dependent. In some cases however, buprenorphine has been detected up to 4 days after ingestion, due to a long half-life (24-60 hours) and slow onset.

What is the cut-off level for Suboxone?

What is the cut-off level for Suboxone to be considered present?  Present testing techniques are less than precise, but the detection level is currently 10ng/ml.

Suboxone use and potential for abuse

In treatment of opioid addiction, Suboxone is currently the first medication prescribed. Suboxone can come with a potential for abuse, but this is relatively low. Suboxone abuse occurs most among individuals without previous opioid addiction. If Suboxone is taken in ways other than prescribed (swallowed, chewed, or snorted), the user may feel a stronger euphoric effect, increasing abuse potential. But due to the opioid antagonist properties of the combination in Suboxone, the potential for abuse by injection remains low. If injected, Suboxone creates withdrawal due mainly to the naloxone ingredient.

Questions about Suboxone use

If any of you had a problem with narcotic addiction, and are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, this medication may be part of a successful treatment plan for you. Please leave your comments or questions below. All comments are anonymous and your privacy is respected.

References sources: NIDA Monograph Series: What Bupremorphine is and Why It’s Important Annals of Emergency Medicine: Does naloxone cause a positive drug screen? MD Alan B. Sorrow, PHD, MT,DABCC Frank H. Wians, Jr, MS,MT, Stephen L.Mickelsen, BA, MT John Norton. May 6, 1994. Abstract.
SAMHSA/CSAT TIP Treatment Improvement Protocols: Chapter 9, “Drug Testing as a Tool”

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12 Responses to “Does Suboxone show up on drug tests?
JT Palmer
5:08 am February 19th, 2012

For anyone struggling with being able to afford suboxone, check out this program: http://www.medsavercard.com/suboxone-coupons-discounts/

Melinda
4:00 am June 23rd, 2012

If I swallow a weeks worth of subs, like swallow them at the time they should be melting in my mouth, will it show up on my urine test?

1:58 am June 26th, 2012

Hello Melinda. I’m confused by your question. Can you please restate it?

Nik
8:47 am February 18th, 2013

Hey, I take mg of suboxone a day, and on Saturday (5 days away) I will go to a site and get testd for drugs. First of all, will the test be positive? And secondly if I stop taking suboxone from now until than, will it show positive still to opiates? thanks

Nik
8:48 am February 18th, 2013

I meant 2 mg sorry.

1:28 pm February 18th, 2013

Hi Nik. Buprenorphine can be detected in urine, blood, or hair by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). However, currently no commercially available tests exist for buprenorphine (enzyme immunoassays). So, you should test NEGATIVE for abuse of opiates if you are taking Suboxone. In the case that buprenorphine is detected, present your prescription to the Medical Review Officer. That should change the test to a NEGATIVE for abuse.

biff
4:09 am March 23rd, 2013

i take subutex but mine came missing somone gave me a suboxone so id pass my test since suboxone contains naloxone will my test show for it since subutex dont contain naloxone

Christina
12:12 am May 1st, 2013

Hello. I have been on Suboxone for about 4 months now. My current dosage is 8mg, 3X daily. I do split them up about every six hours.I do not take them all at one time. My question is do you know on the drug screens between what range my buprenorphine level should fall into? I drug screen for family court and my worker is saying that my levels are not steady that they range all the way from 20ng/ml to 160ng/ml. Could you also let me know of all the different things that could affect my levels, such as one’s weight, how well the strip was absorbed, or kidney functioning, creatine level or amount of liquid drank prior to testing??? I even got a dilute yesterday, and had only drank 2 of the 20 oz. waters. I take them whenever I feel like I need one during the day. One strip about every six hours, sometimes even different, but 3 strips per day. I need some numbers to tell me what the lowest could be, and up to the highest for my dosage. Please Help!!!

Rose
3:43 pm December 22nd, 2013

I have a friend that took less then a mg. of suboxone on a Wed @ 8 am and on Friday @ 3 pm my friend had to take a urine drug test at the doctor office. I think my friend may have took 2 mg. in a month. I don’t know if that’s bad but my friend had been very worried I just want to help.

elaine belanger
10:12 pm March 17th, 2014

a friend is going to a pain managment for neuropathy and he is told 6 months after several appoinment that his first two test showed positive for suboxone and I know he does not take it. Are there any medicines together that would show a false positive or due to the lack of chain of custody in this office urines could have been mixed up.?

Jonathan
9:23 pm August 13th, 2014

Will I fail an oral drug test for a new job if I’ve been taking subs daily for about 2 yrs, mayb about 2mg a day subligualy?

jim
11:51 pm September 11th, 2014

I have been taking suboxone 8mg/2mg for two weeks and now will have to take a drug test due to a new company taking over.I did this cause I’m prescribed pain meds legally but they won’t allow it so I tried to hide it.Their test is a 10 panel. Basic test. Will the suboxone be checked for. I take 1 a day.

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