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What is the half-life of Suboxone?

“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 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.

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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