In this article, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about the use of Suboxone for opiate withdrawal. Over the past several years, many people have asked me the question:
“Does Suboxone work for opiate withdrawal?”
The answer is “yes” – but only if the Suboxone is used correctly.
If you use Suboxone too soon after taking your last opiate, you will experience a phenomenon called “precipitated withdrawal,” which is a HORRIFIC experience.
I’ll discuss precipitated withdrawal and how to avoid it in detail later. But before I cover this, I’m going to explain how Suboxone is able to help you get rid of opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Once I’ve taught you the basics, then we’ll move right along to the section on how to use Suboxone for opiate withdrawal in a way that is safe and effective.
Table of Contents
Why Does Suboxone Work For Opiate Withdrawal?
So we already know that Suboxone helps with opiate withdrawal. So the question then becomes: “how does Suboxone help with opiate withdrawal?” It’s actually a pretty simple process and one that I find fascinating.
Here are the basics on Suboxone:
Suboxone is a prescription medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a controlled substance and semisynthetic opioid derivative of thebaine.
Buprenorphine attaches and binds to the same opioid receptors in the brain and other parts of the body that drugs like heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and other opioids bind to. Once it attaches to these receptors, it mimics the effects that opioid drugs produce (though it’s not as powerful).
For this reason, buprenorphine is known as a “partial opioid agonist.”
The other opiate drugs I just mentioned are known as “full opioid agonists,” because they activate the receptors in a stronger and more complete way than buprenorphine. See the illustration below.
Naloxone is the other compound present in Suboxone.
Naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist. It’s the drug given to people that overdose because an injection of naloxone puts the opioid-user into instant withdrawal, thus saving them from health issues and death.
Naloxone was put into the Suboxone formulation to deter people from injecting it, which would lead to precipitated withdrawal. Taken orally, naloxone isn’t bioavailable. A common misconception (one even I had until my Suboxone Expert Mary informed me) is that naloxone blocks the opiates.
This is false.
The truth is that buprenorphine binds so strongly to the opioid receptors that it’s actually the bupe which blocks opioids. Do yourself a favor and don’t try to get high with opioids on Suboxone or Subutex, it’s just not worth it and it will be a sad experiment, which could end in overdosing.
Opiate Withdrawal 101
To further illustrate why Suboxone works so well for opiate withdrawal, I’d like to give you the basics of the opioid withdrawal syndrome. If an individual continues using opioids after a tolerance has been established, they will eventually develop a physiological dependence.
Dependence develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug.
When a dependent individual abruptly stops taking opioids (leading opioid-blood concentration to fall below the required level), the now opioid-tolerant central nervous system (CNS) goes haywire.
With no inhibitive stimulation to satisfy receptors, the pathways of the CNS fire signals strenuously, performing at a level much higher than pre-dependence levels.
Now the locus coeruleus responds by triggering the autonomic fight or flight response.
What results is known as the opioid withdrawal syndrome, and it’s one of the most agonizing experiences an individual could ever go through.
Some of the most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
- Achy muscles and limbs
- Teary eyes
- A runny nose
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Hot and cold sweats and chills
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Using Suboxone For Opiate Withdrawal
A quick fix for stopping this syndrome is to use Suboxone for opiate withdrawal. After an individual takes a dose of Suboxone, the buprenorphine quickly binds to the opioid receptors, and if enough is taken, withdrawal symptoms and opiate cravings are eliminated or drastically reduced.
This is something I am familiar with on a very personal level.
Years ago I was a cook at a fast-paced restaurant in New York. I was addicted to OxyContin and Percocet, and I needed to purchase them illegally and take them daily to avoid getting sick and missing work.
I also had a newborn baby to take care of after work, so between those two main responsibilities, going through acute withdrawal and then being exhausted and depressed for weeks to months was simply not an option. I needed to work to pay bills, but more importantly, my addiction was a secret, so I continued to use to avoid getting sick and bringing attention to myself.
Several months into my addiction, my life was getting more and more out of control.
Then something truly saved me.
One day I woke up without opiates and was in the first stages of withdrawal. I started texting every dealer I knew to see if anyone could deliver prescription opiates to my work, as I had to be there at 8 am, and without the pills, it would be very difficult to function.
At 9 am, one of my dealers met me out back by the dumpster and pulled out an orange tablet of Suboxone (this was before they came out with the film). He sold it to me for $20. I went to the bathroom at work and administered a fourth of the pill, which was approximately 2 mg of buprenorphine and 0.5 mg naloxone.
