Subutex is used mainly as a treatment for addiction and pain, but it shares many of the same properties of an addictive drug in its own right. Most notably, the drug lingers in your system, making it a shock to your system when you quit taking it. Although Subutex is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many people are understandably worried about how long Subutex stays in the body. The answer varies from person to person and depends very much on your personal metabolism.
Normal metabolism of Subutex
Like alcohol, Subutex is processed by your liver. However, a simple pass-through doesn't eliminate it from your body. Instead, it merely cuts the level, because Subutex works like carbon, eliminating itself from your system in a series of half-life divisions. For example, if you have 100 units of Subutex in your body, the next stage is 50 units, then 25 units, then 12.5 units, and so on until there isn't a noticeable amount left to measure.
This half-life elimination process is a part of why Subutex patients need to be eased off the drug. Your body gets used to a certain amount of Subutex, and cutting your regular dose causes a half-life drop in the level in your body, which can bring on withdrawal symptoms. These can be painful and dangerous, although a doctor can help ease the process.
The normal half life of Subutex is between 20 and 73 hours. This assumes that your liver is functioning properly and that your system is healthy overall. If your system's ability to function has been damaged by drug use, intestinal problems, or circulatory issues, then you may expect Subutex to stay in your body longer.
Symptoms to monitor
To make a better judgment in your personal case of how long Subutex will stay in your body, you can look for certain symptoms caused by being weaned off the drug that can upset your body's systems. First, you'll want to look at how well your body tolerates the drug overall. If it slows your breathing and circulatory system, you may be given smaller doses, which will process more quickly than larger doses. Next, you'll want to consider how well your liver functions. If your liver is weak or damaged, then your doses will take longer to pass out of your body even if they are small.
Over time, watch to see if your liver function is changing. Being sick, as though you have the flu, or having bad intestinal cramps could be an early warning that your liver isn't working at full capacity and may not be processing your Subutex properly. A yellow tinge to your skin, known as jaundice, is another sign your liver isn't doing what it should. In either case, quickly consult with a doctor to ensure you are in good health and catch any bad symptoms early to adjust dosage levels.