Suboxone is a synthetic drug that is made to treat people who are addicted to opiates such as oxycodone and heroin. Oftentimes suboxone as opiate detox aid is used, but it can also be an addictive substance, to which you will need to detox from suboxone.
The drug Suboxone consists of two primary compounds: buprenorphine and naloxone. The main purpose of Suboxone is to prevent opioid-addicted people from going into withdrawal as they attempt to detox from drugs.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription medicine that is used to treat adults addicted to opioids. Whether they have been prescribed opioids or have been illegally used, this treatment can be combined with counseling and behavioral therapy for ultimate success. Buprenorphine and naloxone can help to deter the abuse of opioids when used in conjunction.
Typically Suboxone is used to help people get off of opioid addiction, but it may have addictive properties as well. This means that some people may need to eventually detox from Suboxone as a final stage of getting completely clean. This is known to be uncomfortable because there are no other medications that can be used to assist this detox.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it binds to opioid receptors. Because the effects of Buprenorphine are not as strong as drugs like heroin, the effects wear out at a certain point. This is called the “ceiling effect”.
As a completely opioid receptor blocking drug Naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose. It is given by a nasal spray or injection which can stop overdose immediately.
Suboxone as an Addiction Treatment
Suboxone has been seen to be as effective as methadone to help reduce the use of opioids. There are many benefits of using Suboxone as addiction treatment, such as:
- Lowering the risk of death from overdose
- Difficult to abuse as compared to methadone
- Safer to use for pregnant women
- Effective when it comes to treatment retention (more so than methadone)
- Can be used at home
- Effective for treating short-acting opioids (example: heroin)
When used as part of a substance abuse treatment program, Suboxone can truly make a difference. When it comes to the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal, Suboxone is helpful to focus on treatment such as therapy and triggers. It is known to increase the chances of completing and program and recovery for years to come.
Essentially Suboxone should only be given for short periods or for long-term maintenance. It will depend on the person, as is comparable to insulin management for diabetics. In some cases, patients are able to take Suboxone for long periods of time without any negative effects. However, Suboxone is not something you should stay on forever.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
Physical Suboxone Effects
Suboxone is a partial opioid, which means that the withdrawal symptoms are typically similar to that of what an opioid would be. Almost everyone who goes through Suboxone withdrawal will experience the symptoms below, but in some cases, there may only be a few.
The effect of Suboxone withdrawal depends on the length and severity of the addiction, as well as how dependent on the drug the body has become. While detoxing from Suboxone, you may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:
- Muscle aches
The emotional toll of the suboxone issue can be different, and typically comes around in the final stage of Suboxone withdrawal. Even if cravings for previous opioids have subsided, those who are addicted to Suboxone may have emotional symptoms as well. After leaving opioid addiction behind, being dependent on a medication like Suboxone can affect your life.
These include emotional symptoms may include:
- Intense drug cravings
Addiction to Suboxone as a replacement for another opioid can lead to worsening mental health conditions. This is why it is essential to seek treatment if you feel that a Suboxone addiction has replaced your previous opioid dependence.
Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline
Suboxone detox protocol typically involves weaning off suboxone. This can also be described as a suboxone taper. Although the protocol may be similar, it is always a different experience for everybody. Depending on how long you have been addicted to opioids, the severity and length of your addiction will change. The longer you have been addicted, the longer it may take to detox. Alternatively, your withdrawal symptoms may only last for a week or two as well.
There is no specific answer for how long a detox may last, but the general timeline may go something like this:
- Days 1-4: After stopping the use of Suboxone you may begin to feel physical symptoms at their worst. They can be extremely uncomfortable, but it should only last for a few days.
- Day 7: After the first week has gone by, you may experience muscle aches, insomnia may be at its worst, as well as mood swings.
- Weeks 2-4: Most of the physical symptoms will stop within the first few weeks. You will begin to experience psychological symptoms which can be very disruptive. Cravings are at their highest, and it is recommended to work with a therapist or other medical professional in a rehabilitation facility to manage them.
Medication Assisted Treatment
For those who require a long-term program, medication-assisted treatment is a good option. This type of treatment involves taking medications to get through the detox phase. This uncomfortable detox phase occurs in almost every single opioid-addicted person. Medication-assisted detox can be offered to people detoxing from any substance, and should not be scary. Suboxone is actually a form of medication-assisted treatment.
Cold Turkey vs Medical Detox
Going “cold-turkey” is when you stop using a drug immediately, without the help of any mediations, or a taper down schedule. It is very dangerous to go cold turkey when it comes to suboxone or other opiates, which is why you need supports for life without suboxone. Rather than go cold turkey, it is essential to go through medical detox. Medical detox is known as the best way to detox from Suboxone.
Sublocade vs Suboxone
Both Sublocade and Suboxone are medications to aid with withdrawal symptoms of opioids. Despite this, both of these substances only have one thing in common: buprenorphine. There are many differences between the medications, as Sublocade contains only buprenorphine, while Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone.
Additionally, Sublocade is an injection, while Suboxone is a film that you put under your tongue to dissolve. It can be taken at home or given by a health care professional. Suboxone must be taken daily while Sublocade is given once a month, only, by a health care professional.
In order to use Sublocade, you must have already been on Suboxone or another buprenorphine treatment for at least seven days. Sublocade may reduce the burden of daily medication, but if the patient is allergic to it, it can cause worse reactions due to its long-lasting effects.
Subutex vs Suboxone
The main difference between Subutex and Suboxone is that Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, where Subutex contains only buprenorphine, similar to Sublocade. These two drugs were developed in 2002, but there are differences between them. Subutex was found to be abused more often, as it is injected. Some patients were able to inject the drug in order to obtain a high similar to heroin. This is why Suboxone was developed. The Naloxone in Suboxone helps to deter abuse of the drug by blocking the effects of opioids at the receptor sites.
Detoxing From Suboxone
If you have developed a Suboxone addiction while attempting to recover from other opioids, then there are alternatives to help you get off of Suboxone that is not medication-related. These include:
- Behavioral therapy: Helps to manage cravings and triggers, as well as teaches tools to avoid relapse. Behavioral therapy has been a proven help in recovery from opioids as well as suboxone and other drugs.
- Holistic therapy: Alternative medicine is another name for holistic therapy. Some of these types of therapy include meditation, exercise, and massage therapy. It is a method of relaxation in order to cope with the stress of detox.
- Peer support: Group therapy and overall family support are important to the success of those addicted to Suboxone. Having other people who have gone through the same process as you are also comforting. It is known to facilitate long term success.
Recovery After Suboxone Detox
Aftercare is an important component of beating any addiction. Addiction will not necessarily be cured once treatment ends. Unfortunately, treatment is only the beginning. Aftercare ensures that you continue the lifelong process of recovery, and is essential, especially in early recovery.
At Circle of Hope, we take this seriously. We provide comprehensive care that embodies all aspects of recovery, including aftercare. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer you, to get you started on the path to recovery.