Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) can offer individuals who suffer from opioid addiction with withdrawal symptom relief. Suboxone can also reduce the craving for drugs and can improve the effectiveness of additional treatment by lowering the chances of relapse. Even though this medication can be beneficial, there are also several reasons why an individual may want to stop taking Suboxone to prevent further dependence on the drug.
Receiving Medical Advice
It is imperative that you shouldn’t stop taking a medication on your own without consulting with your physician. Stopping the use of Suboxone prematurely can raise your risk of relapse. Discuss a medication management plan with your physician to come up with a customized plan that will work well for you.
Once you decide that you want to taper off Suboxone, you should proceed with caution. Even though this medication is helpful for treating opioid addiction, Suboxone does contain buprenorphine which can cause dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms. If you stop taking Suboxone too abruptly, you may experience withdrawals that you’ll need professional assistance to manage.
Buprenorphine Addiction vs Dependence
Withdrawal symptoms are commonly associated with addiction. Even though addicts suffer from withdrawal when they initially stop using drugs, withdrawal symptoms are not necessarily a sign of addiction. Individuals who become physically reliant on a substance will go through withdrawals when they stop taking the medication and this is usually the case with Suboxone. Most people who take Suboxone don’t become addicted, but addiction is still possible.
Buprenorphine is classified as an opioid agonist because it binds to the same brain receptors as opioid drugs to prevent the harmful effects of opioids, including withdrawal symptoms. Since buprenorphine and opioids have similar properties, buprenorphine activates opioid receptors in the brain. Over time, the brain will adjust to having this medication in the body so individuals who have withdrawal symptoms are showing signs of physical dependence. However, an individual is addicted to Suboxone if he or she has cravings for the medication after taking it.
It is common to become dependent on Suboxone after using the medication long-term, but there are ways to safely stop taking the medicine. The safest way to stop taking Suboxone is through entering a treatment program to safely manage withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
Even if you’re taking the medication as instruction, you will likely experience withdrawal on some level once you stop taking it. Symptoms can include:
- flu-like symptoms such as chills, sweating, and muscle aches
- physical pain
- runny nose
The symptoms are not as intense as the side effects of opioid withdrawal. It is also important to note that Suboxone withdrawal symptoms may take a few days to show up. Since buprenorphine is long-acting, it could be up to four days before you start to experience signs of withdrawal. Keep in mind that you may also experience psychological effects such as anxiety and depression after stopping Suboxone, which is why you need a professional team to help you through the process.
Dealing with Suboxone Withdrawal
The best way to deal with Suboxone withdrawal is to avoid taking the medication altogether. However, you can work with your doctor to taper your dose is you become physical dependent on buprenorphine. By using the tapering method, your doctor can gradually lower your dose over time so your body will naturally adjust to the reduction in medication. This is the safest way to get off Suboxone.
If you’re having a hard time with Suboxone withdrawal symptoms, try these tips for relief:
- drink plenty of fluids, especially water
- practice meditation
- exercise regularly
- find a safe activity you enjoy such as watching your favorite show or reading a book
- talk to a therapist
- join a support group
- talk to trusted family and friends about how you’re feeling
The biggest risk of eliminating the use of Suboxone is the high risk of relapse. This means you should continue communicating with your physician and addiction counselor so you can stick to your treatment plan and make changes if necessary.
If you or a loved one needs assistance overcoming Suboxone addiction, our professional counselors are ready to help. Specialists are available seven days a week to offer the assistance you need to start the journey to sobriety. Call us at 833-820-2922.