If you want to know how long Subutex stays in your system, chances are you just took it and want to know if you should be concerned about your next drug test. You could also wonder how long its effects last and when they’ll taper off.
Subutex is typically detectable in urine for 14 days, in blood for 24-36 hours, and in saliva for 2-3 days.
What Is Subutex?
Subutex, a medication containing buprenorphine, was previously used to treat opioid addiction, helping individuals process the withdrawal symptoms of heroin, oxycodone, morphine, and other opioids. After discontinuing all other opioids, doctors typically administer buprenorphine alone for approximately two days. This initial treatment is commonly provided directly at a treatment center office to ensure buprenorphine isn’t abused. Afterward, patients are typically transitioned to a combination medication of buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone) for maintenance treatment.
While the brand Subutex has been discontinued, generic versions of buprenorphine are still available. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, binding to the body’s opioid receptors. It mimics the effects of natural opioids produced by the body, such as endorphins, and produces pain relief, euphoria, and other opioid-like effects. But Subutex has weaker effects than full opioid agonists like morphine.
Why Was Subutex Created?
Subutex was developed as an alternative to methadone and is commonly prescribed as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for heroin or opioid addiction. Although Subutex is an opioid, it has a lower potential for abuse and does not produce the same intense high as other opioids.
How Long Does Subutex Stay In Your System?
Unlike many opioids, Subutex is metabolized differently by the body and does not typically appear as an opioid in regular drug screening tests. But, more and more testing labs and government agencies are switching to advanced drug screens to detect Subutex.
Here’s how long Subutex can stay in your system. Remember that these detection times can vary based on weight, metabolism, the amount taken, and overall bodily health (especially the liver).
- Blood: Subutex can be detected in blood tests up to two days after ingestion.
- Saliva: Subutex can be detected in saliva tests two to three days after the last dose.
- Urine: Subutex can be detected in urine tests ten days and up to two weeks after ingestion.
- Hair: Subutex can be detected in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days.
Readers may also learn from: How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?
Onset Time Of Subutex
The onset time of Subutex, or the time it takes to start taking effect, is around 30 to 60 minutes after oral ingestion (dissolved under the tongue). Once it dissolves into your bloodstream, individuals can feel their cravings and withdrawal symptoms reduce, making them “clear in the head.” After being absorbed, Subutex is metabolized in the liver. The liver converts buprenorphine into metabolites and expels them through urine and feces.
Half-Life Time of Subutex
When taken sublingually (under the tongue), Subutex has an approximate half-life of 37 hours. The half-life is the time it takes for half of a dose of Subutex to be eliminated from the body. It’s important to note that individual factors, such as metabolism, age, liver function, and other medications, can influence the exact duration for half of Subutex to leave the body.
Offset Time Of Subutex
The offset time of Subutex, which refers to the end of its effects, is around 24 to 60 hours for a single dose. The duration of Subutex treatment can vary depending on the individual’s needs and progress in recovery. In some cases, Subutex may be used as a long-term maintenance medication with no predetermined endpoint. This is known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT aims to support individuals in managing their addiction and reducing the risk of relapse.
However, the decision to continue Subutex treatment indefinitely should always include a healthcare provider who can assess the individual’s specific needs and progress in recovery. Some individuals may choose to gradually taper off Subutex under medical supervision, while others may benefit from long-term maintenance.
Warning: Abruptly discontinuing this medication can lead to withdrawal symptoms, especially if it has been used for a prolonged period or at high doses. To prevent withdrawal, your doctor may gradually decrease your dose. This allows your body to adjust gradually and minimizes the chances of experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Why Was Subutex Discontinued?
Subutex was taken off the market in 2011 and replaced with medications like Suboxone, which include both buprenorphine and naloxone. This was to prevent individuals from abusing opioid agonists, even if the effects of Subutex were not as powerful as other opioids. Medications with only buprenorphine still exist on the market but are usually only used within the first few days of opioid withdrawal before switching to opioid medications that include opioid antagonists or “abuse deterrents” like naloxone.
Note: An opioid antagonist is a substance that blocks the effects of opioids. When taken as recommended, naloxone has no effect because it is not well absorbed from the stomach when taken by mouth. However, if the tablet is crushed in an attempt to abuse it, the naloxone would then block the effects of the opioid. Naloxone (Narcan) can also treat opioid overdoses by rapidly reversing its effects.
Contact Louisville Recovery Center
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction or wants to know how to safely get through opioid withdrawal, contact Louisville Recovery Center. Our addiction treatment center in Louisville, KY, aims to treat the mind, body, and spirit of all our clients by integrating holistic modalities with evidence-based therapy methods. Sobriety is the greatest thing you can do for yourself, and the benefits don’t stop coming. Call today to talk with one of our experienced admission agents who can guide you through the initial process.