How Long Does it Take to Detox Off Suboxone?
As one of a handful of medication therapies used to treat opiate addictions, Suboxone offers an effective treatment approach for weaning addicts off the effects of addictive opiate drugs. Similar to methadone, Suboxone helps reduce the ongoing withdrawal and drug cravings addicts experience in recovery, according to the U. S. Food & Drug Administration.
Suboxone contains buprenorphine, an opiate-based drug, and an added ingredient known as naloxone. Unlike methadone, the naloxone ingredient acts as an antagonist. Antagonist agents produce uncomfortable withdrawal effects whenever a person attempts to abuse opiates while in treatment.
As a medication therapy, Suboxone treatment can run anywhere from six months to several years depending on a person’s treatment needs. Since Suboxone contains an opiate ingredient, there’s a definite risk of becoming physically dependent on the drug when it’s taken for long periods of time.
Consequently, some people may actually have to enter into Suboxone detox treatment in order to stop taking the drug. As Suboxone is formulated to produce slow, long-acting effects, the duration of Suboxone detox can vary depending on how long a person has been on the drug.
Suboxone produces long-acting effects that last for up to three days at a time compared to methadone’s one-day duration. Consequently, Suboxone has a longer half-life than methadone. In general, a drug’s half-life duration determines how long before withdrawal effects start to develop.
At the start of Suboxone detox, withdrawal symptoms will likely kick in within 36 hours. Withdrawal symptoms typically take the form of:
- Aches and pains
The longer a person has been on Suboxone the more severe withdrawal symptoms will be. Detox symptoms will persist until all traces of the drug leave the system. While naloxone also exits the body during this time, naloxone carries no addictive effects and produces no withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline
The Suboxone withdrawal timeline marks the different stages of detox as well as the types of symptoms that develop along the way. During the first 24 to 72 hours, withdrawal symptoms peak in severity and tend to lessen in severity after the 72-hour mark.
- Week One – leaves a person feeling achy most of the time, with frequent stomach cramps. Problems sleeping and fluctuations in mood also persist. Feelings of anxiety and depression are also common.
- Week Two – this time period comes with ongoing aches and pains as well as low energy levels. At this point, a person’s emotions start to experience the brunt of withdrawal in the form of extreme anxiety and depression feelings.
- Week Three and Four – while symptoms are typically least intense during this time, feelings of deep depression come with a high risk of relapse. Drug cravings also intensity further aggravating the desire to resume Suboxone use.
On average, Suboxone detox lasts a month or so, though the psychological aftereffects of the drug can last long after the detox period ends. In actuality, the drug’s psychological aftereffects pose the greatest risk for relapse. To guard against this, it’s best to join a support group or attend therapy sessions to work through the mind’s ongoing dependency on Suboxone’s effects.