suboxone abuse facts
Suboxone is a medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. It is commonly used to treat opioid dependence and addiction. Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist, meaning it has opiate qualities. As such, people who take Suboxone for a long time or those who abuse this medication may become physically dependent on it.
Suboxone withdrawal occurs when someone who is dependent on the medication stops taking it abruptly. While it is highly effective at treating opioid withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings, Suboxone itself can also be addictive. When people are ready to quit taking this medication, they should work with their doctor to develop a tapering schedule or enroll in a Suboxone detox program.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a combination medication that comes in the form of a sublingual film. Containing buprenorphine and naloxone, it works to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms and help alleviate drug cravings. It was originally approved by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of opioid abuse and is now one of the most popular treatment medications today.
Suboxone is not meant to be the sole treatment for someone’s opioid addiction. The medication works best when combined with a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program that utilizes behavioral therapy and peer support groups.
Even though Suboxone is used to treat addiction, the drug itself can cause physical dependency. As a result, people who have been on Suboxone for extended periods of time may need to attend a detox program when they stop taking the medication. Fortunately, Suboxone withdrawal isn’t nearly as painful or difficult as opioid withdrawal.
suboxone withdrawal timeline
How long Suboxone withdrawal lasts varies greatly from one person to the next. Overall, symptoms will peak within the first 72 hours and subside after one month.
Compared to other opioids, buprenorphine is long-acting. With such a long half-life, withdrawal symptoms can last longer than they would with other opioids. At the same time, it takes longer for initial symptoms to occur. Because Suboxone produces such a long, drawn-out withdrawal process, it’s essential to have proper support available during this time to avoid relapse.
Here is a general withdrawal timeline of what people can expect during Suboxone detox.
- Hours 6-12: Between 6 and 12 hours after taking the last dose, initial symptoms of muscle pain, nausea, and diarrhea may set in.
- Days 1-3: The initial symptoms begin to become more pronounced and other flu-like symptoms will set in
- Days 4-7: Symptoms will have already peaked by day 4. People will experience insomnia, body aches, restlessness, and psychological symptoms.
- Weeks 1-4: After the first week, many physical withdrawal symptoms begin to subside. However, after the second week, psychological symptoms may be at their worst. Individuals may experience extreme cravings and severe depression.
- After 1 month: Nearly all physical withdrawal symptoms should be over, but some cravings and depression may persist. Ongoing care and relapse prevention is necessary during this time.