Suboxone withdrawal begins shortly after a patient stops usage of the drug suddenly. Symptoms of withdrawal can begin within 36 hours of the last dose taken and may last for as long as two to three weeks. Because withdrawal from Suboxone use is an extremely uncomfortable process, users may return to the drug rather than continue to experience the withdrawal symptoms.
Painful withdrawal from Suboxone occurs only after an extended period of use or after using heavy doses of the drug over a short period of time. As long as the drug is used as directed by the patient's doctor, the withdrawal should be minimal in both length and severity. This limited withdrawal allows Suboxone doctors to safely prescribe the drug to patients.
Withdrawal from the overuse of Suboxone is lessened through the assistance of a medically supervised withdrawal treatment facility. Finding a facility within the first 72 hours of withdrawal is recommended in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms that are more serious. This initial three-day period is when symptoms are most likely to begin and peak.
The treatment process for Suboxone withdrawal typically consists or a period of detoxification lasting up to several weeks. During this period, the drug dose is slowly tapered off until it's no longer introduced into the patient's system. After detoxification, treatment is given through the use of an opiate-blocking medication that prevents the further taking of Suboxone, along with drug counseling.
An alternate method exists for Suboxone treatment in the form of rapid detoxification. During rapid detox, the patient is placed under light anesthesia. While under the anesthesia's effects, the patient's body is flushed of the Suboxone. When the patient awakens, his or her body is free of the drug. This prevents the patient from experiencing heavy withdrawal symptoms, if the patient experiences withdrawal at all.
Buprenorphine: Suboxone Vs. Subutex
Both Suboxone and Subutex have been approved for the treatment of addiction to opiates. Both medications use buprenorphine to bind to the opiate receptors in the brain and spinal column, blocking any opiates taken from binding there as well. The treatments are effective because they eliminate the pleasurable sensations brought about from opiate use.
The primary difference between Suboxone and Subutex is that Subutex does not contain the drug naloxone, while Suboxone does. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist that does not activate the opiate receptors with use. When taken normally, Suboxone with naloxone will provide relief from withdrawal, as does Subutex. When abused through injection, the Suboxone will cause immediate full withdrawal. Since the Suboxone fills the opiate receptors and blocks other opiates from doing so when taken, the withdrawal cannot be reversed by taking further opiates.
Without the naloxone component, Subutex can be abused through injection. This abuse will cause the opioid receptors to fill with enough buprenorphine that some level of opiate high can be experienced. Subutex is still used by doctors for treatment even though it doesn't possess the anti-abuse component of naloxone. Usually, it's given as the first few doses for avoiding opiate withdrawal symptoms. These doses are always under a doctor's care to prevent abuse. After the first few doses, though, Suboxone is usually prescribed.
Choosing the Best Detox Medication
Choosing the best detox medication is based primarily on where the treatment occurs. For inpatient treatment under a doctor's care and supervision, Subutex is an acceptable medication, especially at the beginning of the treatment process. For long-term use, a Suboxone treatment is generally medically preferred. The Suboxone treatment allows the patient to go through the withdrawal treatment process on an outpatient basis and also allows for continual use of the medication after detoxification without fear of opiate abuse while taking the medication.