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Buprenorphine (Suboxone®): How Long Does It Stay in Your System?

One of the key concerns of those who are opposed to using medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to combat the opioid epidemic is the belief that it is trading one addiction for another.

While this is completely false, even if it were true, the new “addiction” would be a much safer alternative to an opioid addiction with no medical supervision.

MAT using buprenorphine (Suboxone®) is a safe and effective method for treating opioid addiction. However, it is very new, and with that come plenty of questions.

How long does it take to clear buprenorphine (Suboxone®) from my system?

This is one of the most common questions asked. Let’s dive into it with the rest of this blog post.

What Is Buprenorphine (Suboxone®)?

First, buprenorphine (Suboxone®) may be something entirely new for you to be considering, so let’s talk about what exactly it is.

Many people are familiar with methadone as it has been around for many decades at this point. Similar to methadone, buprenorphine (Suboxone®) is a medication used in MAT, and it helps a patient avoid the worst of withdrawal symptoms during detox from opioids.

Though still an opioid, buprenorphine (Suboxone®) does not create an intense high. This is because of the existence of naloxone in the drug, which erases the effects of opioids. The buprenorphine offers the opioid to the body to maintain a level of peace while the naloxone blocks the ability to achieve the high other opioids give.

For someone that already has an addiction to opioids, buprenorphine (Suboxone®) will not cause an addiction because of the lack of a high produced due to the significant tolerance they’ve already built.

If someone tries to consume buprenorphine (Suboxone®) without a prior addiction or tolerance to opioids, there is an increased chance for addiction.

How Quickly Does Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Work?

So, how does buprenorphine (Suboxone®) work? Depending on many factors, buprenorphine works by activating opioid receptors in the brain at a different point for everyone. By working on opioid receptors, this medication blocks withdrawal symptoms that would typically be felt.

The amount of time it takes to begin feeling the effects of buprenorphine (Suboxone®) varies depending on your body’s individual factors, such as body mass index (BMI), length of prescription, and more.

Buprenorphine reaches peak blood concentration levels about 40 minutes to 3.5 hours after a dose. The effects will last for upward of three days.

How Long Does Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Stay in Your System?

First, let’s dive into what “leaving your system” means and how it happens.

The half-life of buprenorphine is long. It typically takes 24-48 hours for it to reach half of its initial value in your body. It usually takes four to five half-lives to clear any drug from your body.

This means it should take about 96-240 hours, or four to 10 days, for buprenorphine to fully leave your body. At the same time, naloxone has a half-life of just two to 12 hours and can leave the body much sooner.

These drugs are broken down by the body in your liver and kidneys, then released through bile and urine. The process of breaking down buprenorphine comes down to a long list of factors. They include:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • BMI
  • Length of prescription
  • Age
  • General health
  • Liver health
    • The presence of liver disease from opioid or alcohol misuse can slow the process of breaking down buprenorphine.

When Can I Pass a Drug Test?

Unlike most other opioids, buprenorphine has a different metabolite (small molecules that result from metabolism) called norbuprenorphine. In most cases, even today, this is not something that is screened for in typical workplace drug tests.

That said, it is still possible to have a test that screens for it. For that reason, it is always important to tell the administrator of the test that you have a prescription for Suboxone®. This clears all confusion and questions when the results come back.

Before getting started with dates or lengths of time, please be aware that everything explained here should be taken as simple guidance and not definitive answers to your questions. The length of time can vary greatly from person to person depending on the factors explained throughout this blog.

Most workplaces, and drug tests overall, are done with urine testing. Buprenorphine can be detected in urine for as many as six days after the last use.

While urine testing is most common, there may be instances where you come across blood, saliva, or even a hair follicle screening.

Blood tests are less common because of the higher costs and the invasive nature of the test. In blood, buprenorphine has a much shorter detection window — typically at most two days.

Saliva tests are easier to administer than blood or urine tests, so they can be administered more frequently. It can be expected for a saliva test to detect buprenorphine for three or more days after the last dose.

Hair follicle tests are very uncommon but are also the best way to detect the presence of any drug — and this includes buprenorphine. It can detect the remnants of the substance for as many as three months after the last dose. For someone that has been prescribed Suboxone® for many months, it can be detected even longer.

Learn More About Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) Treatment

ReVIDA Recovery® exists to help those in Tennessee and Virginia with changing their path and reaching a happier and healthier life.

We do this by building upon the trust of our patients. From the moment you make your first contact with us, we begin the process of trying to help you understand that your well-being is our number one priority — because it is.

In the United States, more than three million people currently have an opioid use disorder. You’re not alone in this fight.

If you’d like to learn more about opioid use disorder treatment with the help of buprenorphine (Suboxone®), give us a call at (844) 972-4673.


How long does buprenorphine stay in a person’s system?

This comes down to a number of factors that include height, weight, length of prescription, age, liver health, and general health.

How long does it take for 1 mg of buprenorphine (Suboxone®) to get out of your system?

Buprenorphine (Suboxone®) typically has a half-life of 24-48 hours. It can take up to two weeks to fully remove it from your body, however, depending on a number of factors.

How long does it take for Sublocade to get out of your system?

Sublocade injections have a half-life of six to eight weeks. It typically takes four to five half-lives for a substance to fully leave your body, so it could take as long as 40 weeks.