The uses of Suboxone medication and its dangers
Suboxone is an opioid medication that is often prescribed by a health professional to treat opioid dependence, physical cravings, and addiction. Known colloquially as ‘Subs’, Suboxone contains a mixture of buprenorphine and naloxone that aims to aid in the recovery process through the controlled maintenance of opioid dependence.
Naloxone, a drug that is also used to treat those experiencing an opioid overdose, can have effects when used on its own, particularly if the user is already experiencing opioid dependence. In such an instance, the user may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include deterioration of mental health, severe drug cravings, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, and more.
the negative effects, naloxone produces as a stand-alone drug, in the case of Suboxone, it is combined with buprenorphine to create a drug with less risk of side effects. This provides an option to assist addicts in weaning off of stronger opioids more easily. Suboxone can be used to manage the symptoms of withdrawal, whether prescription opioids, painkillers like codeine, or illegal opiates such as heroin.
When used as prescribed, Suboxone is generally safe, although side effects are not uncommon. Suboxone for opioid withdrawal treatment is considered a type of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or ‘opioid replacement therapy has been proven effective for many as a form of harm reduction, albeit not without risk. Other drugs usedmedication-assisted programs include methadone, buprenorphine, and Subutex.
One of the greatest risks of taking Suboxone or other MAT-type for opioid addiction is becoming addicted to Suboxone itself. When a person becomes addicted to Suboxone, they’ve effectively swapped one addiction for another.
What is Suboxone withdrawal or cravings?By understanding how Suboxone works in the brain, we can gain insight into why it can become addictive instead of helping in recovery from opioid use disorder and withdrawal.
Effectively, behaves way as other by binding to the brain’s opioid receptors satisfying the brain’s need for those substances. As a result, it minimizes physical cravings, psychological cravings, and other symptoms of drug withdrawal.
At the molecular level, Suboxone is exceptionally ‘sticky’, meaning it can remain attached to the brain’s opioid receptors for several days. This makes it difficult for other opioids to attach to these endorphin receptors. Even if a person relapses, they will not be able to experience the same ‘high’, as there will be fewer receptors available to bind with. This can present a danger as someone who relapses might believe they need a higher dosage of their drug of choice, which can lead to increased substance abuse and/or overdose.
As touched upon earlier, Suboxone is a ‘partial opioid agonist’. This is different from other prescription opiates, such as prescription painkillers, fentanyl, or heroin, which are ‘full agonists’. In other words, when taken as prescribed, Suboxone does not provide effects of opioids that one might expect, such as a feeling of being high. Instead, it simply satisfies the brain’s craving for the drug by binding with the endorphin or opioid receptors. This means that it isn’t favored as a method of acute or chronic pain relief. While the drug may not exacerbate addiction as much as other opioid counterparts, it still has the potential to cause withdrawal if the user attempts to stop using it.
Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawalAs with any opioid, quitting a partial agonist like Suboxone following an extended period of drug can cause unwanted withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may be more severe if the user attempts to detox from Suboxone by quitting cold turkey or within a short period, rather than following a tapering schedule using smaller and smaller dosages under medical supervision or receiving withdrawal treatment at ANR Clinic.
Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are much like other opiate withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms like fever, runny nose, headache, chills, and sweats
- Stomach cramps and pain
- Body aches
- Pain in the abdomen
- Changes in blood pressure
- Insomnia or restlessness
- Muscle aches and pain
- Chronic pain in the joints
- Chronic pain in the bones
- Dilated pupils
- Tremors or twitching
- Anxiety, depression, or emergence/exacerbation of behavioral health conditions. Substance abuse and mental health disorders are closely linked.
While these symptoms of withdrawal are completely normal, they are often uncomfortable and always undesirable. Seeking withdrawal treatment at the ANR Clinic can allow you to stop using Suboxone while bypassing these unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms quickly, without the need to pursue constant relapse prevention.
Suboxone withdrawal timeline – road to recovery
The path to recovery from Suboxone withdrawal is different for everyone some may experience relatively minor, common withdrawal symptoms, others may experience a heightened severity of withdrawal symptoms. Management of opioid withdrawal can come down to the individual themselves, their preexisting level of mental health, height, body weight, and the type of addiction/withdrawal treatment they choose for Suboxone detox.