Within minutes I was feeling better!
No more opiate withdrawal, no more cravings, I had energy, I was happy, work was fun, and I quickly decided that taking Suboxone was much better for me than snorting oxys.
It seemed like a miracle medication until my dealer ran out of Suboxone a few months later.
By my third day without Suboxone, I was so tired and depressed that I just said “screw it” and bought some oxy’s, and the vicious cycle continued.
How To Use Suboxone For Opiate Withdrawal
Alright, so now you know why so many people use Suboxone for opiate withdrawal…because it works! And now we’ve reached the “How-To” portion of this article.
To use Suboxone for opiate withdrawal in a manner that is safe and effective, there are certain guidelines to follow.
The first guideline is to use the appropriate “timing.”
Suboxone should not be taken too soon because precipitated withdrawal can start if you take Suboxone before the other opioid drug completely leaves your body. The timeline may differ from person to person depending on several factors, including personal physiology and genetics.
Generally speaking, you should wait to take Suboxone the following amounts of time after your last dose of these specific drugs:
- Morphine: 8-12 hours
- Heroin 12-24 hours
- Oxycodone and hydrocodone: 12-24 hours
- Oxymorphone: 24-30 hours
- Methadone: 36 hours to a week
Note: A general rule of thumb is to wait until you’re experiencing moderate opioid withdrawal symptoms. Prior to induction, doctors typically look for their patients to have objective withdrawal symptoms sufficient to produce a score of a 5 to 6 on the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS).
What Is Precipitated Withdrawal?
Suboxone-precipitated withdrawal can occur when an individual takes Suboxone too soon after taking a full opioid agonist (such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc). Due to buprenorphine’s high affinity but low intrinsic value at the mu opioid receptor, buprenorphine displaces full agonists from these receptors without activating the receptor to an equivalent degree.
This leads to a net decrease in opioid agonist effect, thus precipitating a withdrawal syndrome.
Many people are under the impression that the naloxone in Suboxone initiates a precipitated withdrawal.
However, this is simply not true.
The naloxone can only precipitate withdrawal if it’s injected into someone that is dependent upon opioids. It basically has no effect if it’s taken sublingually.
How Much Suboxone Should I Take For Opiate Withdrawal?
The second guideline to follow when using Suboxone for opiate withdrawal has to do with “quantity.”
Even if you have the timing right, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be free of opiate withdrawal symptoms. To effectively reduce symptoms, you’ll want to use the appropriate dosage.
So how much Suboxone does it take to eliminate opiate withdrawal symptoms?
That depends on several things, the most important being:
- How long you’ve been using opiates
- What types of opiate or opiates you’ve been using
- The average amount of opiates you’ve been using on a daily basis
According to the Suboxone official website, on Day 1 of opiate withdrawal, clinicians should start with an initial dose of 2 mg/0.5 mg or 4 mg/1 mg buprenorphine/naloxone and may titrate upwards in 2 or 4 mg increments of buprenorphine, at approximately 2-hour intervals, under supervision, to 8 mg/2 mg buprenorphine/naloxone based on the control of acute withdrawal symptoms. So the maximum Suboxone that should be taken on Day 1 is 8 mg/2 mg, and for Day 2, the maximum amount is increased to 16 mg/4 mg.
How Do I Administer Suboxone?
When Suboxone first came out, and for years after, it came in tablets. Nowadays, they prescribe a Suboxone film that looks similar to a Listerine breath-freshening strip.
According to Suboxone.com, the following guidelines should be adhered to when taking Suboxone film:
- Before taking Suboxone film, drink water to moisten your mouth. This helps the film dissolve more easily.
- Hold the film between two fingers by the outside edges. Place Suboxone film under your tongue, close to the base either to the left or right of the center.
- If your doctor tells you to take 2 films at a time, place the second film under your tongue on the opposite side. Try to avoid having the films touch as much as possible.
- Keep the films in place until they have completely dissolved.
- While Suboxone film is dissolving, do not chew or swallow the film because the medicine will not work as well.
- Talking while the film is dissolving can affect how well the medicine in Suboxone film is absorbed.
- Here is a 7-minute video on Suboxone.com that shows you how to correctly use Suboxone film.
