How Long Does it Take to Detox from Buprenorphine?

Last Updated on April 23, 2024
adam zagha of numa detox and rehab in los angeles
Writer: Adam Zagha
Clinical Reviewer: Ariana Gravanis

Detoxing from buprenorphine, a drug often found in medications like Suboxone, varies in duration. While the detox process usually takes about a week, the withdrawal symptoms can last longer. But just how long does it take to detox from buprenorphine? This article will shed light on buprenorphine, withdrawal symptoms, and the detox timeline.

As one of the leading recovery centers in Los Angeles, NUMA offers quality treatment programs for disorders like opioid addiction, and other co-occurring mental health disorders. Contact NUMA today to see how we can assist you.

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Call (323) 970-9379

Quick Points

  • Suboxone is an opioid agonist, which means it has opioid receptors that help minimize withdrawal symptoms and reduce drug cravings.

  • As an APA and SAMHSA-certified drug for the treatment of opioid addiction, suboxone treatment is considered an effective approach against addiction to opioid drugs.

  • While beneficial for addiction treatment, suboxone can cause addiction, so it should be administered in small doses to prevent addiction and minimize withdrawal symptoms.

  • Like most abused drugs, going cold turkey on suboxone can lead to protracted withdrawal symptoms that can last for weeks or months.

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, is a key medication used to treat opioid addiction. It binds to and activates opioid receptors in the brain, which alleviates withdrawal and drug cravings. Unlike full opioids, its effects are milder, which helps reduce the risk of misuse and addiction.

This makes suboxone use an effective drug in managing opioid dependence and offers a safer alternative to other opioids. Buprenorphine is part of a comprehensive approach to substance abuse treatment. It is often combined with counseling and behavioral therapies to support long-term recovery.

Buprenorphine for Medical Detox in Opioid Addiction Treatment

While buprenorphine is used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for opioid addiction, also known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT), it is also used for medical detox. Both the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advise the use of suboxone use and similar drugs as effective treatment medications for opioid abuse.

In medical detox, this opioid agonist helps safely manage withdrawal symptoms as the body clears itself of opioids. In maintenance therapy, it is used over a longer term to reduce the risk of relapse and support long-term recovery.

Buprenorphine is usually prescribed by qualified a medical professional and comes in the form of either a tablet or film. It can be administered in several ways, and this includes:

  • Under the tongue (sublingually)

  • In the cheek (buccally)

  • Through intravenous and subcutaneous injection

  • Via a skin patch (transdermal)

  • As drug implants

Common Buprenorphine Withdrawal Symptoms of withdrawal

Withdrawal from suboxone, like other opioids, can cause both physical and psychological symptoms. The physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms include the following:

Common Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

Some individuals may experience physical symptoms from suboxone withdrawal, which include:

  • Muscle aches — Withdrawal from suboxone can cause muscle aches and pains, which can be generalized or localized in specific areas of the body.

  • Nausea and vomiting — Nausea and vomiting are some of the typical suboxone withdrawal symptoms that can lead to discomfort and dehydration if not managed properly.

  • Sweating — Individuals undergoing suboxone withdrawal may experience physical symptoms like excessive sweating, especially during the night.

  • Diarrhea — This symptom can contribute to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances during suboxone withdrawal.

  • Runny nose and teary eyes — Nasal discharge and tearing are among the common physical symptoms during opioid withdrawal, and this includes suboxone.

  • Fever and chills — Individuals may experience fluctuations in body temperature which can lead to fever and chills.

  • Restlessness and insomnia — Withdrawal from suboxone use can cause restlessness and difficulty sleeping, as physical dependence has impacted an opioid user's brain chemistry.

  • Goosebumps — Some individuals may experience "goosebumps" or piloerection, which is a common symptom of withdrawal from suboxone.

  • Increased heart rate — Individuals may experience increased heart rate during suboxone withdrawal because the body is adjusting to the absence of the drug after becoming physically dependent during suboxone addiction.

