Substance Use

Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone
LAST UPDATED: July 4, 2022

<h1>Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Detox Treatment Options</h1> <p><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Suboxone.jpg">Photo credit</a></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">The current opioid epidemic has spiraled out of control in recent years.&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855417/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Opioid overdose deaths</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true"> now surpass historic peak death rates from HIV, gun violence, and motor vehicle accidents. Several drugs have been approved to help users safely withdraw from opioids to live a healthy, fulfilling future. One such drug is Suboxone.</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Suboxone is a combination medication that contains naloxone and buprenorphine. This brand-name drug is a partial agonist, which is often used to help people suffering from opioid addiction. This approach is what&#8217;s known as opioid substitution therapy and is often the preferred choice over methadone because it carries a lower risk of abuse.</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Although this drug can offer support under certain circumstances throughout the recovery process, there are some concerns about Suboxone abuse and Suboxone withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone is not intended to act as a cure for opioid dependence. Instead, it should be used as part of the recovery process and those involved in the care plan should closely monitor it.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Suboxone&#8217;s main active ingredient is an opioid, which is why this drug is a&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.dea.gov/drug-information/drug-scheduling" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Schedule III controlled substance</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">. This ingredient helps users wean themselves off of more potent opioids. However, there are instances where Suboxone abuse develops.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">If you or your loved one are struggling with Suboxone or abusing a combination of substances, now is the time to create a Suboxone withdrawal plan. Seeking the support of a&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://zinniahealth.com/team/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">professional care team</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;will help ensure a comfortable, safe Suboxone withdrawal period, followed by access to an ongoing evidence-based treatment plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Here&#8217;s what you need to know about the Suboxone withdrawal period and how to get the help you deserve.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><span data-preserver-spaces="true">What Are the Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal?</span></h2> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Buprenorphine is an opioid, so there are risks involved. Being a derivative of thebaine, an extract of opium, this drug can produce sedation and euphoric effects. Although it stimulates the same receptors as opiates like morphine and heroin, buprenorphine creates effects to a lesser degree.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">The effects of buprenorphine are considered mild compared to other highly addictive opioids, such as morphine or heroin. However, the individuals who take Suboxone are already vulnerable to opioid addiction. This vulnerability is something to consider. Buprenorphine is more potent than many other opioids, but it is also a partial opioid agonist. This means it blocks other opioids from binding to receptors in the central nervous system.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">The addition of naloxone helps reverse symptoms of an&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://zinniahealth.com/research/opioid-crisis-documentaries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">opioid overdose</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">, making Suboxone a safer option than other opioids administered within a tapering plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Since Suboxone does not produce the same effects as other opioids, it is often abused for a different purpose. It may be bought to prolong the use of another opioid on the street, such as heroin. The Suboxone is used to better cope with withdrawal symptoms before the user takes another dose of the opioid of their choice. So, the ongoing use of Suboxone could encourage someone to continue using opioids.&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs10/10123/10123p.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Data shows</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;that buprenorphine is effective for approximately one-half to two-thirds of the opiate abuser population.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Intoxication from Suboxone occurs when this substance is taken with other substances or taken in a way other than it has been prescribed. When abused for long periods, Suboxone withdrawal symptoms may develop. If you continue using various substances, mixing Suboxone with other central nervous system depressants, complications can be greater than those associated with withdrawal. This combination is a slippery slope and without treatment, the consequences could be fatal, especially&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33625511/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">when alcohol is involved</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Research shows that&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459126/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Suboxone withdrawal symptoms</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;may develop following any dose and most often include:</span></p> <ul><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Nausea</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Vomiting</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Headache</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Flu-like symptoms</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Diarrhea</span></li></ul> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Typically, the