“Half-life” of a drug refers to the time taken for the initial concentration of a medication in blood to reduce by half. Essentially, it is a way of describing how long a drug stays and acts in your body. Drugs with short half-lives last for less time than drugs with long half-lives. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) stays in your system for about 28-42 hours after sublingual administration (under the tongue), which is the most common route for Suboxone treatment. (Intramuscular, intravenous, and transdermal formulations have varying half-lives in your bloodstream.) This is a lot longer than other opioids, allowing it to prevent withdrawal symptoms in your body for a longer time.
Remember: half-life calculations are but one facet of predicting the duration of stay of a drug in the system, which is more complicated. In general, it takes a week or less for Suboxone to get out of the system entirely.
Your body must metabolize each dose of Suboxone you take. Some people work through the drug quickly and clear the medication from their systems faster. But sometimes, your body moves Suboxone slowly, allowing the drug to linger for longer periods of time.
Factors that could alter Suboxone metabolization include the following:
Most drug testers are searching for narcotic substances that change the way you look, act, or react. Buprenorphine is a narcotic, but it does not appear on a standard drug screen. Someone must order a specific type of test to screen for buprenorphine.
If you must go through a buprenorphine drug test, here's how long you might deliver a positive result: