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Does Suboxone show up on a drug test?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm Last updated on Mar 31, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com
  • Suboxone will not show up on a routine or expanded opiate drug test
  • Suboxone will only show up on a drug test if the panel specifically tests for buprenorphine or its metabolites, or for naloxone
  • Suboxone will not cause false positives for other opioids.

Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone and it may be used to treat opioid addiction.

Although buprenorphine is similar to opioids, it is sufficiently distinct in structure to morphine that it essentially shows no reactivity in commonly marketed morphine-specific immunoassays.

Detection of buprenorphine requires entirely separate immunoassays that are specific for this compounds, or another sort of testing, such as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, which is expensive.

Routine opiate tests reliably detect morphine, codeine, and heroin; however, they usually do not detect other opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, buprenorphine, and tramadol, unless very high dosages have been taken.

Extended opiate screens are becoming more popular and these will test for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and sometimes oxycodone.

However, testing for any type of opiate (such as buprenorphine) that is not routinely screened for can be added to a testing panel separately, if it is considered necessary.

Drug panels can test for any number of different drugs, although they tend to test for a standard number of substances, such as 5, 7, or 12.

There are a several drug testing companies in the United States and most advertise that they can tailor drug testing depending on state laws, profession, or even a company’s culture. Which means what might constitute a 4 panel or even a 12-panel drug test at one workplace may differ from what is being tested at another workplace.

There is no strict definition of which drugs must be tested; however standard panels are generally as follows:

  • 4 and 5 panel: The most basic of tests. 4 panel tests usually tests for amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, PCP, and 5 panel tests include THC (marijuana)
  • 7 panel: Usually used if there are concerns about prescription drug abuse, particularly in industries where alertness is required or heavy machinery is operated. Drugs tested for usually include: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, cocaine, opiates, THC (marijuana) and PCP 
  • 10 panel: Usually used to test individuals working in law enforcement, occupational medicine, to determine if individuals are violating their terms of probation, or in occupations that are responsible for ensuring the safety of others. Drugs tested for usually include: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, cocaine, THC (marijuana), methadone, methaqualone (Quaaludes), opiates, propoxyphene, and PCP
  • 12 panel: An extension of the 10 panel it further tests for other drugs that may be dangerous in the workplace. Drugs tested for usually include: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, cocaine, Ecstasy/MDA, THC (marijuana), methadone, methaqualone (Quaaludes), opiates, oxycodone/Percocet, propoxyphene, and PCP.

Most drug tests will only detect drugs that have been used in the last one to four days, the exception being THC (30 days in chronic users), long-acting benzodiazepines (up to 30 days), phenobarbital (3 weeks), and PCP (8 days)

References
  1. Suboxone [Package Insert] May 22, 2019. Indivior Inc.https://www.drugs.com/pro/suboxone.html
  2. Milone MC. Laboratory testing for prescription opioids. J Med Toxicol. 2012;8(4):408–416. doi:10.1007/s13181-012-0274-7
  3. Expanded Opiate Drug Testing. National Drug Screening Inc. https://www.nationaldrugscreening.com/expanded-opiate-drug-test.php
  4. Interpretation of Opiate Urine Drug Screens. Health Partners Institute for Medical Testing. https://www.healthpartners.com/ucm/groups/public/@hp/@public/@ime/@content/documents/documents/cntrb_031044.pdf

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