higher the dose, the more significant the symptoms are. Also, effects can worsen with other central nervous system depressants, like alcohol or benzodiazepines. In this case, combined drug use is dangerous and can even be life-threatening. If you mix Suboxone with alcohol, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, sedatives, or tranquilizers, </span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://zinniahealth.com/research/overdose-deaths-every-state-during-covid/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">you can overdose or die</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.fda.gov/media/79068/download" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">As reported by the FDA</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">, Suboxone may not be right for you if you have one of several pre-existing health conditions, such as lung issues or have experienced a brain injury. If you have a history of alcoholism or experience hallucinations, this needs to be brought to your physician&#8217;s attention.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><span data-preserver-spaces="true">What Causes Suboxone Withdrawal?</span></h2> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Suboxone is often a drug that&#8217;s taken for long periods. If you have stopped using other opioids and now take Suboxone, if you were to quit cold turkey, you would likely experience Suboxone withdrawal symptoms. Again, this is because Suboxone includes an active opioid component.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">It is important to note that, unlike other opioids, Suboxone has a ceiling effect. This effect means that when given to users who have taken opioids before, you will not experience an increase in effects once you go past a specific dosage. So, taking higher and higher doses will not alter your experience or produce a more significant effect.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.fda.gov/media/79068/download" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Research shows</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;that Suboxone is effective, but it can also lead to physical dependence. Since this drug occupies opioid receptors, sudden cessation can produce withdrawal symptoms.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">To better understand Suboxone withdrawal symptoms, it&#8217;s essential to discover how this drug works. To do so, we must break down each component&#8217;s mechanism of action.&nbsp;</span></p> <ul><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Buprenorphine is an opiate partial agonist</span></li><li><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Naloxone only works if opiates are present in your body</span></li></ul> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Buprenorphine is a long-acting partial agonist that targets&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855417/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">the mu-opioid receptor.</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;In Suboxone, the ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone is 4:1. Buprenorphine is also available without naloxone and is prescribed for pain management. The concept behind Suboxone is that when used as prescribed, it is seen as a medication, not a substance. Like many prescription drugs, when the substance is abused and used in a way that isn&#8217;t directed, issues arise.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">How you administer Suboxone makes a difference in how your body reacts. For example, injecting Suboxone may cause severe withdrawal symptoms, including pain, cramps, vomiting, sleep problems, cravings, and anxiety.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><span data-preserver-spaces="true">How Long Does Suboxone Withdrawal Take?</span></h2> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Physical symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal typically develop within 24 hours after the last dose and generally worsen over the next 72 hours. Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will typically subside after one month. However, psychological dependence may remain, which we address in more detail below.</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">When physical dependence develops, you can expect the worst Suboxone withdrawal symptoms within the first 72 hours. At this point, symptoms will typically subside. Over the next week, you may experience body aches, mood swings, and insomnia.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">These symptoms may continue into the following week when symptoms of depression are most common. For up to a month, cravings and depression may be apparent. However, each individual differs. Some may no longer experience Suboxone withdrawal symptoms after the first week or two. Others may experience&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS)</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">. In this case, subtle symptoms can last for months, even years. These symptoms are often similar to those associated with mood disorders, such as anxiety, mood swings, and poor sleep.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Psychological dependence can make Suboxone withdrawal a more complicated process. In many cases, this is the basis of PAWS. Researchers continue to research whether or not chronic drug use&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/brainchange/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">causes permanent changes in the brain</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">. This complex concept often involves the brain&#8217;s dopamine system and reward pathways. Brain connections are often rewired, with changes lasting long after use. If you stop using Suboxone or other drugs, your brain doesn&#8217;t automatically return to normal. That is why you need ongoing support to reduce your risk of relapse.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">The psychological challenges associated with Suboxone withdrawal are not necessarily triggered by withdrawal itself. Once you withdraw from Suboxone and other substances of abuse, this can cause mental health issues to resurface. For example, when you were using, symptoms of anxiety or&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18646118/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">depression</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;were likely muted. Once substances no longer numb these symptoms, they can be overwhelming.