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How Long Does Buprenorphine Stay in Your System?


If you want to work during your opioid addiction recovery, you may wonder if buprenorphine appears on a drug test. Many patients receiving treatment for opioid use disorder take this medication to ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings during recovery. Buprenorphine is an active substance in Suboxone®, along with naloxone. While buprenorphine counts as an opioid, it doesn’t show in most common drug tests.

Buprenorphine-specific drug tests can detect traces of the substance in your system, but the American Disabilities Act (ADA) protects you from discrimination for using the medication. Discover more about the length of time buprenorphine stays in your system and how it relates to your recovery below.

How Long Does Buprenorphine Stay in Your System for a Drug Test?

When a person takes a significant amount of buprenorphine, it can work in the body to produce results for approximately 24 to 60 hours. However, enough of this medication remains in the body to provide positive results on drug tests for about 7 to 10 days. This time frame varies depending on a person’s metabolism and the amount of buprenorphine they take.

The half-life of a substance is how long it takes for half of a dose to fully exit the body. The half-life of buprenorphine ranges from 24 to 42 hours, and the half-life of naloxone ranges from 2 to 12 hours.

Even after Suboxone® leaves the body, small traces can still remain. The body metabolizes buprenorphine in the liver, which produces buprenorphine metabolites, norbuprenorphine. After Suboxone®completely leaves a person’s system, norbuprenorphine remains and exits the body through urine over the span of many days or weeks.

Norbuprenorphine will usually exit the system 14 days after Suboxone® enters the body, but this process can be slower or faster depending on each individual person. Factors that affect the amount of time it takes for norbuprenorphine to leave the system include liver function, age, weight, the frequency ofSuboxone® use and if other medications are taken at the same time as Suboxone®. Poor liver function can causeSuboxone® to remain in the body longer.

Everyone processes medication differently, so doctors must adjust the amount of medicine for each patient. Buprenorphine also builds up over time, requiring some patients to begin taking it less frequently or at a lower amount.

What to Consider About Buprenorphine and Drug Testing

Buprenorphine doesn’t appear on most drug tests, so patients who use it as part of treatment can feel confident about positive results. The majority of opioid screenings test for semisynthetic opiates, such as morphine, that are commonly abused. These screenings detect drugs by their chemical structures. Buprenorphine is a synthetic drug that has a different chemical structure. The laboratory that completes the drug test must order a buprenorphine-specific test to find it, but even if you do undergo a BUP drug test, your employer should not hold the results against you.

If your employer chooses to test your system for buprenorphine, you are protected under the ADA. When you have a buprenorphine prescription, it serves as proof that you are legally allowed to take it. The clinic that provides your treatment can also provide you with extra documentation to defend your case. Unless your employer has a significant and justified reason, they can’t discriminate against your status as a buprenorphine patient and deny you work based on your prescription. The only reason an employer could deny you work is if your buprenorphine treatment could interfere with workplace safety.

Buprenorphine Side Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms

As you begin or stop taking buprenorphine, you may experience side effects or withdrawal symptoms. When you take this medication under a health care provider’s supervision, you can remain as comfortable and safe as possible. With a treatment plan that’s individualized for your needs, you should not show obvious or visible signs of taking buprenorphine. This medication includes the following side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Constipation

If you stop taking buprenorphine or taper off of the medication with a health care provider’s help, you may go through withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms don’t cause immediate harm, but they may cause discomfort. The withdrawal symptoms of buprenorphine include:

  • Significant mood changes
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Muscle stiffness

These withdrawal symptoms and side effects should not interfere with your everyday function. If you find that you struggle with them, talk to your doctor about changing the amount of your medicine or how you take it.

BAART’s Accreditations and Certifications

BAART Programs treatment centers are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. This accreditation reflects our commitment to encouraging feedback and improving our services to serve the community. We have over 40 years of experience providing treatment for opioid use disorder to patients all over the country.

We have multiple sites and offer various high-quality supportive recovery services. BAART Programs provides patient-focused treatment for those recovering from opioid use, and at select locations, we also provide mental health services and integrated primary medical care. We are committed to helping patients accomplish long-term recovery by educating them and their loved ones.

At BAART Programs, we believe that to effectively help patients with opioid use disorder, we must individualize treatment to meet their psychological, physical and social needs. Our employees are compassionate and understand the challenges of working toward recovery. This is why we are dedicated to affordable, comprehensive treatment to help patients achieve long-term success on their recovery journey.

Get Buprenorphine MAT at BAART Programs

BAART Programs offers comprehensive MAT programs with buprenorphine. The MAT model lets you relieve withdrawal symptoms with medication while working on your recovery goals. If you want to start a new life without opioids, we welcome you to make an appointment by contacting us.

Get Buprenorphine MAT at BAART Programs

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