Does Suboxone Show Up in a Drug Test?

Suboxone is a prescribed medication that contains both naloxone and buprenorphine. Both of these are opioid medications, although naloxone is an opioid antagonist. Suboxone is prescribed for people who are trying to get off of opioids. If you are taking a drug test, you may be wondering, "Does Suboxone show up in a drug test?"

Does Suboxone Show Up in a Drug Test?

This all depends on the type of test you are taking about.

If a doctor wants to know if you are taking the medication prescribed, there is a specific test for buprenorphine, which will show up as positive in your blood, in your urine or in your hair. The laboratory uses a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometry test or an ELISA test to detect the presence of buprenorphine in the sample. An ELISA test is also called an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test that can detect many different medications and other things in your system. The test takes about 2-5 hours to perform. The positivity of the test depends on the half-life of the drug in your system. Whether or not the drug shows up depends on when you took it last time and how much of the medication you have taken. Suboxone doesn’t show up for a couple of days after initial ingestion, but it has a half-life of 24-60 hours, which means that it will take a while to get metabolized and leave the body. The tests for Suboxone will be called positive if at least 10 ng/ml is present in your system.

But does Suboxone show up in a drug test? Not, if you are having the standard urine drug test for opioids. Employers often do a "drug screen" for prospective employees. These tests will measure the levels of barbiturates, opioids, benzodiazepines, marijuana, Ecstasy, tricyclic antidepressants and codeine in your system. Some drug screens will also check for Quaaludes or alcohol. The detectable levels of these drugs differ from drug to drug and will be reported as "positive" or "negative", depending on how much of each drug you have in your system.

When Is a Suboxone-Specific Drug Needed?

Since Suboxone is not considered an illicit drug, it does not show up on tests for illicit drugs. But your doctor may order a test specific for Suboxone. The reasons for this include:

  • ŸThe doctor is suspicious that the patient is not taking the drug properly;
  • ŸThe drug is not absorbing well enough into the system;
  • ŸThe drug is being sold to other people instead of being taken by the person for which it is prescribed.

Thus, does Suboxone show up in a drug test? Only if the doctor specifically asks for the test for this specific medication in the system. The doctor may have other reasons for finding out whether or not you are taking the drug. If you are taking Suboxone along with a benzodiazepine, for example, this can be an area of concern as some people have died from taking these two types of drugs together. In such cases, the doctor will do a double drug test — one for benzodiazepines and one for Suboxone.