If you’re getting treatment for an opioid addiction, part of the recovery process may include taking Suboxone. This is a prescription medication made up of a mix of buprenorphine and naloxone.

So if you’re addicted to opioids like heroin, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone, Suboxone can help treat your addiction.

If you’re new to Suboxone, you might have some questions about how it works and how long it can block opioids in the body.

Here’s what you need to know as you get started on this drug during treatment.

How Long Does a Dose of Suboxone Last?

On average, Suboxone lasts for about 24 hours. This is why doctors usually tell patients to take their dose each day at the same time.

You’ll simply put the oral film under your tongue or between your cheek and gums. Then wait for it to dissolve and start working within minutes.

However, certain factors—such as metabolism, weight, and history of drug use—can affect how long this drug works.

For some people, it can work for up to about three days. Others have to take their dose more often, which is often daily.

This is why doctors work closely with patients to prescribe the dose that’s right for them. If you’re using Suboxone as part of medication-assisted therapy (MAT) at a treatment center, the medical professionals there will let you know how much and how often to take it.

What Is Suboxone Made Of?

Suboxone is a blend of two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. Each plays a different role in the treatment process.

For example, buprenorphine is a partial opioid antagonist. This means it works somewhat like opioids, but it’s a lot weaker than drugs like heroin or methadone. What it can do is reduce cravings for opioids. However, it doesn’t create the same high or side effects.

The other drug in Suboxone is naloxone. This is an opioid antagonist, also called a blocker. It can attach to opioid receptors to block their effects.

In fact, naloxone on its own can reverse an opioid overdose. It can even restore normal breathing in someone whose breath has slowed or stopped after overdosing on opioids.

How Does Suboxone Help Treat Opioid Addiction?

Now you know how long Suboxone blocks opioids and what it’s made of. But how does it work? Simply put, it mimics the effects of opioids in the body without being as dangerous. This can greatly reduce the need for actual opioids, increasing the chances of treatment success.

This substance binds tightly to the same brain receptors that opioids do. This can do the following:

  • Reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • Block most of the effects of opioids
  • Decrease cravings for opioids

Research shows that Suboxone can improve the chance of success of opioid addiction treatment.

This is because when people aren’t dealing with drug cravings or opioid withdrawal symptoms, they can focus on completing the drug treatment process. This will help them gradually learn to lead a lifestyle free of opioids.

In most cases, you’ll combine this medication with other treatment options. This often includes different types of counseling at a local drug treatment center.

The staff at the center you choose will let you know which treatment methods are right for you.

If you’re ready to begin the recovery process, search our directory today to find a drug treatment center near you! Whether it turns out you’d benefit from Suboxone, counseling, or both, you’ll have the chance to get on the path to recovery either way.


  1. What are the treatments for heroin use disorder?
  2. Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone)
  3. Naloxone

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