Suboxone For Opiate Withdrawal Conclusion
Many people have used Suboxone for opiate withdrawal symptoms. If used correctly, Suboxone can eliminate withdrawal symptoms and cravings very well. However, if used incorrectly (taking it too soon), the buprenorphine in Suboxone can precipitate withdrawal.
This is a very unpleasant experience.
I’ve never gone through precipitated withdrawal, but I’ve talked to many people that have. It’s a terribly awful experience and one that can be avoided with the proper knowledge.
Some individuals choose to use Suboxone for opiate withdrawal symptoms for a few days just to get them through the acute withdrawal period. Others find that a few weeks to a few months of Suboxone treatment will increase their chances of success.
Finally, there are individuals that choose to be in Suboxone maintenance treatment for several months or years.
Everyone is different, so different approaches will work for different people. Suboxone may be a good choice for some people, and for others, medication may not be the way to go.
I believe that there are many paths to recovery. Find your path, and don’t let anyone tell you that your path is wrong.
They only do this because it doesn’t obey their rules for recovery.
Follow your heart, and you’ll be guided to the right path. Click here now to view my best home detox program.
If you have any question on using Suboxone for opiate withdrawal, please post them in the comment box below.
Matt your dedication to this is a blessing and I thank you. I am here with my loved one as he detoxes from H. And I am so grateful to you and slightly scared. This is his second detox in 6 months and he was in rehab for H in 2007. So he is familiar with the process but I am not I have been here for him after detox and rehab but never through initial onset of withdrawal. We are on hour 42, and he has taken two half doses on suboxin 8/2 at appropriate time and it greatly decreases symptoms, but he woke this morning at 730 feeling bad again. He has been able to hold down moderate food and I’m am filling all I’ve read on your transcripts thus far to help. He came with many natural products, such as curcumin, ACF, elimidrol, mitragyna speciosa(Kratom). I am learning as I go, so I would so much appreciate some guidance through these nexts few days and hours. That is all the suboxin he has. He has natural and dr prescribed anxiety meds. We are trying to very clear of addition synthetic meds. At this point I’m not sure what to expect. He is sleeping and slept through most the night. I’m monitoring heart and BP. Please at your early convenience advice.
Your loved one is so lucky to have someone like you to help him through this! It is such a nightmare! I’ve been taking Opiates for a long time for several chronic pain conditions. The Opiates are no longer helping so I’m using the Suboxine to get. Off of them. Suboxine has been wonderful so far as helping with the pain but my depression just wont go away. Do you think it’s part of the withdrawal and will end soon ?? I don’t want to stop Suboxine, the pain relief has been wonderful!!
Suboxone does not work well for me at first. Takes a full 3 days to work. In the beginning I feel awful with sub. I can’t sleep at all. Extremely restless and anxious. It worked well when I was on oxy. Once I went over to H sub is very ineffective. Methadone would probably be better for me but I in no way have time to go to a clinic every morning. In order to even get on suboxone I have to go to a detox facility. Can’t do it at home on my own because of how bad it makes me feel at first and I wind up caving and getting stuff. It’s awful. And Kratom doesn’t seem to do much at all. Right now I have a lot of good tools so I’m going to try this again. I have Xanax, Kratom and suboxone in my possession. I pray that combo can get me through the worst of the wd and I can never look back.
Hi, I’m a 34 yo male in good physical shape. I blew out my knee 5+ years ago an had 2 surgeries. Went to therapy an aqua therapy and this an that but all failed me. So my doc put me in pain management. After 4 years of pain management my doc retired an I’m left suffering. From the knee problems it caused hip issues and then lower back. What a downhill spiral it has been!! I was on 3 30mg oxycontin, 6 20mg oxycodone and a few other muscle relaxers!!. Since January 1st 2018 I decided something had to stop!! So I started decreasing my pain med(the doc said I did it to rapidly) but..I got myself down to just 2 oxycontin per day! So today is weds but Monday morning I took my last pain pill. I could feel myself starting to go into withdrawal thruout the day Monday. I took aleeve pm to sleep which helped. Tuesday just sucked as I felt like death!! Today(weds) at 12pm I took 4th of suboxone. WOW!! I feel amazing!! I feel like I did before my knee went out!! 1 hour after taking the suboxone an I feel great. I’m gonna try 4mg per day then step down to 2 then 1 but geez. I wish someone would have told me years ago about this!!! I feel myself again!! Thanks to this site an reading comments for months I believe I have my life back!!