  • Digestive issues — Among the digestive issues that individuals may experience during suboxone withdrawal may include stomach cramps, bloating, and loss of appetite.

Common Psychological Symptoms

The following are common psychological symptoms that some individuals may experience while undergoing withdrawal from suboxone:

  • Depression — One of the many challenging withdrawal symptoms of suboxone includes feelings of sadness or hopelessness, which may impact mood and overall well-being.

  • Anxiety — Individuals going through suboxone withdrawal may experience increased feelings of nervousness or unease, which can be distressing.

  • IrritabilitySuboxone withdrawal can lead to irritability or mood swings, which can affect relationships and daily interactions.

  • Difficulty concentrating — Withdrawal from suboxone can impact cognitive function, so some individuals may find it challenging to focus or concentrate.

  • Emotional instability — Suboxone withdrawal can cause emotional ups and downs, which can lead to mood swings and heightened emotional sensitivity.

  • Agitation — Some individuals may experience suboxone withdrawal symptoms like increased restlessness or agitation, which can be difficult to manage.

  • Cravings — Cravings for suboxone or other opioid drugs may occur while experiencing suboxone withdrawal symptoms.

  • Insomnia — Difficulty sleeping is considered one of the most common psychological symptoms of suboxone withdrawal, which some individuals may find distressing.

Buprenorphine Detox Timeline

The suboxone withdrawal timeline can vary. Generally, the acute withdrawal phase lasts about a week as the drug leaves the body. However, some individuals may experience protracted withdrawal symptoms, which can last for weeks or months.

Medical detox programs can help manage these symptoms and provide support during the detox process. Here’s a list that demonstrates the typical withdrawal timeline:

Initial Withdrawal Symptoms (Days 1-3)

The first few days of suboxone withdrawal are often the most intense. The symptoms include muscle aches, nausea, sweating, and anxiety.

Cold turkey or stopping suboxone abruptly is not permitted because this can make the withdrawal symptoms more severe. There’s also the risk of experiencing post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), as the body may take longer to adjust since it has developed physical dependence on the drug.

Peak Withdrawal Symptoms (Days 3-5)

The opioid withdrawal symptoms usually peak around the third to fifth day of detox. Detoxing individuals will experience the most severe symptoms during this time.

Gradual Improvement (Days 5-7)

After the initial peak, the opioid withdrawal symptoms gradually begin to improve. However, some physical and psychological symptoms, may still linger, such as insomnia, fatigue, and mood swings.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (Weeks to Months)

Some individuals may experience protracted withdrawal symptoms or post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which can last for weeks or even months after detox. These symptoms can include mood swings, anxiety, and insomnia.

How Can NUMA Help?

NUMA Recovery Centers offers comprehensive treatment programs for opioid addiction, including suboxone detox. Our programs include behavioral therapies, relapse prevention, and emotional support to ease withdrawal symptoms and support the recovery process.

Our approach focuses on treating opioid addiction as a medical condition. As such, we provide individualized care to address each person's unique needs. Check out NUMA's admission process and find out how we can assist you in your journey toward a sober and healthier future.

Start Recovery Here.
Call (323) 970-9379
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adam zagha of numa detox and rehab in los angeles
Adam Zagha
Adam Zagha is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles with over a decade of experience in addiction treatment and recovery. He holds a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and is certified in EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, and ACT. Prior to Numa Recovery Centers, Adam was CFO and the Director of Clinical Outreach at Transcend Recovery Community. Adam is committed to providing top-quality care to individuals seeking treatment for addiction and mental health issues. He also provides trainings and workshops on addiction, mental health, and mindfulness.
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Numa Recovery Centers is a leading drug and alcohol detox and rehab company based in Los Angeles, providing evidence-based treatment for substance abuse and addiction. With a team of experienced professionals, Numa offers a comprehensive range of personalized services to help clients overcome addiction and achieve long-term recovery.
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