Boston Medical Detox
May 10, 2017

Learn about the Suboxone withdrawal symptoms

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can be equally as severe as detoxing from heroin or other opiate drugs. However, with the right rehab treatment it’s possible to avoid the worst of any symptoms associated with the Suboxone withdrawal process.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the trade name for a prescription medication formulated from buprenorphine and naloxone. The formulation can be highly effective when it’s used exactly as it was prescribed.

However, as the medication is a narcotic some people choose to abuse it. Some people will crush the medication and snort it or try to dissolve it so it can be injected into a vein. Other users may choose to use Suboxone as a way to stave off withdrawal symptoms between doses of heroin or other types of opiate drugs.

The naloxone component of the drug counteracts any of the narcotic effects the user hoped to achieve, but also helps reduce the risk of accidental overdose.

How Is Suboxone Used?

Suboxone is intended as a treatment medication for people detoxing from other opiate drugs under medical supervision. A medically-assisted detox program is intended to alleviate the worst of any symptoms associated with detoxing from opiates.

Over a period of time, the dosage of Suboxone is gradually tapered down. By the end of the treatment program the recovering person should be free from both drugs.

Getting through Suboxone Withdrawal

Even when used exactly as prescribed, there is still a risk that some people may become dependent on the medication. If a person with an opiate dependency tries to stop taking the drug abruptly, it’s likely they will experience a range of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms.

The symptoms associated with Suboxone withdrawal are almost identical to those of detoxing from heroin or other opiate drugs.

Some common symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal can include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Bone aches and muscle pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Flulike symptoms (runny nose, sneezing, fever, chills, heavy sweating)
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Increased heart rate
  • Agitation and irritation
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Depression

Someone quitting heroin by going cold turkey might feel as though the symptoms of detox are more intense, they’re shorter in duration and begin to subside much sooner. This is because heroin has a half-life of just a few minutes.

By comparison, the half-life of the treatment medication is between 24 and 60 hours. As a result, the duration of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can extend for a significantly longer period of time as compared to detoxing from other opiate drugs.

How Long Does Suboxone Withdrawal Last?

The length of time it takes to complete Suboxone withdrawal will vary depending on a range of different factors. These can include the length of use, the severity of dependency, the dosage being taken, and whether the person is taking any other substances at the same time.

It’s also worth noting that the worst of any Suboxone withdrawal symptoms may only emerge if the person tries to quit use by going ‘cold turkey. By comparison, if the person enters into a specialist drug rehab center that provides Suboxone withdrawal help, some of the more unpleasant symptoms can be alleviated.

Suboxone withdrawal help programs can provide medical supervision and monitoring while the person is slowly and safely tapered off the drug. However, detox is only the first stage in a comprehensive rehab treatment program.

In order to get clean and stay sober over the long term, rehab centers also introduce a combination of therapies, counseling sessions, and relapse prevention strategies. Suboxone withdrawal help programs are designed to provide a recovering person with all the tools and resources needed to get clean and stay sober over the long term.