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Suboxone Drug Testing

Suboxone - Buprenorphine Drug Testing

Suboxone is a prescription medicine that contains the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. It is used to treat adults who are dependent on (addicted to) opioids (either prescription or illegal). Buprenorphine is the primary active ingredient in suboxone. By attaching to the same receptors as other opioids, it can help to suppress withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Naloxone is included to help prevent misuse. If you are dependent on a full opioid agonist and attempt to inject suboxone, the naloxone is likely to cause withdrawal signs and symptoms.

Individuals addicted to opiates such as heroin or oxycodone are commonly prescribed Suboxone as part of a treatment plan. Suboxone is a sublingual film strip available in multiple strengths, it is placed under the tongue.

Doctors will transfer a person from abuse of prescription opiates or the use of heroin onto Suboxone and then very gradually taper the dosage of Suboxone. The idea is to help the person get entirely off the opiates over a period of time, without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Medications, such as Suboxone, should be combined with psychotherapy sessions, counseling, and support groups in order to maximize long-term effectiveness and prevent relapse.

Like heroin, buprenorphine attaches to the brain’s opioid receptors, but it does not plug in as completely. It is slower acting and longer lasting, attenuating the rush of sensation and eliminating the plummets afterward. Addicts develop a tolerance to its euphoric effects and describe themselves as normalized by it, their cravings satisfied. It also diminishes the effects of other opioids but, studies have shown, does not entirely block them, even at the highest recommended doses.

Testing for Suboxone

Our laboratories test for buprenorphine (BUP) in order to test for Suboxone. Typically Suboxone would be added to a 10 panel with expanded opiates drug test. The drug test panel configuration would be: Cocaine, Marijuana (THC, cannabinoids), Phencyclidine (PCP – angel dust), Amphetamines (including methamphetamines, also known as crystal meth), Opiates (including heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, Oxycodone), Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax), Barbiturates, Methadone, Propoxyphene, Methaqualone (Quaaludes) and Buprenorphine (BUP).

Buprenorphine has to be specifically tested for and is not commonly included on standard drug screen panels. Buprenorphine will NOT cause a positive result on tests for other opiates. The typical urine tests used to detect methadone, oxycodone, heroin, and other opioids check for a different metabolite than that found with buprenorphine and will not show a positive result in buprenorphine (only) maintained patients. Buprenorphine can be detected with drug tests for 7-10 days at typical doses, although this time could vary considerably with much higher or much lower doses along with the individual's metabolism rate. If you need testing for Suboxone – Buprenorphine, you must be very clear to ask for Buprenorphine to be added to your test panel.

Suboxone vs Methadone

Suboxone vs Methadone

Like methadone when buprenorphine is taken by an individual who is addicted to heroin or other opioid, buprenorphine reduces craving and helps the person remain drug-free. Because of its opioid effects, buprenorphine can also be abused, particularly by individuals who are not physically dependent on opioids. Compared with methadone, buprenorphine has a relatively lower risk of abuse, dependence, and side effects, and it has a longer duration of action. Because buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, its opioid effects, such as euphoria and respiratory depression, as well as its side effects, reach a ceiling of maximum effect, unlike with methadone or heroin. For this reason, buprenorphine may be safer than methadone, as long as it is not combined with sedatives such as tranquilizers or alcohol.

Side Effects of Suboxone

The side effects of buprenorphine are similar to those of other opioids and may include nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Both buprenorphine and buprenorphine with naloxone can result in the opioid withdrawal syndrome if used by people on high doses of other opioids. Symptoms of opioid withdrawal can include: dysphoria, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches and cramps, sweating, tearing, diarrhea, mild fever, running nose, insomnia, and irritability.

In our laboratories, Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) is used as a screening method for the detection of buprenorphine. The assay has equal cross reactivity to norbuprenorphine, the primary urinary metabolite of buprenorphine. Confirmation of screened positive urines is performed by a specific method such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) or liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS).

Suboxone is the blockbuster drug most people never heard of until recently. Surpassing well-known medications like Viagra and Adderall, it has generated billions in United States sales in the last few years, its success fueled by an exploding opioid abuse epidemic and the embrace of federal officials who helped finance its development and promoted it as a safer, less stigmatized alternative to methadone.


Suboxone Abuse

Suboxone film can be abused in a manner similar to other opioids, legal or illicit. Addicts often sell their Suboxone to purchase other illegal drugs. An individual can overdose on Suboxone leading to death.

Using Suboxone in ways other than prescribed by a physician is dangerous and illegal. Though Suboxone is designed to end the abuse of opioids, continued use of Suboxone can lead to dependence, which is the state of needing the drug to function and feel normally.

Generally, signs of Suboxone abuse involve:

  • Random packages appearing at one's home or work.
  • Running out of the medication before the intended prescription schedule.
  • Unusual behavior.
  • Strained relationships with loved ones.

Unfortunately, a tried-and-true addict will surely find a way to abuse near any drug introduced into society, especially one with similar effects to those experienced when engaging in illicit opiate abuse. Thus, Suboxone has become both a medication and a drug, and has secured approval not only from those dedicated to helping addicts overcome life-threatening substance dependencies, but also from addicts dedicated to getting super high at any cost.

Contact US Drug Test Centers for testing for Suboxone – Buprenorphine.