Suboxone Withdrawal

  1. Table of ContentsPrint
  2. Signs of Withdrawal
  3. How Does Suboxone Detox Work?
  4. Why Should I Enter a Suboxone Detox Program?
  5. How to Find a Suboxone Detox Center

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Suboxone is a medication approved for the treatment of opioid addiction and dependence. As part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) regimen, Suboxone can help return the recovering individual to a life free of the intense highs and lows associated with opioid intoxication and withdrawal.

Suboxone is comprised of two substances:

  • Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, interacts with the same opioid receptors with which drugs like heroin and OxyContin act but is incapable of eliciting the same intense high that those drugs are able to do. In this way, it can help to ease the withdrawal process and minimize the risk for a secondary Buprenorphine addiction.
  • Naloxone, an opioid antagonist that blocks the opioid receptors, discourages continued abuse of strong opioid drugs because it mutes the highs that would otherwise be experienced.

Like all opioids, Suboxone has a risk of addiction and dependence – this is mainly true when the drug is abused (taking too much or administering it via alternate methods like injection). If you’ve begun to misuse Suboxone, or if you fear you’ve become addicted to Suboxone, there are options to help you rid your body of the drug and get off opioids for good.


Signs of Withdrawal

Suboxone’s speed of onset and total duration of action are comparatively longer than many types of abused opioid drugs. These characteristics help to decrease addictive potential but, additionally, influence the time course of the associated opioid withdrawal syndrome. The long-acting quality of Suboxone will delay the onset of withdrawal symptoms and extend them somewhat longer than many other opioids.

The symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal commonly begin between 24 and 72 hours after the last dose and last for approximately 10 days, according to one study. During Suboxone withdrawal, the following symptoms are common:


The full extent of the symptoms will be influenced by factors like:

  • The average dose of Suboxone used.
  • The duration of use.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions.
  • If Suboxone was mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
  • The presence of mental health disorders.


  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Body aches and cramping.
  • Insomnia.
  • Sweating.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Intense opioid cravings.


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How Does Suboxone Detox Work?

Studies, research, and general practice have shown that there is no one path regarding how to detox from Suboxone. Instead, there seem to be many variations with differing levels of long-term success as indicated by the level of comfort throughout the detox process and continued abstinence for periods following tapering.

At the onset of detox treatment, you will go through an intake process in which the severity of your substance use and your general health will be evaluated. Using the information you’ve given them, the staff will determine an appropriate treatment option for you. It is important that you disclose any physical or mental health issues prior to treatment, as this could affect your care. Also, be honest about how much of the drug you’ve been taking.

Detox usually involves a taper off the drug, which means that the staff will sequentially reduce the dose of Suboxone over a predetermined amount of time until your body is completely rid of the drug. During this process, you may be given medications to ease withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine – a medication used to reduce high blood pressure – has shown success in the management of certain troublesome opioid withdrawal effects like anxiety as well as the more flu-like symptoms, such as sweating, aches, and sweating.

What Is Rapid Detox?

Rapid detox procedures were developed in an attempt to limit the duration of uncomfortable withdrawal and expedite the detoxification process, from start to finish. Some of these programs promise detox completion in 3 days or less, and employ techniques such as general anesthesia to sedate the withdrawing individual. Despite these claims however, there is little evidence to show that it eases withdrawal more than other methods and may even be dangerous.


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Why Should I Enter a Suboxone Detox Program?

Supervised detox is a helpful tool for Suboxone-addicted individuals for many reasons. Perhaps the most noteworthy is that a supervised detox program will tailor your treatment to your unique needs, so you get the appropriate care for you.

Qualified staff members at detox centers will provide you comfort by advising you of what will happen when you begin withdrawal and holding your hand through the process. When detoxing alone, you have to go through a difficult withdrawal period without the benefit of expert guidance you’d find in a structured program.

When it comes to detoxing from any substance, one of the key features is safety. A detox center will follow a progression that is safe and comfortable for the individual now, which will lead to increased success in the future (there are links to low discomfort during withdrawal and increased periods of recovery in the long-term). Detox centers can improve your chances of continued abstinence from Suboxone by:

  • Adjusting the treatment plan when needed.
  • Adding other medications when deemed appropriate.
  • Providing mental health services to manage the psychological impact.
  • Creating a supportive environment that is free from triggers and stress.


How to Find a Suboxone Detox Center

Like with any treatment, Suboxone programs will vary from each other. Some people will benefit more from inpatient detox while others will find more value in completing detox on an outpatient basis. Still, others will utilize a blend of services. This is often preferred because detox alone will not treat addiction, as it is purely medical. Continued treatment in a longer-term inpatient or outpatient program will help you discover the thoughts and behaviors fueling your addiction and teach you new skills to avoid relapse and find success in your recovery.

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When seeking treatment, make sure you know what you’re looking for. Consider if you want to:

  • Completely detox in an inpatient setting.
  • Stay close to home or travel far for treatment.
  • Continue working while in treatment.
  • Find a program that incorporates other medications.
  • Use insurance or pay out of pocket for treatment.
  • Transfer to another addiction treatment program upon completion of detox. (Often, you can get a referral to another center or program for continued care).

You don’t have to continue living with opioid addiction. If you’re ready to begin your new life free from Suboxone, call us at 1-888-744-0069Who Answers?. A treatment admissions advisor will help you sort through your options to find a program that is best tailored to your specific needs.


Sources:

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  3. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//SMA15-4131/SMA15-4131.pdf
  4. Ling, W., Hillhouse, M., Domier, C., Doraimani, G., Hunter, J., Thomas, C., . . . Bilangi, R. (n.d.). Buprenorphine tapering schedule and illicit opioid use. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3150159/
  5. Opiate withdrawal: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000949.htm
  6. A randomized, double-blind evaluation of buprenorphine taper duration in primary prescription opioid abusers. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24153411
  7. Study Finds Withdrawal No Easier With Ultrarapid Opiate Detox. (2006). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2006/10/study-finds-withdrawal-no-easier-ultrarapid-opiate-detox
  8. Tapering and Discontinuing Opioids. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://www.healthquality.va.gov/guidelines/Pain/cot/OpioidTaperingFactSheet23May2013v1.pdf