How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System? Suboxone is used to treat opiate addiction. It contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid medication, sometimes called a narcotic. Naloxone helps to prevent the effects of opioid medication — both pain relief and the feeling of well-being that triggers continued opioid abuse.
Suboxone has been praised for its ability to reduce opiate addiction symptoms while being referred to as a major breakthrough in terms of addiction treatment. While this all sounds great, it’s important to understand that there is “the other side” of Suboxone, as an addition to Suboxone itself is a major problem.
Using it as part of treatment requires supervision combined with proper therapy during the treatment process as well as highly monitored aftercare. Many people question why to use an addictive substance to treat another addiction, and that’s a valid question to raise.
Using Suboxone (an Opioid) to Treat Opioid Addiction
Now, of course, there is risk associated with giving an opioid to treat opioid addiction, but the addiction is so strong that stopping “cold turkey” that the patient needs to be taken off slowly, and Suboxone is used to essentially “dilute” the cravings.
Over time, with continued dilution, the individual’s body is able to function daily without the opioid in their system. Suboxone is used is due to its less intense “high,” which is milder than the opioids that it’s used to treat.
Suboxone is an Answer to Solve a Much Larger Problem
The most common form of opioid addiction involves painkillers, with some addicts becoming overly dependent on them after being prescribed to deal with major pain issues. This usually stems from major surgery or an accident.
Painkillers are also loosely prescribed in instances that really don’t warrant such powerful pain medication. The pharmaceutical industry is a multi-billion dollar business, and when that kind of money is on the line its products are pushed at various levels, including doctors that prescribe them to their patients.
There are also instances of drug addicts turning to opioids and painkillers simply to experience the high, due to the fact that they are readily available and easily accessible — often from family and friends.
The number of painkiller addicts in the United States is shocking. A report by the American Society of Addiction Medicine reported that there were nearly two million people in the U.S. that were addicted to painkillers in 2014.
Since then, it’s only become more of a problem. To fight such a large problem you often have to go to extreme measures, and that is how you need to look at Suboxone — it’s a necessity. While it’s an opioid, it helps those come off stronger drugs at a rate that allows the body to adjust correctly, increasing the chance of recovery and long-term sobriety.
Also, since it’s a much “weaker” opioid, the chance of the patient becoming addicted to it is very slim. Their tolerance is already built up; far stronger than that of Suboxone.
The metabolization of Suboxone Explained
When it comes to how long medication and drugs stay in users’ systems, you will often hear that a particular substance has a half-life, and Suboxone has a long elimination half-life compared to other opioids due to the buprenorphine.
The time it takes for 50 percent of a dose to leave the body is referred to as elimination half-life, and for buprenorphine, this time period is thirty-seven hours. This equates to eight or more days that Suboxone can stay in your system to the point that it’s no longer able to be detected.
Of course, these timeframes are just general guidelines, as the time it stays in the body varies from person to person, as many different factors come into play that determines the exact time it takes to flush Suboxone from the body in its entirety. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The age of the individual and their overall health of standard body functions
- Amount of time the individual has been abusing Suboxone
- The height and weight of the person
- Body fat percentile and whether or not the individual is considered obese
- Their overall metabolism and digestive health
- The overall health of their liver
- The size of the last dose consumed as well as the frequency of past recent doses
All of the above factors play into how long Suboxone stays in the system.
Positive Tests for Buprenorphine Can Occur After it Passes the System
While most individuals will pass Suboxone through their system in about eight days, that doesn’t mean it still can’t be detected. During the metabolization process, the liver produces metabolites that stick around — far longer than the Suboxone does.
The more advanced drug screening tests will also screen for these as well, meaning someone can test positive for Suboxone if the metabolites are detected, but these are the more advanced (and expensive) tests to administer.
Saliva tests are often used because of their simplicity and ease of administering. They are also less invasive from a patient perspective, as well as low cost. A saliva test will detect Suboxone for up to a week after the last dose of the drug was consumed.
The smallest window to detect Suboxone occurs when administering a blood test. They are often used to detect recent ingestion, as they can immediately detect it, up to two hours post-consumption. These are the most invasive and require the most training to administer.
The Most Common Suboxone Drug Test
While blood tests and saliva tests are reliable when determining whether or not Suboxone and Buprenorphine are still in the body’s system, a urine test is the most commonly administered, specifically at treatment facilities and by employers screening for pre-employee reasons as well as random employee testing.
This comes into play in an employment environment is certain situations, like for those responsible for operating heavy machinery or operating anything in a capacity in which improper operation can put the health and well-being of others in jeopardy.
A urine test is able to detect if Buprenorphine is in the system as quickly as 45 minutes after it’s taken, and if the person is an addict and has a long history of use, it will continue to show up in tests up to two weeks after consumption.
Another test that is used often, although not as reliable, is a hair strain test, which can sometimes detect the drug up to three months after consumption. This is due to its building up in the hair follicles.
Suboxone Final Thoughts: Just Another Opioid Problem or Part of the Solution?
While Suboxone is an opioid and can be addictive, it’s not as severe and common as the standard-issue painkillers that are what usually is what addicts get hooked on, causing them to seek treatment, which involves the use of Suboxone as want to slowly decrease the body’s dependence on the more harmful opioid.
There are some treatment advocates that see it as fighting fire with fire, but when you dive into the reasoning, you learn that in order to train the body to not crave the stronger opioid the doses need to be diluted over time. Quitting cold turkey is likely to result in a relapse.
Long-term sobriety instances show that the use of Suboxone to gradually lower the dose over time allows the body to adjust, eventually not being dependent on that drug to function daily.
For the highest probable success rate, it’s best to seek professional treatment in a facility that offers in-patient care with the use of Suboxone to dilute the dosage over time. When done with proper medical supervision and trained staff of addiction specialists, long-term sobriety can be achieved.