I’m 54 and in realative good shape. For 3 years I was on Oxy I got from mom. Then last Sept. she couldn’t get any more. So I switched to snorting heroin which quickly spun out of control. I decided to stop on Friday night. Here I’m into day 5 and still feel like shit. I’m suppose to start my Suboxin today. Am I off too long
Ive been using oxy for over 6 years now. 4 15mg per day. We all know that over time that just wasnt getting it done anymore. So like most folks i turned to the streets for more. That leads to spending everything you have, then leads dealing drugs in hopes to cover the cost of your usage. Well im done. I have gone through withdrawals before, about 14 months ago. I just gritted my teeth and delt with all the lovely experiences that withdrawl has to offer. As some of us do I just started my using routine all over again. Fast forward to today. I last used at 7 pm on 3/30/18. I have two sub strips that I plan on using to taper off. I still have a dr that continues to write me scripts of 112 15 mg oxy monthly so this may be a long battle, but one i plan on winning sooner than later. Well thats my two bit story i wanted to share with all of you. I believe this site has more useful information on it than all the others combined. Matt I thank you as do everyine else that takes the time to read the info on this site!
Great post, Mo! Thanks for sharing about your past, present, and goals for the future, and I also appreciate your kind feedback. I’m wishing you the best on your journey. 🙂
I quit of us 3 days ago and have took small pieces of suboxone everyday and feel great do you think I best the monster?
I’m a 130 pound female and am up to about 120mgs of oxy a day, plus benzos sometimes. (so I guess that’s probably a lot for me) 🙁 I have to stop. I think I’m going to die. I just stated subs today. I’ve been sick with the flu and it wasn’t the ideal time, but I ran out of oxys so now was the time. I’ve been taking this large amount for quite some time, probably about a year. I’m exhausted emotionally and financially. I have a family. Besides starting the subs, what advice would you have for me? I did buy some Calm Support. Anything else to help me stay comfortable right now and stay on track?
Thanks so much,
Dear Matt. I have a very big addiction of H that has lasted for about a year now. I have a very good job and I take care of my 2 you kids by myself. Its time for me to stop this habbit cause financially and mentally I can’t do it anymore. I shoot almost 2 grams a day of very good H. I know this is a tremendous amount and this is going to be very hard for me not to have any withdrawal symptoms. I need to be able to function everyday for my kids and for me to work which is very labor intensive. I was able to get 17 8mg subs and would like to get a plan together on what to take and when. I’m am going to run out of my H tomorrow night sometime and would love if you could reply to me sometime before then so I know what I need to do. Thank you very much and I am waiting for your reply
It’s nice to hear from you, though I’m sorry you’re in this position. Yet there is hope! You have some great medicine to help you, my friend. I’m going to post links to a couple articles I wrote that I believe will help you the most in your position. If you study them along with this article you’ve commented on, you’re sure to have a great plan!
How To Taper Off Suboxone Like a Champion>>
Suboxone Withdrawal Remedies THAT WORK>>
Thanks for teaching me more about suboxone and how it can help with opiate withdrawals. One thing that you said was the buprenorphine can bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain and other parts of the body that drugs like heroin bind to. A friend of mine is really interested in a lot of this since he wants to be a pharmacist one day, and I think he would benefit from reading this. Thanks for the information!
Matt, I was recently in detox for a 30mg/day oxy dependence. I was put on Suboxone. I believe it started at 6mg for 2 days, then dropped to 4mg. I was on 4 mg for three days now I dropped to 1 2mg pill per day. I am supposed to take this for four days then stop.
This is very much like what is suggested by the manufacturer for opioid detox. However, I see people online disputing this fact. A doctor even disputed it, saying it is only for maintenance.
Anyway, are you familiar with this short term use plan and do you think the reason why I can’t find anecdotes online is due to it not being used this way? Or is it just so successful that people don’t complain?
What should I expect, do you think, after using Suboxone for ten days and stopping at 2mg?
Let me answer my own question. Yes, Elle, you will have withdrawals. You will have body aches so bad that your hair will hurt. You will get to the 60th hour post sub and you will have trouble making any sort of plans because of the
unpredictability of suboxone.
You will still be trapped in dependency and not much better off. You have exchanged the pain of oxy withdrawal for time out of your life. You will have to live day by day.
Unfortunately, that’s what happens to a lot of people. However, I have two current clients that used Suboxone for a few days along with supplements, then some other powerful opiate withdrawal medications to help them after the Suboxone and they are feeling quite well. Sorry you’re having such a difficult time I’ve been there and know how it feels. What other medications, supplements, and other opiate withdrawal remedies are you using? Perhaps I can see what you’re taking and offer some suggestions that could help.
