Despite being used to treat opioid addiction, Suboxone is still an opioid and thus has addictive properties. Individuals may become dependent and experience Suboxone withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing its use. Given that these symptoms often last longer than those of other opioids, detoxing from Suboxone can prove to be quite a challenge.
If you suspect that you’ve become addicted to Suboxone, please know that all is not lost. Even if you’ve fallen victim to the drug that was supposed to help you in the first place, recovery is possible. Learning more about Suboxone withdrawal and detox is the first step toward it.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription opioid used to treat opioid addiction that contains two active ingredients:
- Buprenorphine (80%), a semi-synthetic partial opioid agonist prescribed to relieve pain or treat opioid addiction in medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- Naloxone (20%), an opioid antagonist that quickly reverses an opioid overdose and counters the effects of opioids
Approved by the FDA in 2002, Suboxone comes as a sublingual or buccal film and sublingual tablet. It is also marketed under other brand names, such as Cassipa and Zubsolv, as well as sold as a generic drug.
Suboxone can relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms. Once dissolved in the mouth, it slowly releases buprenorphine into the system.
As a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone attaches to the same opioid receptors as regular opioids, but it doesn’t activate them fully. It alleviates withdrawal symptoms, including cravings, without inducing euphoria. This also gives it a “ceiling effect” that helps prevent Suboxone abuse, as taking it in larger quantities doesn’t enhance its effects.
Despite being designed to treat opioid use disorder (OUD), Suboxone can still lead to abuse, dependence, and addiction, which is why it is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
Although Suboxone is meant to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms, you may experience Suboxone withdrawal symptoms if you quit this medication after taking it for an extended period of time. This is especially likely if you quit Suboxone “cold turkey” instead of gradually reducing the dose.
Like any opioid, Suboxone can lead to tolerance when taken regularly over a prolonged time period. Since tolerance is a sign of physical dependence on opioids, you may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing its use. These symptoms are usually very similar to those of other opioids and may range from mild to severe.
The most common Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are:
- Abdominal cramping
- Bone, joint, and muscle pain
- Difficulty focusing
- Enlarged pupils
- Opioid cravings
- Runny nose
- Trouble sleeping
- Watery eyes
Suboxone abuse can also trigger withdrawal symptoms. Taking it at large doses or injecting it to intensify its effects may cause naloxone to be released into the system, which can induce a state of withdrawal.
Moreover, Suboxone can cause precipitated withdrawal symptoms when taken too early in recovery, i.e., when other opioids are still in the system. To avoid this distressing phenomenon, Suboxone should only be administered when the patient is already experiencing mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline
The Suboxone withdrawal timeline varies based on individual factors such as your age, metabolism, liver function, and how long you’ve been taking this medication, among others. In some cases, Suboxone withdrawal may be mild and last only a day or two. However, since this is a long-acting opioid, the duration of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is usually longer than that of short-acting opioids such as oxycodone.
Let’s take a closer look at a typical Suboxone withdrawal timeline:
Suboxone withdrawal typically starts within the first couple of days after taking the last dose, with physical symptoms such as fever, headache, diarrhea, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. These symptoms are usually the most intense during the first 72 hours after taking the last Suboxone dose.
Most physical Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will slowly begin to subside after reaching their peak. However, you may still experience flu-like symptoms and body aches during the first week of Suboxone withdrawal. Mood swings, anxiety, and insomnia are also very common.
Physical Suboxone withdrawal symptoms should be mostly gone by the end of the first week of withdrawal, though some continue to struggle with them for up to 10 days. As physical symptoms fade away, psychological ones become more intense. You may experience depression, anxiety, and agitation at this point.
Suboxone withdrawal symptoms tend to gradually dissipate within a month after the last dose. However, it’s common for people to struggle with depression and severe cravings for several weeks after quitting Suboxone, which increases the risk of relapse.
Suboxone Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)
Suboxone post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) occurs when people experience lasting withdrawal effects that stretch over weeks, months, and even years. If you suffer from Suboxone withdrawal symptoms for well over a month after quitting your medication, you may have PAWS.
Suboxone PAWS doesn’t commonly present physical symptoms. It usually manifests in psychological withdrawal symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Attention deficit
- Mood swings
- Mental health disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder
Even though the road to recovery for those experiencing PAWS is much longer than that of the typical ex-opioid user, it can still be overcome with the help of medical professionals. Receiving proper treatment for Suboxone PAWS can not only improve the quality of your life but also prevent relapse.
How to Manage Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
The most effective way to manage Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is to seek professional help.
Without medical supervision, Suboxone withdrawal can lead to potentially life-threatening complications, such as extreme dehydration caused by excessive vomiting and diarrhea. It may also exacerbate underlying health issues and mental illnesses, such as depression. For these reasons, it’s in your best interest to seek professional treatment for Suboxone withdrawal.
Going through the Suboxone withdrawal process by yourself also increases the risk of relapse, as not all withdrawal symptoms may be relieved with home remedies. Psychological withdrawal symptoms, in particular, may be difficult to overcome without professional help.
Unfortunately, relapse after Suboxone detoxification—whether in a medical setting or at home—often leads to overdose and death. Due to decreased tolerance to opioids, you may overdose on Suboxone just by taking your regular dose.
It’s essential to make an informed decision when choosing a treatment for Suboxone withdrawal, as not all of them are safe and effective. For instance, Suboxone detox only cleanses the drug out of your system, but it doesn’t repair opioid-induced central nervous system (CNS) changes. As a result, it often leads to ongoing withdrawal symptoms, relapse, and even death.
Risks and Dangers of Taking Suboxone
Taking Suboxone puts you at risk of opioid abuse, dependence, and addiction, even though this medication is supposed to help you heal.