However, the typical timeline for withdrawing from Suboxone is expected to be as follows for most people:
Days 2-3People in recovery can expect the onset of withdrawal symptoms to begin 2 to 3 days after their last dose of Suboxone. Opioid withdrawal effects at this point can include flu-like symptoms such as sweating and fever/chills, as well as suppressed appetite and diarrhea.
include insomnia, mood swings, severe opioid cravings, and the continuation of gastric issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
Most physical withdrawal symptoms will have begun to subside by this stage. However, this is often where the intensity of psychological symptoms begins to ramp up. Intense cravings, insomnia, anxiety, and depression can all present themselves strongly as the user is left reeling from the actions that came as a result of their drug use and acute withdrawal.
Post-Acute pioid ithdrawal yndrome (PAWS)
Although the effects of Suboxone will generally last no more than a month, outliers may fall victim to post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). PAWS can have lasting withdrawal effects that stretch over weeks, months, or even years. PAWS doesn’t commonly present physical symptoms, with typical effects pertaining more to the likes of attention deficit, indifference, lethargy, mood swings, and 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. PAWS is frequently defeated by users who learn to deal with their symptoms as time goes on, and this is more achievable with the help of medical professionals that can offer clinical care such as that provided by ANR clinic.
Suboxone withdrawal treatment at a medical detox center
Suboxone is a prevalent treatment that is often prescribed to inhibit cravings and prevent relapse. Unfortunately, despite its popularity among medical professionals, the Suboxone MAT has just a 40-60% ‘sobriety’ rate after one year of treatment. Add to this, the recent trend of using Suboxone as a tool for ‘chopping’ (whereby the drug is taken between other opioid doses in an attempt to avoid a physical dependence on opioids), and it is clear to see the dangers of the drug and how it can lead to both dependency and addiction.
If you find yourself addicted to Suboxone, know that it is not your fault and that help is available. However, any treatment that fails to address the endorphin-receptor imbalance in the brain of the addicted individual is not taking the root cause of opioid dependency or addiction into consideration. It is nearly impossible to live a normal, fulfilling life when the brain is left in a state of chemical.
ANR treatment is the only medical treatment that is currently able to bring the endorphin-receptor imbalance back to normal levels. While many detox treatments will try to combat the effects of withdrawal head-on, ANR treatment targets the problem at its core by focusing on the physiologic mechanism behind dependency. Consequently, ANR detox allows patients a full recovery in a small amount of time, so that they can return to their daily lives without the fear of relapse or continued symptoms.
ANR Clinic has treatment facilities to provide the supervised Suboxone detox process in:
- DeSoto Memorial Hospital, Arcadia, Florida
- ANR Europe Thun, Switzerland
- New Vision University Hospital, Tbilisi, Georgia
While Suboxone is often used as a treatment for opiate addiction, it can be addictive itself. This means that it does have the potential to cause addiction to other opiates too. In the instance that an addict is unable to get the drug, they may turn to illicit street opioids to satisfy their Suboxone addiction.
Suboxone withdrawal is likely to begin presenting symptoms 2-3 days after the user’s last dose. However, this timeline is dependent on many factors, including the addiction treatment (if any) that the patient uses, and their health circumstances.
Typically, the withdrawal process will last up to a week for most people. However, those in recovery may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome which can last weeks, months, or even years. The length of withdrawal can often depend on the individual themselves and the nature of their drug use, but it can also be influenced by the treatment options they use. The recovery period lasts only a few days at an ANR treatment center.
At the ANR Clinic, we offer an opioid addiction treatment program, not a therapy. is an extremely effective treatment that treats addiction to Suboxone and all opioids, not just Suboxone, by restoring the endorphin-receptor balance to regular levels. It is a much faster addiction treatment than other programs such as inpatient detoxification, long-term treatment programs, behavioral therapy, intensive outpatient rehab, and even medically assisted treatments using medicine like Suboxone methadone.
There are many signs that you can look out for to help identify substance use disorder and addiction to opioids. See here to learn more about opioid addiction and physical dependency to prescription medication.