Suboxone Withdrawal and Detox
The speed of onset and total duration of Suboxone effects are comparatively longer than many types of abused opioid drugs. These characteristics help decrease the potential for addiction and influence the timeline of opioid withdrawal syndrome. The drug is longer acting, therefore the onset of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is delayed and the duration is slightly longer than many other opioids. Suboxone and buprenorphine are partial agonists, which generally correlates to milder withdrawal symptoms than methadone. Symptom severity and duration is influenced by dosage, duration of use, physical and mental health comorbidities and co-occurring substance abuse. Withdrawal symptoms typically start between 24 and 72 hours after the last dose and continue for about 10 days.1,2
Common Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
- Body aches
- Muscle cramping
- Dilated pupils
- Intense opioid cravings1
Common Buprenorphine Withdrawal Symptoms
- Leg restlessness
- Dilated pupils
- Watery eyes
- Cold or flu-like symptoms2
Suboxone Detox Treatment
Detox usually involves medically supervised drug tapering. The dose is sequentially reduced over a predetermined amount of time until the body is free of the drug. Clonidine, a medication prescribed for hypertension, has shown some success in the management of troubling opioid withdrawal effects such as anxiety and flu-like symptoms (e.g. sweating and aches).1
Due to the severity of the symptoms, it is common for individuals to relapse early in the detox process. Professionally supervised detox and emotional support are key factors in boosting success rates of Suboxone addiction detox. After detox, it is essential for clients to participate in suboxone/buprenorphine abuse treatment in a structured environment free of stress and triggers, focusing on the psychological ramifications of abuse. A wide array of behavioral and alternative therapies can help clients deal with everyday stressors and learn healthier coping mechanisms.
Detox During Pregnancy
The Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Research (MOTHER) trial was conducted on 131 pregnant women addicted to opioids including heroin or prescription pain medication, with low rates of other illicit drug use. Compared to methadone, buprenorphine was acceptable for managing opioid dependence during pregnancy. No statistical differences were noted in maternal outcome between buprenorphine and methadone, although buprenorphine resulted in less severe cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome.3
- Suboxone Withdrawal. Drug Abuse website. http://drugabuse.com/library/suboxone-detox-withdrawal/ Accessed February 8, 2017.
- How long does buprenorphine withdrawal last? Addiction Blog website. http://prescription-drug.addictionblog.org/how-long-does-buprenorphine-withdrawal-last/ Published September 11, 2013. Accessed February 8, 2017.
- Jumah NA. Rural, Pregnant, and Opioid Dependent: A Systematic Review. Subst Abuse. 2016 Jun 20;10(Suppl 1):35-41. doi: 10.4137/SART.S34547.