Despite having a “ceiling effect” and a lower potential for abuse than other opioids, Suboxone can still be abused. According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 1 in 5 buprenorphine users (22.2%) have misused this medication in the past year, greatly increasing their risk of addiction.
Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for people to swap one opioid addiction for another due to becoming addicted to opioid replacement drugs, including Suboxone. For this reason, you should always take it as prescribed.
Like any medication, Suboxone can also lead to various side effects, some of which can be potentially life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
Common side effects of Suboxone include:
- Blurry vision
- Sleep disturbances
- Mouth redness or a burning sensation in the mouth/tongue
Call 911 if you or someone you love experiences severe Suboxone side effects, such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Allergic reactions
Suboxone can also cause dental problems, weight loss, or weight gain and affect your coordination. Because of this, you should avoid driving while taking this medication.
Suboxone Rapid Detox
Suboxone rapid detox is a medical treatment that clears Suboxone out of the body within a couple of days. Usually, this treatment involves general anesthesia and opioid antagonist medication, such as naloxone, which is administered intravenously to initiate Suboxone withdrawal.
Although some advanced rapid detox centers claim to get patients off opioids within 24 hours, this method isn’t effective in the long run despite its high price (depending on the facility, rapid detox can cost up to $24,000 and more). It isn’t uncommon for rapid detox patients to relapse, as this treatment doesn’t handle the root cause of addiction but merely manages its symptoms.
At the end of the day, rapid Suboxone detox isn’t a Suboxone addiction treatment. It’s only a medical procedure that quickly removes the drug from your system, neglecting the deep-rooted causes of opioid addiction.
Suboxone Rapid Detox vs. ANR Treatment
Suboxone rapid detox and Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) are vastly different treatments in terms of their results, safety, and effectiveness.
While rapid detox from Suboxone only flushes out the medication from your system, often resulting in continued withdrawal symptoms, the ANR treatment targets the underlying cause of Suboxone addiction—the endorphin-receptor imbalance caused by opioid use.
By modulating your endorphin-receptor system to its normal state, ANR eliminates cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, negating the risk of relapse. Unlike rapid Suboxone detox, this treatment is also always performed in an ICU setting of accredited hospitals by highly skilled, board-certified medical professionals, making it very safe.
Moreover, rapid Suboxone detox disregards patients’ individual needs and medical history. Meanwhile, the ANR treatment is customized to every patient individually. As such, it doesn’t lead to complications and can be safely performed even on patients with underlying health problems, such as heart or liver disease.
In other words, the ANR treatment is far superior to rapid Suboxone detox, as it is exceptionally safe and designed to heal opioid addiction instead of just treating its symptoms.
ANR Opioid Treatment for Suboxone Addiction
Accelerated Neuro-Regulation is a safer alternative to rapid detox that can help you recover from Suboxone dependency!
While many Suboxone detox treatments try to combat the effects of withdrawal head-on, the ANR treatment targets the problem at its core by focusing on the physiologic mechanism behind dependency. ANR is the only medical treatment that is currently able to bring the endorphin-receptor imbalance back to normal levels.
The ANR treatment allows you to recover from Suboxone dependency in a short amount of time. After a short hospital stay, you can return to your daily life without the fear of continued symptoms or relapse!
The ANR Clinic has treatment facilities to provide the supervised Suboxone detox process in:
- DeSoto Memorial Hospital, Arcadia, Florida
- ANR Europe Thun, Switzerland
- Innovate Intelligent Place, Goiânia, Brazil
- New Vision University Hospital, Tbilisi, Georgia
To start your opioid recovery journey today, contact us for a free consultation.
If you want to quit taking Suboxone, don’t do it by yourself. Not only can it lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but it also increases the risk of relapse. Instead, seek help from medical professionals.
Here’s a summary of the key points we covered:
- Suboxone is an opioid-based medication prescribed to treat OUD that can be addictive when used for a long time or misused.
- Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are no different from typical opioid withdrawal symptoms, but they tend to last longer because Suboxone is a long-acting opioid.
- ANR is the safest, fastest, and most effective treatment for Suboxone addiction that eliminates the risk of relapse by tackling the root cause of addiction.
Suboxone Withdrawal & Detox FAQ
Like any opioid, buprenorphine can be addictive. However, being a partial opioid agonist, it is less potent than most other opioids and has a lower potential for addiction. Still, it can lead to an opioid addiction, especially when abused (e.g., crushed and snorted to enhance its effects).
Suboxone can be bad for your liver, as it contains buprenorphine. This opioid can potentially cause mild-to-moderate liver injury when abused. Buprenorphine products, including Suboxone, may not be suitable for people with liver problems due to a higher risk of liver damage.
Being addictive itself, Suboxone has the potential to get you addicted to other opioids, too. For example, if you become addicted to Suboxone and can no longer acquire it legally, you may turn to illicit street opioids to satisfy your addiction.
The symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal typically start within 1–2 days after your last dose and get worse within the first three days of withdrawal. However, they may appear a bit sooner or later depending on how quickly your body breaks down opioids, at what doses you’ve been taking Suboxone, and other individual factors.
The entire Suboxone withdrawal process typically lasts up to a month, with physical symptoms resolving within the first 7–10 days. However, some continue to experience psychological symptoms, such as cravings and depression, for several months or even years.
Yes, Accelerated Neuro-Regulation is a modern and highly effective Suboxone addiction treatment. By restoring the endorphin-receptor balance to regular levels while you’re under sedation, ANR allows you to bypass Suboxone withdrawal altogether and return to your daily life without any withdrawal symptoms or the risk of relapse.
Some common signs of opioid use disorder and drug addiction are experiencing withdrawal symptoms after stopping or reducing drug use, becoming socially withdrawn, and trying to obtain drugs in any possible way—by stealing or forging prescriptions, for example.