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Once a user is sober, it can also be challenging to face the damage addiction caused. Addiction is a family disease affecting everyone involved. For example, families split up and users lose visitations with their children. Picking up the pieces can be tough, but Suboxone withdrawal is the first step towards a productive, healthy future. When you&#8217;re sober and in ongoing treatment, you can work toward goals, including mending relationships.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><span data-preserver-spaces="true">How To Safely Manage Suboxone Detox</span></h2> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Based on how Suboxone affects the body and brain, taking this substance can result in dependence without addiction. However, the link between Suboxone, dependence, and addiction differs for each user — especially when someone suffers from a pre-existing opioid addiction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">To complete the Suboxone withdrawal process, it&#8217;s recommended that you seek a tapering plan under the guidance of a health professional. Taking this step will lessen the severity of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms. If dependence is apparent, you should not abruptly stop using Suboxone. On average, Suboxone tapering schedules take place over seven to 28 days. For some, a&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24153411/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">slow, flexible tapering schedule</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;is ideal. Doses can be adjusted if uncomfortable symptoms arise.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">However, researchers have also studied the potential benefits of a short taper. For example,&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150159/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">this study</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;found that a seven-day taper was just as effective in treating opioid addiction, showcasing that there&#8217;s no advantage in prolonging taper duration.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">There is no black and white solution here. What works best for one user will not be ideal for the next. An expert facility will help you determine the best course of action based on your circumstances. Not only will you gain access to quality treatment and ongoing support, but you&#8217;ll also often benefit from the type of guidance that ensures optimal success. For example, being encouraged to drink more fluids, eat a balanced diet, incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, get involved in a hobby you love, etc. These small steps can improve your mental and physical health while fueling a more fulfilling life.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">When using Suboxone to reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with other opioids, such as heroin, it&#8217;s important to consider a long-term treatment plan. Suboxone can reduce cravings and heroin withdrawal symptoms, but it does not&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20678551/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">decrease the probability of relapse</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">&nbsp;following detoxification. To ensure long-term recovery, a more comprehensive treatment plan is likely needed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">For example, why did you begin using opioids? Was it for pain? Were you experimenting and here you are, ten years later? When developing a treatment plan that&#8217;s best for you, you&#8217;ll need to work with a multidisciplinary team. Your treatment plan will begin with an assessment period to determine if there&#8217;s a link between your mental health and substance use.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">A wide range of&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://zinniahealth.com/our-values/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">holistic treatment options</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true"> is available, including behavioral treatment, individual therapy, group therapy, family counseling, and more. When you seek the assistance of&nbsp;</span><a class="editor-rtfLink" href="https://zinniahealth.com/about-us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><span data-preserver-spaces="true">a leading substance abuse and mental health facility</span></a><span data-preserver-spaces="true">, you will access evidence-based treatment options, many of which offer a unique approach. There are plenty of treatment options, from art therapy to meditation, adventure therapy to equine-assisted psychotherapy, ensuring an individualized approach.</span></p> <h2><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Take the Next Step</span></h2> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">As someone in recovery, it is important to focus on ongoing support to prevent future relapse and ensure long-term success. Although Suboxone withdrawal rarely leads to severe complications, it is often associated with ongoing opioid abuse, which is incredibly complex and challenging to overcome on your own.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Talk therapy and other forms of evidence-based treatment options are your best bet to overcome the psychological components of addiction. Suboxone withdrawal will help you physically overcome your dependence on opioids and other substances, but this is just the beginning.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Whether you need help identifying your triggers or developing more sustainable coping strategies, a professional facility will help you set and achieve goals on your road to recovery. Also, remember that not beginning the Suboxone withdrawal process when you&#8217;re dependent on several substances of abuse could mean life and death. Do not gamble with your life; help is available.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span data-preserver-spaces="true">Take the next step toward a brighter, more fulfilling future today.&nbsp;</span></p>

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