How Long Is Suboxone Withdrawal and Is It Bad?

Suboxone is a medication that is administered via a dissolving strip or tablet that goes under the tongue. This medicine is meant to help with the withdrawal and craving effects of opioid addiction. 

When it comes to withdrawal from an addictive substance like opioids, it can be a tough experience from headaches, chills, and nausea to psychological effects. Suboxone is used as a medication-assisted treatment that works to help combat those ugly symptoms of withdrawal and make the detox process smooth and more comfortable.

In general, Suboxone works by filling in the opioid receptors in our brains, which prevents opioids from causing our “feel good” chemicals to flood our minds. As a result, it can help eliminate those cravings and work well alongside other treatment programs that focus on underlying conditions and behavioral therapies.

Suboxone is also known as a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Check out our other article to learn more about the details of Suboxone, how it works, and when it’s prescribed.

There are a lot of common questions that we get asked when it comes to Suboxone treatment; some of these are:

  • Can you go into withdrawal from Suboxone?
  • How long does withdrawal last?
  • What are opioid withdrawal symptoms, and are they the same for Suboxone?
  • What are the downsides to stopping Suboxone, and can you quit cold turkey?

When it comes to withdrawal as a result of taking Suboxone, there is the potential for withdrawal. But what does that mean?

Suboxone Detox and Withdrawal Timeline: What Does It Look Like?

Suboxone is technically considered a long term or long-acting opioid drug. This means that it can stay in your bloodstream for extended periods and, in some cases, longer than other opioids. 

This is why the withdrawal symptoms associated with Suboxone are typically seen roughly 1-3 days after taking your last dose. The 72 hours that follow your previous dose can be relatively smooth and comfortable, which is why Suboxone withdrawal is not considered life-threatening. 

Usually, Suboxone detox follows a sort of pattern for everyone.

During the first few days (1-3) is when the initial symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal begin. These include:

  • chills or excessive sweating
  • insomnia
  • nausea and other stomach cramps
  • runny nose or watery eyes

The next few days (3-5) are typically known as the peak for withdrawal symptoms. This is especially when you may notice an increase in emotional side effects like:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation and difficult focusing
  • “Cloudy” thoughts 
  • Mild drug cravings

Of course, the physical symptoms and other withdrawal effects can be different for each person and can realistically occur at different times for everyone.

After the initial period of withdrawal, the first five days after the last dose is when the symptoms of withdrawal start to taper off and ease. During the first few weeks into the next month is when most of the symptoms of physical dependence on Suboxone leave while some of the emotional symptoms listed above may linger.

The good news is that withdrawal from Suboxone is usually not as severe as other opioids and can be minimized if done correctly. Additionally, withdrawal symptoms are rare as most MAT protocols perform what is called a taper, where you are gradually provided lower and lower doses. By the time you stop taking any, your dose is so low that any withdrawal symptoms are unlikely.

Coping With  Withdrawal Symptoms

The best way to deal with the withdrawal effects of Suboxone use for the treatment of opioid addiction is to follow your prescriber’s guidance, precisely as given.

Most providers will do their best to slowly taper off your dose of Suboxone rather than having you abruptly stop. This means that they will have you progressively take lower and lower doses until you are off the medication completely.

This helps to ease the brain into not having Suboxone any longer. Suboxone is known as a partial opioid agonist. That is a fancy way of saying that it seeks out and reacts with the opioid receptors in our brains. 

So when we simply stop taking it, our brain can feel overwhelmed and confused, which leads to the symptoms of withdrawal that we talked about earlier.

Of course, another right way to handle these symptoms, aside from always listening to your prescriber and taking the medication as directed, is also to be involved in substance use treatment at a quality care facility, like Pinnacle Peak Recovery.

Being involved in a program that is designed to handle the addiction and recovery process can help you to be in the best possible place for all the hard parts of withdrawal. Addiction treatment centers are also well equipped to handle the detoxification of all substances, including Suboxone. 

This means that the on-site team will be prepared to help you best handle those withdrawal symptoms and process the emotional side of them as well.

What Helps With Suboxone Withdrawal?

Other things that have been found to help Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are the use of some medications to help alleviate specific symptoms. These include:

  • Mood Stabilizers like antidepressants to help eliminate extended anxiety associated with the withdrawal and detoxification of substances in the body
  • Sleep aids for those struggling to stay asleep or fall asleep at night
  • Medicines for stomach upset, cramps, nausea, diarrhea or constipation
  • Pain relievers, known as Nonsteroidal Analgesics,  can help deal with the back and joint pains.

These can all be helpful for the withdrawal symptoms. As before, we recommend that you consult your addiction care team and your provider before starting or stopping any medications during the withdrawal phase of Suboxone or any medication-assisted treatment.

Getting all the answers before committing to a specific treatment program can be intimidating and time-consuming. At Pinnacle Peak, we know it is also essential for helping to find the right care program for yourself or your loved ones. 

We created a series of informative pages that focus on Suboxone rehab programs and all the pieces that make up medication-assisted treatment to provide you with the information you need to have the confidence you want when selecting a program.

If you are ready for the next steps of recovery and want to speak to one of our knowledgeable and compassionate care members, then call us today at 480-787-2409.

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FAQs

-How long does precipitated withdrawal last?

Withdrawal can last anywhere from a few days up to a month. During this time, symptoms can vary and will also peak during the withdrawal period, usually during the first week.

-How long does it take to get sick from Suboxone?

In general, most people will not get sick from Suboxone. Suboxone can, however, cause mild to moderate symptoms of withdrawal if not tapered down. During this time, withdrawal symptoms can appear during the first three days after the last dose of Suboxone and last for up to one month.

-Can you get sick from Suboxone?

Most people will not get sick from Suboxone. In rare cases, some people may experience allergic reactions to Suboxone, or when coming off of the medication, some individuals may experience symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms of withdrawal are normal, and your prescribing provider will be able to help you address these symptoms and know if they are normal for you.

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