Is Suboxone REALLY Effective at Blocking Heroin & Painkillers?

Is Suboxone REALLY Effective at Blocking Heroin & Painkillers?


How Long Does Suboxone Last?

Medication-assisted therapies, opioid replacement therapies, methadone, and buprenorphine maintenance…there are a lot of options when it comes to using medicine to recover from addiction.

how long does suboxone last for
Suboxone packaging via Wikimedia Commons

The most popular option over the past several years has been, by far, Suboxone maintenance. With dedicated buprenorphine doctors and “sub clinics” opening all over the country, it may seem like everyone is on Suboxone.

While this isn’t the case, it is the first line of attack for many in the addiction treatment field. Still, Suboxone doesn’t come without downsides. For the sake of brevity, we’re only focusing on one here – how long does Suboxone last?

This question, while seemingly simple, is actually fairly complex. To figure out how long Suboxone lasts, we need to look at a variety of factors, including Suboxone’s half-life, what other medication a patient is taking, and how long Suboxone blocks opioids for.

This last part, how long Suboxone blocks opioids, is vital to understanding how long it lasts. That is to say – while buprenorphine may work in an individual’s body for hours, how long does it actually block opioids for?

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the half-life of Suboxone and what impact it has on the question “how long does Suboxone last?”

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Suboxone’s Half-Life

Before we get into the scientific stuff, let’s first define half-life (just kidding, this is all scientific…apologies in advance). Simply put, the half-life is how long it takes for the body to metabolize and eliminate half of a given chemical. There’s also something called “steady-state,” which is when the amount of a particular substance is balanced fifty-fifty between coming in and going out.

It’s important to note that when someone takes medicine regularly, say a daily dose of Suboxone, the half-life becomes longer. This is due to the chemical building up in tissues, organs, etc.

So, how long does Suboxone last? How long is Suboxone’s half-life? Well, it ultimately depends on the individual taking the drug. Generally speaking, the half-life of Suboxone is between twenty-four and forty-eight hours. That’s just a ballpark estimate though.

Depending on how long an individual has taken buprenorphine for, the dose, how frequently they take it, their weight, their metabolism, and any other medications (legal or illegal) they may be taking…that number can change.

So, for example, Suboxone may last for longer, and have a greater half-life, if someone is taking eight milligrams daily, has been for years, and is overweight. It may have a shorter half-life if they’re taking two milligrams every other day.

It’s also important to note that Suboxone may still block opioids even if it has a short half-life in a particular individual.

Having explored the basics about Suboxone’s half-life, let’s turn our attention fully to how long Suboxone blocks opioids for.

How Long Does Suboxone Block Opioids?

How long Suboxone lasts is a tricky question when it comes to blocking opioids. In other words, as mentioned above, it may last for hours, but only block the effects of narcotics for a short period of that time.

How long does Suboxone block opioids for? Well, generally speaking, it blocks them for around one day. This time can be significantly longer, though, depending on a variety of factors. Again, things like dose, frequency, weight, and metabolism come into play.

Suboxone can block opioids for as long as three days. Although that’s rather rare, it has happened. It’s interesting to note that it’s not only the naloxone in Suboxone that blocks opioids for so long. Buprenorphine itself is a potent chemical and binds tightly to opioid receptors in the brain.

So, how long does Suboxone lasts? How long does Suboxone block opioids? It all depends on the individual, but generally speaking, it’s one to three days.

If you’re struggling with painkiller or heroin abuse, reach out for professional help. Suboxone maintenance is one way to go, but why not explore all available options? Call Lighthouse today to learn about alternatives to buprenorphine!

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