March 15, 2021
Subutex is a brand name for the drug buprenorphine, which is a semi-synthetic partial opioid agonist. Derived from morphine, this prescription drug attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, activating some of them and blocking opioids from others. Buprenorphine is among three FDA-approved medications that are commonly prescribed to treat opioid addiction.
Despite its use as a treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), and its effectiveness at reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings, Subutex is addictive in its own right. Those who use Subutex as treatment for other opioid use disorders may find themselves in the thralls of another addiction if it is used improperly.
Subutex withdrawal symptoms may be similar to the symptoms of heroin or morphine withdrawal but will likely be less severe since the drug is not as potent. The process of detoxification from Subutex should occur under professional medical supervision in order to pass this path comfortably and avoid relapse.
This article will help you learn about the signs and symptoms of Subutex withdrawal and will help you get a better understanding of how the detoxification procedure works.
Why is Subutex addictive?
Using Subutex to treat other opioid addictions can lead to the development of a dependence on the drug. Especially if Subutex is being used incorrectly or in excess, this dependence can result in drug abuse. This is common in many cases in which people use other opioids or synthetic opioids to treat OUD, as the medication that is used for treatment has its own addiction potential.
The signs of Subutex addiction
- Using Subutex alongside other drugs or substances including heroin and alcohol.
- Taking a higher dose or for a longer period of time than directed.
- Strong cravings or urges to use Subutex.
- Neglecting everyday responsibilities at home or in the workplace.
- Continued Subutex use despite negative effects on quality of life.
- Failed attempts to quit, or the presence of withdrawal symptoms upon trying to quit.
- Spending excessive amounts of money on Subutex.
- Lying to a doctor about withdrawal symptoms to get another Subutex prescription.
- Buying Subutex illegally.
What are the symptoms of Subutex withdrawal?
Since buprenorphine is a long-acting (or extended-release) opioid, it may take anywhere between 48 hours to several days for withdrawal symptoms to show up after your last use of Subutex. If you or your loved one experience any of the following symptoms a few days after taking your last dose of Subutex, it’s possible you may be going through withdrawal:
- Muscle pain
- Cold sweats
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose or watery eyes
- Emotional disturbances such as depression, anxiety, and mood swings
- Tremors or twitching
- Intense drug cravings
This list is not exhaustive, and it’s important to remember that those with more severe addictions may experience a more severe abstinence crisis. Though withdrawal symptoms may not seem very serious at first, in many cases it takes about three to five days for them to peak. While the physical symptoms of Subutex withdrawal may not be as extreme as with other opioids, the risk of relapse is still present.
Subutex withdrawal timeline
Buprenorphine has a half life of 28 to 37 hours when taken sublingually (as a tablet under the tongue), so Subutex should be out of your system in about six to eight days. The speed with which Subutex leaves your system depends on a variety of factors such as metabolism, age, weight, and more.
Here is the general timeline for Subutex withdrawal:
- Days 2 – 4: You may notice the first symptoms of withdrawal within this time. You will start to experience symptoms akin to the flu such as chills, fever, and muscle aches.
- Days 3 – 5: This is the peak of withdrawal. Cravings and other uncomfortable sensations will be the strongest during this time, making relapse likely in the absence of proper medical help and psychological support.
- Days 5 – 7: Physical symptoms begin to subside and may resolve themselves by the seven day mark, but discomfort, irritability, insomnia, and anxiety will remain and drug cravings are still to be expected. Relapse is still a very real possibility.
- Days 7+: Psychological and emotional manifestations of withdrawal can persist for weeks depending on a number of factors. You may experience depression, apathy, and irritability. Drug cravings will likely still be present.
How does Subutex detoxification work?
Getting off of Subutex is achievable. It is possible to go through detoxification at home, but the safest place to go through Subutex detox is in a hospital specialized in drug withdrawal treatment, especially if you are at high risk for relapse or have other health conditions.
There are two options for Subutex detox. The first involves gradually tapering off the dose of the drug. It is a long, uncomfortable, often unsuccessful way of detoxification due to the presence of strong drug cravings and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
The other option for Subutex detox is ultra-rapid opioid detoxification (UROD). This is an option for those suffering from Subutex addiction that don’t want to experience the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. UROD is an anesthesia assisted procedure that rids the body of opiates through administration of naloxone and naltrexone. Since the patient is under anesthesia for the duration of the procedure (which lasts from 6 – 8 hours a day, often for several days), they don’t have to suffer needlessly through painful withdrawal symptoms.
Unlike traditional detoxification, the withdrawal symptoms the patient may experience after a rapid detox procedure are significantly reduced. Rapid detox makes the process of getting off of Subutex as comfortable as possible and dramatically shortens recovery time.
How to get started with the treatment?
Just because Subutex is less potent than many opioids doesn’t mean it isn’t addictive and damaging to the body when used incorrectly. Withdrawal can be uncomfortable and scary, and there is no need to go through it alone. In order to detox safely and avoid relapsing, talk to a medical professional today to get help quitting Subutex once and for all.
If you want to find out more about getting off of Subutex safely and avoiding relapse, get a free and confidential online consultation. You will discuss treatment options and the various outcomes with an expert of the clinic.
You can expect to go over the following topics:
1. How will withdrawal be treated in your case?
2. Will the treatment help to stop the urges and prevent relapse?
3. How much does the program cost and how long does it take?
Published on March 15, 2021