Drug addiction has long been a pervasive problem in the United States. It has led to several health concerns and social unrest among its citizens. This problem has become more severe recently with the rise in opioid-related overdose deaths. However, thanks to advancements in medical sciences, several medications have been developed to help those struggling with opioid addiction. One of the most popular of these is Suboxone.

Does Suboxone Show Up On a Drug Test Photo

Patients undergoing Suboxone treatment often have concerns about drug tests. The question arises about whether Suboxone can be detected in standard drug tests, namely urine, blood, saliva, and hair tests.

So, what kind of medication is Suboxone? How does it work? And does Suboxone show up on a drug test? In this article, we will explore these questions in-depth.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a medication used to treat opioid addiction. It is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it binds to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, but with less euphoria and less risk of overdose. Naloxone, on the other hand, is an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids.

When combined, these two drugs help manage the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and reduce the risk of relapse.

Suboxone is taken orally either as a film placed under the tongue or as a tablet. It is known to be one of the most effective medications for opioid addiction, with research showing it can reduce overdose deaths by up to 50%.

So, the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone ultimately results in the decrease of withdrawal symptoms, minimizing of cravings, and provides a strong basis for thorough addiction treatment when patients adhere to the dosage recommended by their healthcare professional. But does it show up on a drug test? Let’s find out.

Suboxone And Standard Drug Testing

Drug testing procedures aim to detect commonly abused substances, and Suboxone detection depends on the type of test conducted. Common drugs tested for include:

  • opioids
  • amphetamines
  • cocaine
  • marijuana
  • benzodiazepines

It is important to note that Suboxone will not show up on a routine or expanded opiate drug test unless the panel specifically tests for buprenorphine or its metabolites, or for naloxone.

Can Suboxone Cause False Positive Result On A Drug Test?

Suboxone can potentially cause false positive results due to various factors.

  • Cross-reactivity with other medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antihistamines, can lead to a false positive result.
  • Contamination of the sample can also cause a false positive result, which can occur if the sample is not collected correctly or if the testing equipment is not properly calibrated.
  • Metabolism of buprenorphine and naloxone can vary from person to person, leading to a false positive result.
  • The dosage a patient takes: if it is more than recommended, there are more chances to get a false positive result on a drug test.
  • Poor liver function can cause Suboxone accumulation in the human body.
  • The metabolism of buprenorphine and naloxone can vary from person to person, leading to a false positive result.

It is crucial to understand the potential causes of a false positive result and take action by retesting the sample, providing a list of medications you are taking, and consulting with a healthcare provider.

However, if a test specifically for buprenorphine takes place, those who have a valid prescription for the drug are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), preventing employers from discriminating against them based solely on the presence of buprenorphine in their system unless there are genuine safety concerns. This guarantees the privacy and employment rights of anyone receiving buprenorphine therapy.

Specialized Drug Tests for Suboxone

Although not commonly used in routine screenings, specialized drug tests for Suboxone exist. A Suboxone drug test can detect the presence of buprenorphine and its metabolites in a person’s system for up to several days after use, depending on factors like dose, frequency of use, and individual metabolism. These tests specifically identify buprenorphine and its metabolites in a person’s system, ensuring accurate results. However, these tests are typically utilized in substance abuse treatment programs or drug court programs where monitoring of Suboxone use is required.

It is important to note that a person’s use of suboxone as prescribed by a qualified medical professional is not a reason for discrimination, and their test results should not be used against them in a negative way. Proper documentation and support from healthcare providers can help to protect individuals from unjust discrimination based on their use of suboxone.

Different Types of Drug Tests

Urine tests can detect Suboxone, but specialized tests are necessary for specific identification. Blood tests are unlikely to detect Suboxone, and saliva tests do not typically include it in their screening. Hair tests, are known for their extended detection window, which is why this type of drug testing is more likely to detect buprenorphine.

Will Suboxone Show Up On A 10-Panel Drug Test? What About The 12-Panel Test?

