Thursday July 31st 2014

How long does Suboxone stay in your system?

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.

  • dose
  • 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

 

 

Photo credit: myfuture[dot]com

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28 Responses to “How long does Suboxone stay in your system?
james renfro
1:32 am September 20th, 2011

how do i get off of suboxen???i cant afford to go to a suboxen clinic??

Donald Hanold
5:16 pm February 2nd, 2012

I am due for a hand surgery in a week but am on suboxone daily for chronic knee pain. How will suboxone effect the meds I am given for pain due to the surgery? Will I get any relief with their pain meds while on a daily suboxone routine?

Valerie Barr
5:18 am April 9th, 2012

I feel like im a slave to Suboxone just like I was to Methadone and its all a hoax for the Powers that be to make more money off of opiate addicted folks seeking abstinance.
While I have found Suboxone to be more of a recovery tool, I fear that Im stuck on this just like everything else I’ve been stuck on most of my adult life.
I now participate in NA and do not abuse anything anymore, but I’m frighted to walk away from the Suboxone because of all my previous experiences trying to get clean……most especially from Methadone. What a vicious cycle! I was advised to wean off of Methadone with Subutex and Suboxone and now I cannot get away from this!. What is the ANSWER? There must be SOMETHING out there tried & true to aid in the detox…I cannot afford a treatment center.

Manny Barz
4:31 pm May 16th, 2012

You would be a fool to take any pain meds while on suboxone. If the suboxone takes care of your ailing knee it will do the same for your upcoming hand surgery. Suboxone is nothing like methadone in my opinion. It is alot easier to taper off and in smaller mg doses than the “dones” Methadone is worse than pills or “H” imo. Try to space out your sub intake to days and not hours. You can get down to a couple mg every couple days and from there it is a piece of cake. Take it from a hardcore 20 odd year junkie,subs are the best thing out there for recovery. They also are a class A pain med..just without the high. Subs can get you off the dope,it’s up to you if you stay off. Be strong..moderation and a little time and u will be good. GET COUNSELING

Manny Barz
4:37 pm May 16th, 2012

thought it was funny how the article states that if you use suboxone without a prescription your risk of addiction increases..it’s usually the other way around. Either way you risk addiction by injesting anything that can cause your body physical addiction. Example–opiates or buprenorphine

Misty
7:21 am December 7th, 2012

Everyone is different, but I will tell my experience with Suboxone. I have used opiates for 5 years now (30”s for the first 3 yrs, Sub. for the next 2 yrs.) I got prescribed 16 mgs. of Suboxone, but I only took between 2 to 4 mgs. a day depending. When I stopped I had only been taking 1 mg. for about 2 months. I started withdrawals the day I woke up without suboxone. The w/d’s weren’t as intense as coming off of 6 30mg roxi’s a day but they were the same but instead of being over by the 10th day, sub. w/d keeps going and going and going. I am currently 24 days clean from opiates. I have days where I feel like I’m back in day 4 of w/d’s, then I have days where I feel fine. But the anxiety, depression, increased heart rate persist every day. I’ve done research and with long-acting opioid antagonist you could experience PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). Basically the w/d’s persist for months but the bad days, bad hours, get shorter and shorter. Meanwhile your brain is getting back to homeostasis. The longer you use without stopping is a huge factor in the length of your w/d’s. I will say the first ten to twelve days were the hardest physically but the better you feel physically the worse you feel mentally. I have no desire to return to using opiates, especially not suboxone. I am just ready to stop feeling so bad. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Robyn Quinn
8:21 pm January 8th, 2013

I have been on subs/film/subutex prescription for 5, going on 6 years now. I’m addicted to bupe. I don’t know how to stop. Everyone keeps saying to lower the dose, which I have, but it isn’t enough. I am never taking any more than 1 a day. My problem is I think that it takes too long to kick in, and so I end up taking another small piece, so within 3 hours I’m high as a kite but my heart races and I feel disgusting. I know that no matter if I take 2 mg or 4 mg either way, in 3 hours, I’m going to feel something and when I take 4 it’s too much to handle. I’m going to try something different, and when I get up, I will take an even smaller piece – 1 mg maybe? The computer says it takes only 90 mins to peak…NOT FOR ME! If anyone has any other advice for me, please help! When I begin to get sick my back hurts bad, I yawn nonstop, and I can’t sleep. What a paradox. I wish I had 10 grand to go to Cali and go under to get it all cleansed out of my system for good.

