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How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Sep 18, 2023 • 5 cited sources

Suboxone is detectable in your body for up to 90 days. You will likely not feel the impact of the drug for this long. Suboxone’s active ingredients wear off within about 24 hours, but remnants will appear in drug tests. 

The time Suboxone stays in your system can vary. Your health, age, genetics and more can impact how quickly drugs move out of your body.

how long is suboxone detectable in your system

How Long Suboxone Lasts in the Body 

You’ll feel the effects of a Suboxone dose for about 24 hours. That’s why most people take the medication just once per day. But your body needs time to process the ingredients. Your medication may appear in some types of drug tests for up to 90 days.

Suboxone is a prescription medication designed to help people overcome an addiction to opioids. Three million Americans have opioid use disorder (OUD).[1] Medications like Suboxone correct chemical imbalances caused by drugs and support long-term sobriety. 

Unlike other OUD medications (like methadone), Suboxone can be used at home. Suboxone also lasts in the body longer than methadone, which makes daily dosing convenient. 

Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone. A typical maintenance dose is 16 mg buprenorphine/4 mg of naloxone, used once per day.[2] 

Buprenorphine is a Schedule III controlled substance. Most employers don’t include buprenorphine in routine drug tests. But if you’re concerned, tell the testing company about your medication and offer proof of your prescription. If your medication shows on a drug panel, your prescription will explain its presence. 

How Long Buprenorphine Is Detectable by Test Type 

Test TypeDetection Duration 
Urine6 days 
Blood 1-3 days
Saliva 3 days 
Hair 90 days 

Understanding How the Body Metabolizes Suboxone 

Suboxone contains two ingredients. You take just one dose, but your body has two elements to process. One moves out quicker than the other. 

The two ingredients in Suboxone include the following:

  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine works by binding to opioid receptors, which reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms without inducing a euphoric high.
  • Naloxone: Naloxone is not a controlled substance. It is not active at normal Suboxone doses. But take too much or try to inject your drug, and naloxone will activate and block your high. 

Half-Life and Suboxone Metabolism

To understand how a drug leaves your body, you must learn about a drug’s half-life. This term refers to the time it takes for the

body to process and remove half of the substance. 

A half-life doesn’t vary by how much you take or how long you’ve taken it. The timeframe is always the same. Drugs tend to fall into the following two categories:

  • Short half-lives: These medications have a rapid onset of effects and as such, last a relatively short period of time.
  • Long half-lives: The effects of these se medications come on slowly and taper off gradually.

Each ingredient in Suboxone has a different half-life:[2]

  • Buprenorphine: This drug has a long half-life of 24 to 42 hours, making it a long-acting drug. 
  • Naloxone: This drug has a short half-life of 2 to 12 hours, making it a fast-acting drug. 

A very addictive and dangerous drug like heroin has a short half-life with a rapid onset of effects and intense high. Buprenorphine’s ability to last makes it an effective medication for people looking for a smooth path to sobriety. 

How Long Does It Take for Suboxone to Start Working?

Suboxone will start working within minutes. Most people feel the impact of a dose within 20 to 45 minutes.[3]

Since the buprenorphine in Suboxone is a long-acting drug, you’ll feel the effects of the dose for about 24 hours.

If you completely stop taking Suboxone, there will be no trace of this medication — except in your hair — after three to six days. Naloxone will completely metabolize out of the body well before buprenorphine does.

The length Suboxone stays in your system doesn’t change by duration. In other words, you can’t store up doses in your tissues to prepare to quit. Healthy bodies metabolize the drug the same way, no matter how long they’ve used it. 

Talk to your doctor about Suboxone if you have more questions about how quickly it will work and how long it will last. 

Factors Affecting How Long Suboxone Stays in Your System 

People metabolize different drugs at different rates, and Suboxone is no exception. These factors influence Suboxone metabolization:

  • Your liver: Your liver processes key Suboxone ingredients, including both buprenorphine and naloxone. If you have significant liver problems, your doses will stay in your body longer.[4] You may also develop symptoms like yellowing skin or abdominal pain, as the buprenorphine in your medication could cause even more damage.
  • Your age: Young people tend to metabolize drugs more quickly than older people do. 
  • Your genetics: Some people naturally process drugs faster than others. If you’re one of them, you’ll clear Suboxone quicker. 
  • Your body composition: Tall people with a lot of muscle tend to metabolize drugs faster than short people with a lot of body fat.

If you have questions about who is a good fit for Suboxone, reach out to your doctor.

Quick Answer

More than 100 million Americans have some form of liver disease. If you’re one of them, your Suboxone could last longer. And your doses could cause more damage. Ask your doctor for more information. Sources[2][5]

Frequently Asked Questions 

We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about how long Suboxone stays in your system.

How long does it take for Suboxone to work in your body?

Most people feel the impact of a Suboxone dose within 20 to 45 minutes.

Is Suboxone still in your system if you swallow it?

Yes. While Suboxone works best when doses dissolve in your mouth, a swallowed dose is still active. Some of the drug will still enter your system.

What can make you test positive for Suboxone?

Using the drug in any way can make you test positive. Some companies set very low detection limits, so even a tiny dose could be enough to cause a positive result.

How can I clear Suboxone from my system?

There’s no effective way to make Suboxone leave your body quickly. Your organs need time to process your doses.

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

  1. Azadfard M, Huecker MR, Leaming JM. Opioid addiction. StatPearls. Published April 29, 2023. Accessed June 27, 2023.
  2. Suboxone prescribing information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published March 2023. Accessed June 27, 2023. 
  3. Starting Suboxone. British Columbia Centre on Substance Use. Accessed June 27, 2023.
  4. Buprenorphine. Liver Tox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury. Published November 24, 2020. Accessed June 27, 2023.
  5. How many people have liver disease? American Liver Foundation. Published August 5, 2022. Accessed June 27, 2023.
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