Suboxone is not typically included in standard drug test panels, such as the 10-panel and 12-panel tests. These tests generally focus on detecting commonly abused drugs but may include additional substances depending on the panel setup. However, testing for any type of opiate that is not routinely screened for, such as buprenorphine (BUP), can be added to a testing panel separately if deemed necessary.

It is therefore important to know the type of drug testing panel being used, as standard panels range from the more basic 5-panel (like the DOT drug test) to the more comprehensive 12-panel test, with each testing for different drugs. Overall, it is essential to be aware of the type of drug being tested for and to ensure that the proper testing panel is being used in order to accurately detect Suboxone or any other illicit substances.

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

Buprenorphine, the primary active component of Suboxone, typically lingers in the body for around 7 to 10 days following the last dose. However, its metabolite called norbuprenorphine can persist for up to 14 days after the last dose. It’s worth noting that this timeframe can differ from person to person, influenced by various factors like liver function, age, weight, frequency of Suboxone usage, and concurrent medication intake. In cases of impaired liver function, the elimination of Suboxone can take longer. It’s crucial to maintain close communication with a healthcare professional to ensure you’re taking the appropriate dosage and making adjustments as necessary, thereby avoiding any potential adverse outcomes associated with continued medication usage. Understanding the duration of buprenorphine’s presence in your system will aid in preparing for a drug test and ensuring compliance with legal or professional obligations.

Why is it a common assumption that Suboxone can be detected as an opioid?

It is a common assumption that Suboxone can be detected as an opioid because it contains buprenorphine, which is a semi-synthetic opioid. Buprenorphine is commonly used in medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence. Suboxone is a combination product of buprenorphine and naloxone.

While naloxone is an opioid antagonist and is not an opioid, it is often added to buprenorphine-containing products to deter misuse, reduce the risk of breathing problems, and decrease the abuse potential.

Despite the fact that naloxone is not an opioid and does not produce opioid-like effects, it is sometimes mistaken for an opioid. Moreover, buprenorphine has opioid-like properties and can produce some of the same effects as other opioids, making it a concern for drug tests that screen for opioids. However, drug tests that specifically screen for buprenorphine and naloxone can differentiate between Suboxone and other opioids, which can help clarify this misconception.

How to detox for Suboxone?

Detoxing from Suboxone can be a challenging process, as the signs and symptoms of Suboxone abuse are similar to those of opioid and heroin addiction. Detox is a natural process in which the body attempts to rid itself of harmful substances. When someone is dependent on drugs like Suboxone, their body has developed a tolerance, and stopping the drug can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

During Suboxone detox, individuals may experience a range of symptoms that can vary in intensity and duration. Factors such as physical health, weight, metabolism, and the severity of the addiction can influence the detox process. Symptoms of Suboxone detox may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • intense drug cravings
  • fever
  • sweating
  • chills
  • trouble concentrating

The detox timeline varies from person to person, but physical withdrawal symptoms tend to peak quickly and then subside before psychological symptoms arise. Some individuals may experience Suboxone withdrawals for up to a month, and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and cravings can persist. Relapse prevention programs and ongoing care are crucial for maintaining sobriety.


In summary, Suboxone is an approved combination medication used in opioid replacement therapy, comprising buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine possesses powerful analgesic properties and acts as both an opioid blocker and agonist, effectively alleviating opioid withdrawal symptoms for up to three days. Naloxone is included to prevent intravenous misuse and diminish the appeal and rewards for high-risk individuals. The presence of naloxone does not influence the pharmacokinetics of buprenorphine, nor does it compromise its effectiveness.

Now, let’s address the question: Does Suboxone show up on a drug test? The answer is that it is possible, although it is a relatively rare occurrence. Suboxone may be detected in drug tests due to the presence of buprenorphine, which can raise concerns for patients undergoing such tests. However, it is crucial to emphasize that Suboxone is a safe and highly effective medication for the treatment of opioid dependence, and its usage should be encouraged to benefit patients.