How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

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Suboxone is detectable in your body for up to 90 days.

how long is suboxone detectable in your system

Suboxone contains buprenorphine, a long-acting partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist. When taken as prescribed sublingually, Naloxone is not absorbed. Buprenorphine is the active ingredient that prevents opioid cravings. Buprenorphine has various metabolites that remain detectable in the blood and saliva for about 3 days, urine for about 6 days, and hair for up to 90 days.

Suboxone Combines Very Different Medicines

Suboxone is a Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) that helps people with opioid use disorder (OUD). In the short term, it alleviates uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. When taken long term, it reduces craving and helps people stay abstinent from opioids. It also helps people feel physically and emotionally stable, so they can focus on rehabilitation and counseling.[1]

People who take Suboxone usually take a dose between 2 and 16 mg per day, once daily. However, depending on your needs, you may take two or three smaller doses per day. 

Buprenorphine’s half-life is 25 to 72 hours. Different parts of your body will eliminate Suboxone’s components at different rates. As per the chart above, buprenorphine is detectable for a shorter period of time in the blood and urine, but can be detectable for much longer in hair. 

Buprenorphine: Long-Acting Partial Opioid Agonist

Peak effects from buprenorphine typically occur between 1 to 24 hours after you’ve taken the sublingual dose. [2] The drug’s mean half-life is listed as about 30 hours, but if you metabolize it more slowly, the half-life can be as long as 72 hours (3 days).

  • Blood: Buprenorphine is detectable in your blood between 1 and 3 days (24 to 72 hours), with 2 days (48 hours) being the average time.

  • Saliva: Buprenorphine can be detected in your saliva for up to 3 days.[3]

  • Urine: In urine, metabolites can be detected for somewhere between 3 to 6 days.

  • Hair: Buprenorphine can remain detectable in your hair for up to 90 days (3 months). [4] 

Naloxone: Fast-Acting Opioid Antagonist

While buprenorphine can still be quite active in the system days after it’s taken, naloxone’s half-life is between 2 and 12 hours.

By itself, naloxone is used to temporarily stop opioid overdoses. When added to Suboxone, it prevents buprenorphine from becoming bioavailable if Suboxone is tampered with, or taken through a route that is not appropriate, for example if someone injects it or snorts it. It is active in the body for between 30 and 90 minutes.

When naloxone by itself is taken, about 40 percent is metabolized out of the body in about 6 hours.[5] Within three days (72 hours), all naloxone metabolites will have been excreted from the body, except for the hair. Naloxone is not an opioid and so it is not usually tested for on a drug screen. 

Suboxone Supports Recovery by Staying Active in the Body for Hours to days

If you completely stop taking Suboxone, there will be no trace of this medication, except in your hair, after 3 to 6 days. Naloxone will completely metabolize out of the body well before buprenorphine does, and is not usually tested for on a drug screen. 

If you take a drug test with a current or potential employer, they do not usually test for Suboxone as part of a routine drug panel. However, if they do, you should inform them that you take Suboxone under the guidance of a doctor, to treat a medical issue. If necessary your doctor can provide documentation of this. 

Suboxone Metabolism & Half Life 

A drug's half-life refers to the time it takes for an average body to process and remove half of the substance.[6] A half-life doesn't vary by how much you take or how long you've taken it. The timeframe is always the same.

  • Short half-lives: These medications enter your body quickly and leave at the same speed. They tend to cause big changes and intense withdrawal symptoms, and that could make them more addictive. 
  • Long half-lives: These medications come on slowly and taper off gradually. They tend to cause fewer withdrawal problems.

Suboxone is a combination medication, and each ingredient has a different half-life:[7]

  • Buprenorphine: 24 to 42 hours
  • Naloxone: 2 to 12 hours

A very addictive and dangerous drug like heroin has a half-life of just a few minutes. Suboxone’s ability to linger makes it an effective medication for people looking for a smooth path to sobriety. 

Factors That Influence 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 health: Organs like your liver process Suboxone.[8] If you have liver disfunction or other health problems, you may metabolize Suboxone more slowly. 
  • 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 how long suboxone stays in your system or about what to expect with routine drug screening, reach out to your doctor.


  1. How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System? March 2020. Accessed February 2022. 
  2. Buprenorphine. DrugBank Online. Accessed February 2022. 
  3. Rapid Identification of Buprenorphine in Patient Saliva. Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques. June 2017. Accessed February 2022. 
  4. Buprenorphine and Nor-Buprenorphine Levels in Head Hair Samples from Former Heroin Users Under Suboxone® Treatment. Drug Testing and Analysis. May 2014. Accessed February 2022. 
  5. Naloxone Prescriptions. Accessed February 2022.
  6. Psychiatric Medication. Mind. March 2021. Accessed September 2022. 
  7. Suboxone Prescribing Medication. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. August 2020. Accessed September 2022. 
  8. Buprenorphine. LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury. November 2020. Accessed September 2022. 
  9. Buprenorphine Misuse Decreased Among U.S. Adults with Opioid Use Disorder from 2015 to 2019. National Institute on Drug Abuse. October 2021. Accessed September 2022.

Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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