Does Suboxone Show up on a Drug Test?
When recovering from drug addiction, regular drug tests are typically part of treatment.
These tests help track drug use, so healthcare providers can measure how successful treatment is in terms of helping you maintain sobriety. You may also need to undergo drug testing in order to gain employment. If you are being treated for an addiction to opioid drugs, such as morphine, oxycodone, or heroin, you may be receiving Suboxone as part of your treatment. While Suboxone does mimic some of the effects of opioid drugs, Suboxone does not show up on panels as other opioids. It will only show up if the panel tests for buprenorphine (one of the components of Suboxone) and/or its metabolites.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a combination of the drugs buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist-antagonist, meaning it mimics some of the effects of opioid drugs.1 In doing so, buprenorphine can ease symptoms of withdrawal and prevent cravings. Buprenorphine has been shown to be effective in re-establishing normal brain function and preventing relapse. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of opioid drugs. Adding naloxone to buprenorphine helps to prevent misuse or diversion of the buprenorphine by causing withdrawal if the medication is injected instead of dissolved under the tongue or in the cheek (the appropriate way to take the medicine depends on the formulation).
When receiving treatment with Suboxone, you should never stop taking the drug suddenly or without a doctor’s approval. Stopping use of Suboxone too quickly can cause withdrawal symptoms. The National Library of Medicine lists the following symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal:1
- Hot or cold flushes
- Teary eyes
- Runny nose
- Muscle pain
You do not need to stop taking Suboxone before undergoing a drug test. Always take Suboxone exactly as prescribed.
Testing for Suboxone Use
Depending on the drug panel used, Suboxone may or may not be tested for. Suboxone should not cause false positives for other opioids.
While buprenorphine, one of the ingredients of Suboxone, is similar to opioid drugs, it is a different chemical and thus is broken down into different metabolites. Metabolites are the chemical result of your body processing the drugs in your system. Depending on the drug panel, it may or may not test for buprenorphine and its metabolites.
Suboxone can be a very effective tool to treat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine combined with naloxone in the form of Suboxone can reduce the risk of abuse or misuse, decrease opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and increase safety if overdose occurs. It has lower abuse potential than buprenorphine alone or methadone.
Do Companies Test for Suboxone for Employment?
As mentioned previously, this will depend on the panel your employer is using.