How Long Does Suboxone Last? Timelines By Dosage

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on

Opioid addiction withdrawals can be debilitating, but medications like Suboxone can help. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has helped countless people manage their addictions. Knowing how long Suboxone lasts can help you to determine if it’s right for you.

How Long Does Suboxone Last? Timelines By Dosage

The prescription medication Suboxone is used to provide long-acting support during opioid withdrawal by easing cravings and opiate withdrawal symptoms for up to 24 hours per dose.

Suboxone has a fairly low rate of addiction, but it is still possible for someone to experience psychological or physical dependence if they abuse Suboxone or use it improperly.

In many cases, Suboxone is just one part of a medication-assisted treatment plan. Other components may include mental health care through therapy or support groups.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a combination of two other drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. They work in tandem with opioid receptors to stop the high from opiates and lessen withdrawal discomfort.

This combination was initially developed as a successor to methadone, which is also used to treat addiction to substances like heroin, oxycodone, and fentanyl.

How Long Do The Effects Of Suboxone Last?

Suboxone comes in two forms: a sublingual medication, given under the tongue and dissolved, and an oral Suboxone tablet.

The opioid-blocking effects of Suboxone work for almost a full 24 hours, so doses are typically given once a day. However, the length of time people feel the effects may vary.

In some instances, people only feel the effects of Suboxone for about 10 hours. Others may feel them for a couple of days.

Factors That Affect How Long Suboxone Lasts

There are several factors that can affect the absorption and efficacy of a substance.

Healthcare providers will evaluate patients before prescribing Suboxone to make sure it’s the right treatment and adjust the dosage based on key factors.

Some of these factors include:

  • weight
  • age
  • metabolism
  • other medical conditions like pregnancy or liver problems
  • length and severity of opioid use disorder
  • diet
  • co-occurring disorders or addictions
  • use of other substances such as alcohol or cannabis

What Is The Half-Life Of Suboxone?

Half-life is a scientific term that indicates how long it takes any given substance to be reduced to half of its initial value. Suboxone has a long half-life that can last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours.

Smaller people with high metabolisms may eliminate a substance quicker than a larger person with a slow metabolism. It can also be influenced by the other factors listed above.

Depending on how the patient reacts, they could be given smaller doses of Suboxone a couple of times a day or receive a dose every other day.

What Does Suboxone Feel Like?

Due to being a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone does not produce the intense high that other prescriptions and illegal opioids do. Instead, it induces mild relaxation and blocks pain receptors.

In the initial stages of treatment, the person may feel drowsy or have minor side effects like headaches. This tends to even out with time until the patient feels “normal.”

At higher than recommended doses, it may give the person some euphoria and artificial calm. However, it is not nearly as strong as other opioids, and its effects eventually plateau.

How Long Can Suboxone Be Detected In The Body?

Despite its long half-life, Suboxone is detectable in the body for only a short while. After one dose, the standard elimination time is about five to eight days in healthy people.

This amount of time may be a few days longer for people with liver conditions or people who have been taking Suboxone for a while.

Naloxone and buprenorphine have different half-lives. As a result, buprenorphine may be detectable for longer than Naloxone.

Does Suboxone Appear On Drug Tests?

When Suboxone is metabolized in the liver, it creates metabolites that can be detected well after the drug has left the body. These show up on certain drug tests.

Urinalysis can detect the components of Suboxone for up to two weeks. They can be found in saliva for a few days to a week, and hair tests can find them for up to three months.

How Long Do The Effects Of Suboxone Last?

There are a few side effects of Suboxone that people may encounter. Most of these are routine and fade as the person adjusts to using Suboxone.

How Long Do The Short-Term Side Effects Of Suboxone Last?

The immediate side effects from Suboxone can range from mildly irritating to deadly, so it’s important to be aware of the possibilities before starting treatment.

Short-term side effects can begin quickly after ingestion, but they typically go away once the dose of Suboxone has left the body.

The most common Suboxone side effects are:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • sweating
  • pain
  • insomnia

The most serious side effects usually only occur during an opioid overdose. The primary signs are low blood pressure and trouble breathing.

If you ever experience difficulty taking full breaths or feel weak, seek medical help immediately.

How Long Do The Long-Term Side Effects Of Suboxone Last?

Suboxone also has a few long-term side effects associated with weeks, months, or years of use. These have the potential to continue even after stopping Suboxone use.

A few long-term side effects of Suboxone are:

  • depression or anxiety
  • liver damage
  • hormonal disruptions
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • abdominal problems

What Are The Phases Of Suboxone Treatment?

Suboxone treatment is broken down into two phases: induction and maintenance. The induction phase begins right after a person stops using opioids and withdrawal begins to set in.

Once the person is stable, they will begin maintenance. This can last weeks or months until a medical professional determines that they are ready to slowly taper down to their last dose.

Does Suboxone Cause Withdrawal?

People who use Suboxone for an extended period may develop physical dependence, and they could experience withdrawal symptoms for up to three days if they quit abruptly.

Withdrawal from Suboxone is not usually life-threatening, but it can still be unpleasant. To avoid this, discuss treatment options with your doctor to taper off or do a medical detox off Suboxone.

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • nausea
  • aches and pains
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • runny nose

FAQs About How Long Suboxone Lasts

If you have further inquiries about Suboxone use, you can find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.

There are four standard doses of Suboxone that a doctor may prescribe. The dosage will depend on factors like the severity of the drug abuse and the patient’s medical history.

The typical doses are:

  • 2 milligrams (mg) buprenorphine / 0.5 mg naloxone
  • 4 mg buprenorphine / 1 mg naloxone
  • 8 mg buprenorphine / 2 mg naloxone
  • 12 mg buprenorphine / 3 mg naloxone

Suboxone works for about a day after taking it. People who take Suboxone as part of a medication-assisted treatment plan usually take it once daily to maintain its effects. 

How long Suboxone lasts will vary from person to person, but the effects last all day for most patients.

Suboxone can lose its ability to work properly when it is not taken as directed. This can happen if people continue taking opiates, skip doses, or use other substances while on Suboxone.

There are inpatient addiction rehab centers that can help people experiencing Suboxone addiction. To find a drug rehab facility near you, contact our helpline. 

As long as Suboxone is taken exactly as directed by a healthcare professional, the rates of addiction are extremely low.

Physical dependence is more likely than addiction, but this can be treated by tapering off Suboxone slowly.

Find Help For An Opioid Addiction

Suboxone can be a very effective treatment that helps people get their lives back on track from substance abuse and opioid dependence. However, it is sometimes misused.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one are experiencing an opioid-related substance use disorder involving Suboxone, an addiction treatment program can help.

We can assist you with finding inpatient and outpatient rehab or get you in touch with a Suboxone treatment center. To learn more, call our helpline and speak to a specialist today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on
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