Skip to main content

Will buprenorphine test positive for opiates?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on March 7, 2022.

Official answer


Although it counts as an opioid, buprenorphine is different enough in structure to opioids that it won’t show up or test positive with a standard or extended opioid assay. This is helpful to know if you want to work during your opioid addiction recovery, and you are worried that buprenorphine may appear on a drug test.

It will only show up if the company or your doctor orders a buprenorphine-specific test, or another sort of testing, such as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, which is expensive. These are entirely separate immunoassays that will test for buprenorphine. Some doctors may order buprenorphine-specific assays to check that you are taking your buprenorphine as prescribed.

If you find yourself in a situation where your employer has requested a specific test for buprenorphine, and it comes back positive, you still have protection under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Your buprenorphine prescription serves as legal proof that you have the right to take it and you can also obtain more documentation from the clinic that helps you with treatment to support your case. Most employers cannot deny you work based on your status as a buprenorphine patient unless they have a justified reason, or if taking buprenorphine would impact on your workplace safety.

  • Standridge J, Adams S, Zotos A. Urine Drug Screening: A Valuable Office Procedure. Am Fam Physician. 2010 Mar 1;81(5):635-640.,fentanyl%2C%20buprenorphine%2C%20and%20tramadol.
  • Balhara YP, Jain R. A urinalysis-based study of buprenorphine and non-prescription opioid use among patients on buprenorphine maintenance. J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2012;3(1):15-19. doi:10.4103/0976-500X.92496
  • How Long Does Buprenorphine Stay in Your System? Oct 1, 2019. BAART Programs.

Related medical questions

Related support groups