Thank you for your response.
I am at the end of day 5. My body has been in tremendous pain. I have hot and cold flashes that I treat with clonidine but it makes my breasts hurt A LOT.
I’m still sleeping every night. I have some anxiety but it isn’t terrible. Occasional pounding heart that last for two thumps. I used 2mg Valium last night because I was agitated. There was discord in the house and I couldn’t ease into sleep.
Other than that, the occasional Robaxin for muscle spasm and Zofran for nausea, which isn’t often at all.
Today I felt good enough to leave the house. My back aches and my legs are heavy. Had some stomach issues but I take a lot of Vitamin C so that could be it.
Could I be turning the corner?
Do people with ten weeks of opiate use and 9 days on sub generally get jumped after day 5?
You sound like you’re turning the corner! Ginger and peppermint tea are both extraordinary for the stomach issues and rubbing Tiger Balm or Icy Hot or something like that on your calves works well too. I also like those Icy Hot Back Patches you can just stick on there, and Advil too.
You will start to feel better soon. Passion flower tea also helps very well. And of course, Calm Support works super well too. Too bad you don’t have any of that stuff.
I’m trying to get off norcos and perocets 10 mg I take probably 20 through out the day I don’t want to take them anymore but I have to work I live in a motel so I can’t miss a day of work and I just had surgery bowl blockage stuck in my hernia that was caused due to the gastro bi pass I had almost 2 yrs ago but I’m tired of depending on them but can’t go through the kicking process please someone help me I have Suboxone strips to get off them but I’m also scared of overdose
This is a normal way to use Suboxone and has worked very well for some people, and not so well for others. Everyone is different, so while some are able to use Suboxone this way and have a pretty easy withdrawal, some still have a hard time with it. That’s why I like the idea of using other remedies as well, both medications and supplements along with using Suboxone for this short time.
I can’t reply to your comment above. Please know I have been taking Calm Support for over two months. I bought all of the supplements you suggested when I was considering megadosing on Vitamin C. Calm Support was a bargain considering what I would have paid for the items separately.
And it was the least I could do when you have been so active here. People should support you if they can.
If the legs don’t stop hurting I am considering putting a fat lidocaine patch on each calf and calling it The New Heroin Chic. I did get a pedi with a leg massage for my first day out today and that helped. I tested very low for Vitamin D and potassium when in detox last week. So this is likely more than just detox pain.
I have gabepentin at the pharmacy but having once CT detoxed from Lyrica, I am so scared to take it.
Thank you for your suggestions. I still recommend a short sub detox for short habits like mine. I honestly felt the oxy withdrawls when I was on 4mg of sub even though my habit was 30mg oxy a day. I was never comfortable on the sub. It doesn’t add up if you consider equivalence. I jumped at 2mg to avoid sub dependence after 9 days on.
If this is the end, it was worth it to be done with it all. Then you can use me as an example of a successful short detox that wasn’t painless but still effective.
Ya it’s just harder for some people than others. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from people using a few days to a week or two of Suboxone.
But I’ve also heard so many people say how well it worked for them. Some people just have bodies and brains that are better able to handle the short-term Suboxone method.
Hi, Matt I value your opinion, so I hope you can reply soon due to where I’m at with my recovery! I did H for a year about 2-1/2 vs a day, I then went to a methadone clinic to get off the H, the Methadone worked wonders, I did not touch the H again, I was on Methadone for over 2-1/2 yrs with all clean screens! I was up to 190 mg of the Methadone when I decided I wanted to be done with it as well, I felt the clinic was my new DOPE house, I went down 10 mgs a day, faster then recommended but I wanted off, when I got down to ten mgs I went to 8mgs every other day for a week, then I took 1/4 of suboxone for a week, I feel really good, very little wd symptoms( chills,leg pain) so now I want to stop the suboxone, In your opinion will I go into any wds after I stop taken the suboxone, it’s been 1/4 pill for about 11 days now?
Congrats on your achievement! You are kicking butt. I would think that you would have some pretty unpleasant withdrawal symptoms from stopping Suboxone at this point, but you may not. Every person is different. You could always stop taking it and then see how you feel, and if you feel too bad, you could take a little Suboxone, then wait until you start feeling bad again, then on and on. Given the amount of time you’ve been on methadone though, I doubt that it would be an easy experience coming off the Suboxone right now.