3:22 pm January 9th, 2013

Hi Robyn. I had a thought. If you are ready to stop Suboxone for good, you can find a detox clinic in your area to help. Call 1-800-662-HELP for more information. What does your doctor say about your use?

RICKY
6:28 am March 8th, 2013

if a person takes one 8mg/2mg suboxone will it show up on drug test if the test was taken 16 hours before the test was taken

Curious
4:43 am April 12th, 2013

Well I have been on subs for about 3 yrs and have been tapering off and have had the strangest and most painful headaches I would not wish them on my worst enemy stabbing pain in my eyes and temples I hate it but I just took a drug test yest SURPRISE for a new job and guess what it showed up I thought they did not test for BUP but this test was very high tech pardon my english but I was in shock bc I was so embarrassed and so upset first job offer ice had in 2 yrs and finally I get one and this happens anyways they said they would give me another chance but I told them I had taken a diet pill and that’s what made it they had poppy seeds in them they believed me but they want me to get tested again randomly which I’m sure will be ASAP but I heard and read it takes days to get out of your system and I take atleast 4 mg a day just need some advice I don’t want to take a test and fail again and be mortified and get fired I am thinking of just saying I got another job offer…….advice please thanku

j smith
10:59 pm May 2nd, 2013

God bless you all for your care and concern.

Robyn
5:25 pm May 7th, 2013

I’m addicted to suboxone film and have been on it for over 6 years.I’m prescribed suboxone but I have tried to tell me doctor I want to go to detox and they have requested that my doctor fax them a letter saying I can go. I’ve been asking my doctor and he ignores me as if he wants me to stay on suboxone longer to make money off of me. What do I do? If I can get a letter to go next time, detox only does what I could do myself but am not successful with. They lower your dose by a half or 1 mg everyday and on the 5th day you go home and are at a ‘no dose’ level. However, suboxone is still in your system at that point and if I go home, I’ll be sick and probably take subs yet again. They don’t send you home with the same meds they give you in detox (at least that’s what I’m told) so how do they expect me to stay off of this stuff? I’ve tried many times to take myself off and could never do it. I’m desperate, I’m not healthy because of it, I have serious edema because of suboxone, and I hate the way it makes me feel. Drowsy, headaches, morning hangover feelings. It’s horrible.

Mark
2:28 am August 27th, 2013

Yea, I remember the days of bupe withdrawal all to well. It took me 3 1/2 weeks, and I was in jail which makes it even funner. I ended up getting back on it after I got out of jail, but I found Kratom soon after that, which was a lifesaver. Yea, I’M still addicted to something but after weighing bupes vs kratom, kratom is a lot easier to manage and stop if need be. I haven’t had any side effects such a constipation, insomnia, etc from kratom either. Try it out, its a wonderful herb, and its 100% legal.

Raven
5:49 pm October 1st, 2013

Question: someone close to me seems to have a problem with suboxone when taken late in the day or evening. For example, she becomes VERY animated with speech….interrupts often…..has eating frenzies late at night ….procrastinates going to bed …. wakes within a couple of hours after FINALLY going to bed. Is exhausted the next day. This is affecting her life in many ways. I have suggested taking this drug earlier in the day but she fears getting “urges” if she does.
Please let me know if you have any thoughts of suggestions – they would be greatly appreciated.

1:11 pm October 2nd, 2013

Hello Raven. It sounds like you’re describing drug abuse to me. The compulsion to eat, the euphoria, the lack of control in controlled dosing. How was Suboxone prescribed to your friend? What are the amounts and the recommended times for taking it? And are you willing to have an open discussion about your concerns with your friend’s doctor?

Raven
12:59 am October 3rd, 2013

The dosage is 8 milligrams three times a day. It is currently being taken at one time only (24 mgs) … one dose per day. She had concerns that she would have to keep it constantly in mind to remember to take the next dose throughout the day. My impression is that she takes the full dose once and is done thinking about it for the rest of the day and doesn’t have to think about it any further.
She told me today that she is attempting to take earlier and earlier, in small increments of time, to hopefully avoid the above described “symptoms” which are most observable and very troublesome at night.
24 mgs sounds like kind of a high dose to me… but i’m just learning, so not sure.
Still need some help.
Thanks!

