How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?
In recent times. Suboxone has become a very important tool to treat opioid use disorder. Alongside other treatment options, Suboxone is a powerful medication that can lead patients to recovery.
The drug is a product of two chemicals known as buprenorphine and naloxone. This combination is what gives Suboxone its unique traits!
If you or a loved one are taking Suboxone, you’re sure to have a lot of questions. Understanding just how long the drug stays in your body is one of the most vital aspects.
In this guide, we’ll discuss that and more, such as:
- The chemicals that make up Suboxone
- How your body processes this medication
- Factors that influence how long the drug stays in your body
- How to tell if Suboxone has already taken effect.
Let’s dive right in!
The Components of Suboxone
As mentioned, two active ingredients make up Suboxone: buprenorphine and naloxone. Let’s explore what each of these chemicals do.
The magic of buprenorphine is that it’s a partial opioid agonist. What this means is that the chemical also affects opioid receptors. It creates the same effect as a full opioid, but is much milder and safer for the body.
So, how does this help with treating opioid use disorder?
There are two reasons — first, it helps reduce your withdrawal symptoms because it feels just as euphoric as full opioids.
The second reason is that buprenorphine reduces opioid cravings. There’s also less risk of overdose as taking more of the chemical doesn’t create a more intense euphoria.
Unlike buprenorphine, naloxone is an opioid antagonist. As an opioid antagonist, naloxone reverses all effects of an opioid — making it a great treatment in case of an overdose.
Suboxone also contains naloxone to help prevent the potential for misuse. When you take Suboxone as prescribed, its naloxone component remains largely inactive.
However, when Suboxone is taken in higher than required doses, the naloxone activates and triggers withdrawal symptoms. This creates an unpleasant feeling and is very effective in minimizing the risk of abuse.
How Your Body Processes Suboxone
Exactly how long Suboxone stays in your system depends on how your body processes it. Here are the stages that Suboxone goes through:
Absorption: How the Body Takes in the Drug
Suboxone is generally taken by mouth, specifically under the tongue. This is called sublingual dissolution.
This oral intake method allows the drug to sidestep initial processing in the liver so that it appears in the bloodstream much more efficiently. Once it’s in the bloodstream, patients will feel the drug’s effect quickly.
Just a heads up: taking Suboxone orally allows it to show up on saliva tests immediately!
Distribution: How It Spreads through the Bloodstream
Once the Suboxone is in your bloodstream, it’ll spread throughout your body via the circulatory system. At this point, the drug can show up in blood tests.
As the heart pumps blood, it shuttles Suboxone to different organs. However, its ultimate destination is your brain.
Once there, Suboxone interacts with opioid receptors. When this happens, you’ll start to feel the drug’s effects.
Metabolism: How the Body Processes the Drug
The liver processes buprenorphine through metabolism.
During this process, your liver creates a wide variety of byproducts. Together, they make the drug a lot more effective.
Excretion: How the Drug Is Removed from the Body
Suboxone and its other processed byproducts are eventually removed from the body. Usually, this will be through your urine and feces, which is why urine tests can detect the drug.
One important trait of buprenorphine is the drug’s half-life, which lasts about 38 hours. What this means is that the drug can stay in your body for much longer! This contributes to Suboxone’s usefulness during treatment.
The Different Factors That Influence Suboxone’s Duration in System
You should also be aware of other factors that can influence how long Suboxone remains in your body. These are:
Dosage and Frequency of Use
Your Suboxone dosage and how often you take it are huge factors that will affect how long the drug remains in your body. Taking higher doses or in shorter frequencies can lengthen the drug’s effects.
In the same way, lower, less frequent doses mean your body processes Suboxone more quickly.
Duration of Use (Long-Term vs. Short-Term)
How long you take Suboxone overall also affects its presence in your body.
Taking it for a longer period of time allows it and its byproducts to accumulate.
On the other hand, if you’re only taking Suboxone for a short time, your body can completely clear it out much faster.
Metabolic Rate of the Individual
Your metabolism also plays an important role in determining how quickly your body processes the drug.
People with a faster metabolism can process Suboxone in minimal time, so it doesn’t stay in the body for long.
Age, Weight, and Overall Health
Other factors can also tell you how long Suboxone remains in your body. These include your age, weight, and overall health.
For example, if you’re heavier, this could mean you’ll require larger doses of Suboxone. Being healthy also helps you clear out the drug much faster.
Working with your doctor can help you identify the right dose so that the drug can stay long enough in your body to be effective.
Liver health and function are also important factors to look at. Because your liver processes Suboxone, it’s important to support it properly while taking the drug.
Simply put: healthy people with functional livers can clear out Suboxone much faster. If you already have poor liver function, Suboxone can make it even worse.
The Symptoms of Suboxone in the System
Suboxone will make itself known through a series of distinct, physical effects. These include experiencing improved mood, decreased opioid cravings, and relief from withdrawal symptoms.
Of course, like other drugs, Suboxone also has potential side effects.
Unwelcome ones include constipation, nausea, and drowsiness. Check with your doctor about other potentially serious side effects, such as liver damage.
Does Suboxone Show Up on a Drug Test?
Suboxone use can show up on specific drug tests, especially hair tests, urine tests, blood tests, and saliva tests.
Other methods that check for buprenorphine or its byproducts will also flag you for Suboxone use. This can result in a false positive.
Generally, however, most conventional methods such as blood tests don’t usually look for Suboxone or its components. The drug test has to deliberately check for Suboxone for the drug to show up.
By now, you should have a better understanding of Suboxone and how long it stays in your body.
When taking the drug, make sure to follow exactly what your doctor tells you. If you don’t take enough, it might not work as effectively. Taking more than what you’re prescribed can lead to unwanted side effects.
While your doctor believes taking Suboxone will help, you should keep monitoring yourself as well! If you start experiencing any side effects, tell your doctor immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long after the last use of Suboxone can I take it?
Your next Suboxone dose depends a lot on what you and your doctor have agreed upon!
This timing does depend on your specific circumstances, so make sure to consult your doctor.
Also, stay within the maximum daily dosage to avoid unwanted side effects.
Is 12 hours long enough to wait to take Suboxone?
As we’ve mentioned, this depends on many factors. Your history of drug use, specific opioids, and overall health can help your doctor decide your dosage frequency.
Can you take Suboxone every day?
Yes, Suboxone is safe for daily use!
Generally, your doctor will create a plan that instructs you to take Suboxone daily alongside other treatment options.
Your doctor will gradually reduce your dosage. As you progress with the treatment, you may take Suboxone on alternating days instead of daily. This treatment program will continue until it’s safe to stop using the drug.