You would probably not have much energy. 1/4 pill of Suboxone is still quite powerful. Buprenorphine is very strong. But like I said, you could always just stop taking it and see what happens. Then you can just take more if it’s too difficult. And do a slower taper.
Hi, I’m planning to come off H tomorrow as I’ve managed to gather 4x8ml of subs I’ve been smoking the H for just over three months now. Would 4x8ml be enough to get me through the wd also would I be able to just stop taking the subs after four days without having any wd symptoms? Please help, I feel rather stuck and cannot find an answer anywhere online.
I am basically doing the same thing as you were, how did it go for you? Took one 50mg MS Contin extended release a day in the morning for many years now, Just to not be sick. Haven’t been high in years. Was taking 4 mg sub for last 3 days, Now 2mg a day & I’m feeling fine. I don’t want to take it for too long though I’m just trying to taper off using the subs for that one strong morphine pill I was taking. Then I want to stop. Hoping the withdrawals aren’t too bad after I’m done quartering the 8mg subs at 2mg a day. Is one week long enough to taper using the sub? After the subs I want to use kratom for residual wd symptoms. Do you think this could work?
I have been using oxycodone for almost a year now. Started using because a friend was already using . I started using just 30mg a day broken down through out the day. Then was at 45mg for a few months, went to 60mg a day for about 8months & for the past month have done 75mg of oxycodone broken up into 15mg through the day!
I don’t really feel any good feelings from it, it’s just when I don’t do it I feel horrible .. I can’t handle the restlessness & depression & feeling that I’m going to crawl out of my skin, & I get very irritated & on edge!
I want to stop ! & I want to stop NOW!
I’m on google because I want tonight to be my last !
I’ve done reading on suboxine and sounds like a miracle !
I need advise, I do NOT want to get dependent on it. But I would be ideal to use just long enough to get past withdrawal symptoms from oxycodone without having withdrawal from suboxine.
A friend of mine can give me suboxine so I just need a game plan please ! As to how much to take, how often & for how long !
Please please please !!!!
Email me if possible!
Most people that want to use Suboxone strictly for opiate withdrawal and not for maintenance, use it for a only a few days, then stop. And doctors typically will prescribe just enough Subouxone to eliminate the withdrawal symptoms and cravings, but not an amount that is higher than it takes to achieve that.
Hi dr I’m a new starter on suboxone from having oxy I just can’t sleep and feeling sick in my Stomach
Hi there, I’m not a doctor. I hope that your insomnia and stomach sickness go away swiftly. Talk to your doctor that prescribed you the Suboxone about this issue and they can help remedy this.
I have depression and no medicine worked, also my doc put me on suboxone 0.5 mg/day, i took it for 4 months, is a high dose ? Or it is low dose ? In the last 5 days i did not tok subo and i felt some bad, i want know, also after 4 month 0.5 mg dose, is hard to stay away from it ? This bad feeling how long can be in days to this period and dose ? Also today i tok 0.25 mg also half, how must i do ? And for depression is a problem, it worked for 14-18 hours also after that BUM again down, and so every time, after a few days the effect was lighterw and some anxiety appeared !!!! To begin subo killed the anxiety, after a month use, anxiety was strong present, someone experienced too high anxiety from a few period of subo use ? When i increased the dose, the anxiety was more stronger, also is not from the fact that i need higher dose ! Why to begin anxiety was away and then stong up ?! And how i said, after 2 pause days, i began to feel some bad, tell me please if it is a hard situation, or this bad feeling will go away lighter than to ppl who tok not 0.5, also 8 mg subo for one year and not for 4 months.
Hi can someone help me. I’m in pain management for 2 years for muscle pain. I take 10mg of oxycodone 3 times a day. Actually i cut them in half and take half a pill every 3-4 hours….I tried to stop but within hours of last dose my heart hurts so bad and back pain. Is it possible this suboxone will help me? Can i be on it for like 3 or 4 days and that’s it? Any help would sure help me thank you
Many people have used it for 1-4 days and have received tremendous help from it.
Your artical is by far the most helpful I have read on the internet . Thanks for the info mate
I’m glad it helped you, and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to write me this feedback. I wish you the best. Take care. 🙂
Yes it works great im on day 3 with subs itook norcos for 3 years due to a injury and it really caught up to me left me broke buying off the streets so ive started the suboxin treatment after day 4 should i contiue to take subs?