11:23 am October 3rd, 2013

Hi Raven. She’ll need to take it 3 times daily to really control the cravings. Otherwise, she’s trying to get high by taking ti all at once…but there is a ceiling effect for Suboxone.

steve
5:51 am February 1st, 2014

how long will it take for 12 mg of suboxone strip to come out of your system and not show up in a urine test

bob
2:37 pm February 2nd, 2014

I got hooked on bupe in jail id never heard of the stuff until my life spuralled and i ended up doing time.i originally used it cause someone said it would helo the chronic back pain and in general just make the days more bearable.i got parole and am doing better than i ever have in my life…..except this monkey.lve jumped through majir hoops ro get on the program.my docs giving me serupax style stuff in large amounts which dont really help.ive just gotta wait another week or two but guess whos got a urine for parole in 5 days?will seven days if constant flushing and sweating be enough time ti get the 8-10 mills aday i was smoking for the last six months out of me?.two more weeks thats all i needed.lol.every body pays what they owe hey?in this life or the next.stay strong people.

bob
1:53 pm February 4th, 2014

For steve.if it was once off and your fairly lean after flushing ie drinking lots of water to move it along with coffee in the moring as a duretic id be more than confident after five days of giving a cleany.if your real lean three days.thats if it was once off.im no docter nut i know more about it than any dicter,pharmisist or guessers on some of these sights.i know for dead cert fact anything under a mill can be flushed out in one day.i did it in jail enough times to know.its a shonky habit and if that was your first shot at it make it your last bro.its not worth it.trust me on that from my current predicament.such is life.stay strong people:)

amber
7:43 pm April 5th, 2014

I quit suboxon on April 1st, I started taking suboxon because I was addicted to pain killers. its been four years now and its time for me to stop. how long will my withdrawls last? its been five days and I cant take much more. is there anything I can take that will make this stop. I went cold turkey and I take three a day. the last dose I took was march 31 at 1130pm.

Mike Johnson
8:22 am April 28th, 2014

Amber, Ativan works wonders with regard to your particular situation. I am a PA (Physicians Assistant) with a specialty in neurology. I deal with this type of scenario on a weekly basis, if not more you should ask your PC Provider to write you x60 tablets1mg each to be taken twice daily. You can take both 1mg tabs before bed if you prefer however try and not take anymore than the 2mg daily dosage… You will start to feel better within 24 hours and will be able to ween down to just 1mg per day after 4 weeks. If you feel that you NEED to stay on Ativan your PC will likely write you .5 milligram does daily for around bedtime. I truly hope that this has been helpful to you and I would love to hear of your progress!!

Mike J

nancy
7:11 pm May 11th, 2014

I took3mg of subutex over a three day period. 1mg per day. I took last mg on sat. I haue a (lab) drug screen Tue. morning. do i have any chance that i can test negative? No prior use.

Robyn Quinn
8:46 pm May 12th, 2014

Donald you cannot take pain pills with Suboxone period. End of story.If you do you will go into automatic withdrawals – they are so bad that you won’t be able to work! Been there done that….awful experience.

Gus
10:07 pm June 1st, 2014

My best friend has been addicted to suboxone for years. His doctor doesn’t seem interested in weening him off despite his constant requests. In fact he even gets reprimanded when his urine test results show he has been taking less than the doctor ordered. I have had my own troubles with pills in the past but successfully weened off. Suboxone is a different monster evidently perhaps due to the half life and strong bond to the receptors. Either way, if he were to ween down which I advocate strongly given my own success, how much should be left in his system before he stops altogether.. Assuming it’s a very gradual and consistent tapper.

I have read 25% reduction every 4 days as an aggressive tapper. I believe he is doing about 6mg a day (maybe more). Would you endorse the aforementioned tapper model ? And if done properly, it would leave him taking .12 to .09mg or less after 2 months per day. I know it’s strong, but is that even a dosage that the body would even register ? Or should he stop dosage at say .3 to .5mg per day.

Lastly I have read skipping days toward the end is a method for tapering as well, but if you can skip a day, why not just stop. His withdraw symptoms are extreme and linger for months and months after cold turkey (he tried before and failed). Any suggestions on tapering as well as any tips for making withdraw more bearable ? I personally don’t know what the body experiences during this state but it ain’t pretty. I ask because expensive rehab is not affordable and he is paying out of pocket without insurance. Thank you for any suggestions.

Thanks,
Gus

ginni
6:26 pm June 12th, 2014

I have been taking maybe a drug1/4 mg of suboxen for a month now. How long will it take to be out of my system? I still feel withdrawal symptoms and haven’t taken any for four days…how long will that last?

Shelley Ball
11:20 pm June 17th, 2014

My husband accidentally took two last night ended up in the ER but now he has a drug test day after tomorrow wanting to know if it will be out of his system by then

steve
12:16 am July 4th, 2014

how long would a quarter of a suboxone stay in my system if i inject it?

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