Yes and no. Suboxone, which is used to treat opioid use disorder, will not show up on a routine drug panel, which is usually the panel ordered by employers for pre-employment screening. Suboxone will also not cause a false positive when a person is drug tested for opioids like heroin, fentanyl, or oxycodone.
However, there is a blood test for Suboxone that can be ordered in addition to a routine drug panel, which means the presence or absence of Suboxone can be detected in the blood.
For Suboxone to show up on a urine drug test, someone would have to order an extended drug screening that tests for either buprenorphine, its metabolites, or naloxone. Most employers do not order this extended drug screen.
However, if you are on Suboxone, the policies of each prescriber and clinic may differ. Some prescribers or clinics may require routine drug screening, which might include buprenorphine, while you are receiving a prescription in order to ensure you’re taking your Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT). Other clinics and prescribers may not.
Does Suboxone Show Up on Pre-Employment Drug Tests?
A five-panel drug test is the most common type used for pre-employment or ongoing employment drug tests.
Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) does not usually show up on this test.
A five-panel drug test detects drugs, such as: 
- Marijuana (THC)
Although buprenorphine, an ingredient in Suboxone, is a partial opioid agonist, it doesn’t show up on drug tests testing for opioids since it’s a different chemical and has different metabolites.
Although buprenorphine, an ingredient in Suboxone, is a partial opioid agonist, it doesn’t show up on routine drug tests testing for opioids since it’s a different chemical and has different metabolites.
Other Common Drug Tests
Besides five-panel drug tests, which don’t test for Suboxone or buprenorphine, other types of tests typically include:
- 7 panel: Tests for the presence of opioids, PCP, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, benzodiazepines and barbiturates.
- 10 panel: Tests for the presence of amphetamines, PCP, opioids, cocaine, THC, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone (Quaaludes) and propoxyphene.
- 12 panel: Tests for the presence of amphetamines, PCP, opioids, cocaine, THC, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone (Quaaludes), propoxyphene, ecstasy (MDMA) and oxycodone.
Despite these panels testing for opioids, Suboxone and buprenorphine will not show up and won’t cause false positives. Moreover, most routine tests only detect these drugs for up to a few days, except for PCP, phenobarbital, benzodiazepines, and cannabis.
Does the Intake Method Matter?
Regardless of whether you take Suboxone film strips or tablets, it will not show up on a standard drug test. The method of intake does not matter.
However, if a specific buprenorphine test is ordered, it will likely show up regardless of the method in which it was ingested, as the metabolites will still be in the bloodstream.
Should You Let Your Employer Know You’re Taking Suboxone Before a Test?
It’s generally a good idea to let an employer or prospective employer know you’re taking Suboxone before a drug test. Since employers don’t often disclose the drugs they are looking for on tests, it’s possible that they could use an expanded drug test that looks for buprenorphine or its metabolites.
Employers are not allowed to discriminate against patients who are on Suboxone therapy that is prescribed by a licensed provider. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) explicitly protects people with substance use disorders who are not actively misusing substances from workplace discrimination.
If you are concerned about your employer checking for Suboxone and using the test results against you, you can get an official letter from your Suboxone provider, verifying that you have a prescription for Suboxone.
Bicycle Health providers can give you an official letter explaining this. This helps to reinforce the legal protections you have against employment discrimination.
Suboxone Drug Test FAQs
No, Suboxone will not show up on a 10-panel drug test. This drug test detects opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP, marijuana (THC), benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, and methaqualone (Quaaludes). Suboxone does not show up as methadone or other opioids.
No, Suboxone will not show up on a 12-panel drug test. While this test is designed to test for opioids in more depth, Suboxone will not show up as any other opioid.
A 12-panel drug test detects oxycodone, other opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP, marijuana (THC), benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, methaqualone (Quaaludes), and ecstasy (MDMA).
Federal employers do not test for Suboxone or buprenorphine. Private employers can test for anything they want. If you are taking Suboxone, you can provide your employer with proof of your valid prescription.
Suboxone doesn’t show up as anything on most routine drug tests—they simply do not detect Suboxone’s main ingredients–buprenorphine and naloxone–nor their metabolites.
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD
Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More
- Does Suboxone Show Up on a Drug Test? Drugs.com. https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/suboxone-show-drug-test-3535355/. March 2022. Accessed April 2022.
- The 5 Panel Drug Test. Quest Diagnostics. https://blog.employersolutions.com/what-is-a-5-panel-drug-test/. March 2022. Accessed April 2022.
- The ADA, Addiction, Recovery, and Employment. ADA National Network. https://adata.org/factsheet/ada-addiction-recovery-and-employment. 2020. Accessed April 2022.
- Fact Sheet: Disability Discrimination. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/fact-sheet-disability-discrimination. Accessed April 2022.