Suboxone Withdrawal: Timeline & Symptoms
When a person attempts to stop using an addictive substance, they may experience withdrawal. The symptoms of withdrawal can be uncomfortable, mimic illness, and generally leave the person feeling exhausted.
Withdrawal is affected by many factors, and everyone experiences withdrawal differently.
This article will explore the effects and timeline of Suboxone withdrawal, and to get help if you or a loved one has lost control of their prescription opioid use.
In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved Suboxone as a treatment to help people suffering from opioid addiction taper off the substance and become sober. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, which blocks the uptake of large amounts of opioids in the brain.
Since Suboxone was approved for prescription use, however, there are more reports of this medication being misused – either recreationally or diverted (sold illegally for illicit use).
Even when used as directed, people can develop a dependence on Suboxone.
Suboxone is intended to be used as part of a comprehensive opioid addiction detox and treatment program. It is not sufficient to simply take Suboxone and hope to recover from opioid addiction. The standard of care typically involves a combination of evidence-based therapies, including counseling and treatment medications for opioid addiction.
If a person has been misusing Suboxone, professional help may be needed to detox from the medication. Medical oversight is critical during the Suboxone withdrawal process, since people who need to withdraw from Suboxone generally have a history of opiate abuse.
Attempts to detox at home and “cold turkey” have much lower success rates than medical detox.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
Suboxone is designed to ease withdrawal symptoms for people working to overcome opioid addictions. When use is supervised by a medical professional and therapy is also given, Suboxone is effective at reducing cravings and lessening the severity of opiate withdrawal symptoms.
In some rare cases, people withdrawing from Suboxone report hallucinations.
Timeline for Withdrawal
Buprenorphine, one of the two active ingredients in Suboxone, has one of the longest half-lives for partial or full opioid agonists. The fact that it lasts so long in the body is a benefit when used as a prescription, because it helps to reduce cravings for stronger opioids for longer periods of time.
However, for a person addicted to Subutex or Suboxone, the longer half-life means withdrawal can take longer.
Buprenorphine’s half-life is 37 hours. By comparison, full opioid agonists, like morphine, typically have a half-life of 2-7 hours.
While this means that Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will not begin the same day, it could impact how long the drug takes to leave the body.
Other factors can impact how long any medication, like Suboxone, takes to fully leave the body, including:
- How much of the drug the person took to get high.
- How long the person abused the medication.
- Age and body fat composition.
- Liver function. (Suboxone is not recommended for people with reduced liver function.)
- Urinary pH. (A person with low urine pH typically excretes Suboxone more quickly.)
- Presence of other drugs in the system, like alcohol or cocaine.
Suboxone metabolites can remain in the body for up to 2 weeks, but generally clear completely after that point.
Psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and cravings, can last longer and potentially reappear years later. Psychological withdrawal is a large part of the reason medical detox and subsequent individual and group therapy are so important.
Risks of Suboxone Withdrawal
When a person attempts to quit an addiction without medical oversight, some complications can occur. Medically supervised detox helps to ensure the patient is as safe and comfortable as possible, and can monitor the risk any severe withdrawal symptoms of complications.
People who attempt to go “cold turkey” are also more likely to relapse. This can be especially dangerous if individuals have flushed all Suboxone from their systems, and then take the same dose they once used to get high. Because the body is no longer tolerant of the drug, this behavior increases the risk of an overdose.
At Recovery First Treatment Center near Miami, we offer medical detox for opioid addiction, alcohol, and many other substances.
For more information about the quality programs at our inpatient detox and rehab facility in Hollywood, Florida, contact us today at . Our admissions team can answer any questions you may have about how to pay for rehab or using insurance to pay for rehab.
Opioid addiction is treatable. Let us help you begin the path to recovery.