Suboxone is a medication used to treat addiction and has been specially formulated to treat opioid dependence. Although some people may abuse Suboxone and want to ask the question: “Does Suboxone make you high?”, most people take Suboxone as prescribed to reduce cravings for other drugs. So if you are taking Suboxone, can it show up on a drug test? And how long will Suboxone stay in your body? We review here.
How do you take Suboxone?
The active ingredients in Suboxone are buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone is mainly administered as a sublingual medication in either film or tablet form which dissolves under the tongue, although many people favor the film for its taste. Suboxone is meant to be taken as a single daily dose. The recommended daily dose for Suboxone maintenance is 16/4 mg (ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone), although dosage can be progressively increased to a level that supports treatment and suppresses opioid withdrawal signs and symptoms (see a comparison of Suboxone withdrawal-Vicodin withdrawal here). Maximum recommended daily dosage of Suboxone is 24/6 mg.
Peak levels and half life of Suboxone
The half life of any drug, medication or substance is the period of time necessary for half the drug to be eliminated or disintegrated by natural processes in the body. Because Suboxone contains two active ingredients, the half lives for buprenorphine and naloxone are different and should be considered separate chemicals.
Peak levels of buprenorhpine – During clinical trials,the onset of buprenorphine effects appear quite rapidly, with most doses nearing peak effect after 90-100 minutes.
Half life of buprenorphine and naloxone – Based on studies performed with Suboxone, buprenorphine has an average half life from 24 – 60 hours and naloxone half life ranges from 2 – 12 hours. The relatively long half life of buprenorphine has been designed to help treat and manage opiate withdrawal symptoms, by maintaining opioid partial agonist levels in the brain.
Suboxone drug testing: How long does Suboxone stay in the body?
Drug testing is frequently a mandatory part of Suboxone maintenance treatment, or could be ordered by your school or work. Most drug tests during Suboxone treatment are looking for other drugs of use. However, in general, detection of a drug depends on BOTH usage factors and characteristics of the specific drug.
- frequency of use
- time since last use
Currently, no precise test is commercially sold to measure the buprenorphine levels in Suboxone, although buprenorphine can be detected in urine, blood, or hair by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in urine. Specific urine based tests are ordered for Suboxone testing and include cloned enzyme donor immunoassay (CEDIA) or liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) tests. In addition, oral fluid can also be used to monitor the use of this opioid.
After a single dose of buprenorphine in healthy adults, the average detection time for buprenorphine was 9 hours with CEDIA and 76 hours with LC-MS-MS for buprenorphine. That means that buprenorphine can be detected in your urine for up to 3 days after one single dose…and possibly days later if you are using buprenorphine in high doses over time.
Problems with Suboxone?
As with all drugs of abuse, the likelihood that you can become addicted to Suboxone is related to how you take it and how fast you experience desired results. If you are smoking, injecting or snorting Suboxone, you are using a faster route of drug administration and are more likely to become addicted to it. Also, if you are using Suboxone without a prescription or have not been previously addicted to opiates, the risk of addiction increases.
If you think that you have a problem with Suboxone, you probably do. But help is available. Please write us here with your questions or comments or need for help. We will respond!
Reference sources: Buprenorphine: A Guide for Nurses SAMHSA Technical Assistance Publication (TAP) Series 30
Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction TIP 40
Suboxone [dot] com
Urinary detection times and metabolite/parent compound ratios after a single dose of buprenorphine
Daily Med drug info for buprenorphine
Drug testing in oral fluid