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Tapering Off of Suboxone

Tapering Off of Suboxone

To taper off of Suboxone, a person must work closely with a medical doctor. The time frame that most people reduce their Suboxone is very slow.

Suboxone is a prescription medication meant to help someone addicted to opioids get and remain drug-free. Opioid replacement medications like Suboxone contain buprenorphine, which is a partial opioid agonist. It is an opioid but does not directly stimulate the brain the way actual opioids do. Suboxone is given to people who have become physically dependent on heroin, Fentanyl, prescription pain killers, and other opioid drugs. Addiction to opioid drugs causes severe physical withdrawal symptoms. They are why most addicts cannot get off of their opioid drug of choice. 

The typical opioid addict will remain addicted for many years, with 5 being the average and up to 10 years.

Tapering Off of Suboxone

What are the Withdrawal Symptoms That Suboxone Alleviates?

When a person is addicted to heroin or another opioid, they must use opioids every day and often prevent their body from going into withdrawal. Opioid detox symptoms are incredibly hard to tolerate without medication to ease and reduce the symptoms. Suboxone will reduce  the following opioid withdrawal symptoms: 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Cold sweats and chills 
  • Insomnia 
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Bone aches and body pains 
  • Uncontrollable sneezing and leg and arm movements (known as kicking)
  • Rapid heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Intense cravings for an opioid 
  • Emotional instability

How Long Does Someone Need to Be on Suboxone?

Most patients who get clean from their opioid addiction with the help of Suboxone remain on it for one or two years. The reason many addicts stay on Suboxone long-term is that it helps them stay drug-free. Suboxone has an opioid blocker as one of the ingredients, which means if someone uses a regular opioid, they will not feel the effects. 

The ingredients in Suboxone include buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid blocker. Some people only take Suboxone to get through detox and then remain drug-free. Opposite are people who stay on Suboxone for many years because it is how they stay clean.

Tapering Off of Suboxone

To taper off of Suboxone, a person must work closely with a medical doctor. The time frame that most people reduce their Suboxone is very slow. Depending on the dose of Suboxone which ranges from 2mg up to  24 mg per day, the person will need to lower their amount weekly to make progress. However, it is never recommended to try and quit Suboxone cold turkey. Although Suboxone is not an exact opioid, it still causes physical dependency. The person must taper their dosage or feel withdrawal symptoms, similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms. 

What Do Doctors Recommend as a Taper Schedule for Suboxone?

Most Doctors will not recommend a fast-paced taper. The unusual taper rate is 1 mg reduction per week. However, some patients can tolerate a 2 mg reduction per week. It is really up to the patient and the doctor on how the patient is adjusting. The National Institutes of Health point out the effectiveness of Suboxone and why tapering is part of the process to become opioid-free for good. 

Per The National Institutes of Health:

“Buprenorphine is an agent used in opioid agonist substitution treatment, which is a process for treating addiction by using a substitute for a stronger full agonist opioid (such as heroin). The prescriber then tapers down the substitute, and the patient withdraws from the opiate addiction with minimal discomfort. Buprenorphine substitute treatment allows the patient to focus on therapy instead of uncomfortable withdrawals. It is an effective option to treat opioid dependence, reduce cravings, and improve the quality of life for patients undergoing addiction treatment.” (NIH)

Call Us to Have an Appointment with a Suboxone Doctor

Evoke Waltham has opioid treatment representatives that will connect you or your loved one to a medical doctor who can prescribe Suboxone as well as taper you off Suboxone. We also provide same-day admission to a treatment center that utilizes MATs, including Suboxone, as part of their treatment program. Suboxone is a lifesaver for many, and we can help you maintain your recovery by safely tapering your Suboxone. Call now for immediate help and chat or email for more information.