What Is Suboxone? 

Suboxone is a drug that comprises buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist. In other words, Suboxone is a combination of a partial opioid and an opioid inhibitor. 

The medication is used to treat opioid addiction and can be given to someone to help them avoid relapse and cravings during rehabilitation and for long-term maintenance of recovery. As per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “There is no maximum recommended duration of maintenance treatment, and for some patients, treatment may continue indefinitely.” The length of treatment is determined on an individual basis.  Most of the data on relapse prevention encourages the use of medication for addiction treatment, or medication-assisted treatment (MAT), for at least 6 months to 1 year.  This is an ongoing conversation with each client based on the severity of their addiction and other life factors. 

Suboxone can cause physical dependence, even when taken as prescribed, and abruptly stopping it may cause withdrawal. For this reason, a taper, or a period of weaning off the medication can be managed under the direction of your provider to avoid withdrawal, if this is the right course of care for you.

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of other opioids. The symptoms of opiate withdrawal in the overwhelming majority of instances aren't fatal. They can, however, be quite unpleasant to bear, to the point that they become a severe impediment to the treatment and may result in a recurrence to drug use to relieve the symptoms. This can be very dangerous and result in overdose. 

Nevertheless, the symptoms of suboxone withdrawal can be avoided or managed. 


Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

The buprenorphine in Suboxone interacts with opioid receptors throughout the body. It's a partial agonist, which means it doesn't have as powerful an effect on opioid receptors as other prescription and illicit opioids. 

If you quit using Suboxone after getting addicted to opioids, you'll notice a chemical imbalance throughout your body. Body aches, vomiting, and high fever are all symptoms you may experience. These symptoms can be relieved if you work with your provider during this process.

The side effects of Suboxone can vary depending on the person. However, if you experience side effects, it is essential to speak with your provider or seek emergency assistance. Side effects may include:

  1. Hot or cold flashes – You may feel a quick, intense sensation of heat or cold throughout your body.

  2. Skin deformities – You may feel uneasy or as if bugs are creeping on your skin. You might also get goosebumps now and then.

  3. Tiredness — As your body flushes out Suboxone, you may experience incredible weariness.

  4. Muscle soreness – This might take the form of soreness and cramps all over your body.

  5. Suboxone cravings – It's normal to have physical and mental Suboxone cravings.

  6. Sweating - Sweating (especially night sweats) is frequent during withdrawal because of Suboxone's dehydrating characteristics. Sweating is another way for your body to flush Suboxone out of your system.

  7. Loss of appetite – Even if you don't feel like eating, a high-quality rehab center will guarantee that you are properly nourished.

  8. Diarrhea – Diarrhea is not only unpleasant, but it also dehydrates you. To counteract it, you'll need to drink plenty of water and potentially take certain drugs to help your body acclimatize to life without Suboxone.

  9. Sleep issues – Because insomnia can lead to additional issues, experts encourage proper sleep for all detox patients. Sleeping pills can help you obtain some much-needed slumber.

  10. Nausea – Vomiting is a common withdrawal symptom of medicines that affect the brain's opioid receptors, notwithstanding how unpleasant they are.

When Does Suboxone Withdrawal Peak?

Suboxone withdrawal will follow a different timeline than previous withdrawals. As buprenorphine is a long-acting opioid, it can take days or weeks for withdrawal symptoms to manifest.

Suboxone withdrawal usually starts in two to four days, peaks in three to five days, and ends in seven days. However, psychological effects can last for several weeks. Depression, loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, and drug cravings are examples of the psychological effects one can experience during Suboxone withdrawal and for a substantial period of time after the withdrawal period. 

The Timeline of Suboxone Withdrawal 

The length of your Suboxone withdrawal will be determined by personal circumstances. You will have milder effects if you taper off the medicine. If you quit cold turkey, you may have more severe withdrawal symptoms.

1-3 Days

Once you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, they will get worse until they reach their peak, usually within the first 3 days. Fever, body pains, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are all possible symptoms.

4 Days -1 Week

Over the next few days, you'll start to feel better, and by the end of the first week, you'll be free of most of your symptoms. However, some symptoms, particularly psychological ones, such as anxiety, depression, or drug cravings may begin to appear or worsen. These may last for a long time.

After Two Weeks

Anxiety, despair, and drug cravings may persist long after your initial withdrawal phase has subsided in some circumstances. These concerns might need to be addressed during drug rehabilitation, treatment, or with a counselor.

How Long Do Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal Last?

Most physical symptoms of withdrawal will go away within a month, but cognitive reliance may remain. 

The first 72 hours of Suboxone withdrawal are the most difficult to get through. The majority of physical symptoms appear at this time. Then, in the first week after stopping Suboxone, symptoms usually fade to include overall body soreness, insomnia, and mood changes. Depression is the most common symptom after the second week. Suboxone users would most likely still be feeling extreme cravings and sadness after a month.

The month after discontinuing Suboxone is the most vulnerable period as users face a high risk of relapse. 

What Helps Suboxone Withdrawal?

To deal with withdrawal, you might use a variety of methods and strategies. Some treatments are available at home, whereas others are only offered at a treatment center or through virtual care with Confidant.

It is actually very important to visit a doctor or therapist during the Suboxone withdrawal phase because they can offer you the kind of help to improve this process. Addiction counselors can assist you in identifying and managing any negative emotions you may be experiencing during withdrawal. Doctors specializing in addiction medicine will know what to advise for Suboxone withdrawal and can point you in the right direction or manage a taper process with you. 

No matter where you are, you should practice the following healthy behaviors:

  1. Exercise – Maintaining a healthy body aids in maintaining a healthy mind. Endorphins, the brain's "feel-good" chemicals, are increased through exercise. This means that exercise can help you feel happier and more satisfied.

  2. Eat healthily – It is impossible to stress the importance of good nutrition during withdrawal. Your body is wailing in pain, but you can calm it down by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and nutritious grains. Even if you don't feel hungry, eat something.

  3. Hydrate – You will likely get dehydrated while your body strives to remove Suboxone from your system through vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating. It's critical to drink plenty of water throughout the detox to ensure your safety.