That’s up to you Bubs! If you’re just trying to get past the acute opiate withdrawal then move on, I would use it for no longer than 7 days. 3 Days is plenty but some like that extra few days cushion. So if that’s your goal don’t go over a week, and 3 days or 4 days or both plenty.
If your goal is to have something to help you ward of cravings to use for longer, then Suboxone is a great long-term program, however, if you use this medicine long-term it becomes very hard for most people to come off. Over 50% of my coaching clients I’ve ever had have been on Suboxone long-term and they all wish they hadn’t stayed on it so long. It becomes easy to keep taking everyday because it does work so well. So hopefully this info all answered your questions. If you need any more info I’m happy to assist. 🙂
Many people use a quick sub taper for 4 to 7 days. Then stop. You will have some wd symptoms once stopped. There is no completely painless way off. Just the price you pay. But it is very tolerable compared to cold turkey.
I enjoy coming to this site to see how everyone is doing and it inspires me on my own journey. I’m coming off Suboxone with the help of my Methadone clinic . I was on Methadone and it made me so sick every day so I finally had enough and got myself down to 35 ml. I was then able to get into detox and make the transition to Suboxone. That’s how it works here in B.C. Canada. I started at 20 mg. and have now gotten myself down to 10 as of today ! I’ve been doing a reduction of 2mg. per week and so far so good. I’m using the DLPA and Calm Support as well as other supplements I’ve found very helpful; most of which have been suggested here. I do my best to follow the routine that Matt has laid out and I would also like to emphasize that diet and exercise seem to be key factors in this endeavour, at least for me. I do have a question. I pick up my dose daily at a pharmacy close by. Does anyone else find that when you swallow the saliva after your dose do you experience any stomach discomfort ? If so, is this normal ? Maybe PAWS from the Methadone ??
Mary Price - Certified OAS Recovery Specialist
Congratulations! You sound like a very determined person. The stomach discomfort that you are talking about could be coming from the naloxone in the formulation of suboxone. Many people do have stomach sensitivity to it. I, personally, developed severe heartburn and indigestion from swallowing the saliva. Then I began spitting the saliva, but only after allowing the buprenorphine (active ingredient in suboxone) time to absorb. This took about 15-20 minutes for me. I placed the medicine in my cheek, instead of under the tongue. I know I wasn’t taking it as the Dr said (bc he said “under the tongue”), but eventually the Dr’s advice did change to cheek dosing ( buccal ). I did it bc I just couldn’t stand all that saliva gathering up in my mouth and having to swallow so much. I had thought that was what had caused the “sick” feeling that I was having, but unfortunately it didn’t help. That’s when I began researching and found out that ingesting naloxone can cause that, and that others had been “spitting” after having given the buprenorphine time. Once I started spitting, the problem WAS OVER! After understanding about the two medicines (bupe & naloxone ) & how they worked, I knew that the buprenorphine needed to be absorbed through the membranes in the mouth bc if taken orally, it didn’t have good bioavailability. Whereas the naloxone was just the opposite. Knowing this made me know that if I spit the saliva, I wouldn’t be losing much of the bupe at all, just getting rid of the naloxone; which turned out to be the culprit of my stomach issues.
While naloxone is a “blocker”, if suboxone is taken correctly , the naloxone is pretty useless anyway. Bupe, itself is a blocker too. Naloxone was only added to deter it being used by injection.
OAS RECOVERY SPECIALIST
I am wanting to use suboxone for the dependency I have on hydrocodone. I have been taking 20 – 30 mg daily for about a year, a tolerance that has developed over 3 years. I have been using this for pain management for serious back and neck injuries and am not wanting to be subject to addiction. It began with 5 mg vicodin which increased to 10 mg norco after about 2 years.
Recently I was introduced to suboxone – but not from my doctor. I cannot imagine using a whole strip of this! The first time I used it I believe the dose was about 1/4 of a stip and it was too much. So I have carefully divided a 2 mg. strip into 8 sections. Will this be effective for avoiding withdrawal and can I stop taking this after a week? Has anyone had any experience with minimal doses of this drug which seems very powerful and miraculous?
I have read a lot about this so far an unfortunately don’t have the money to enter the program you are offering, but I commend you Matt on the work and careful planning that you have developed to help people. I hope you can answer my question. I really don’t want to have a life controlled by opiate dependency, and I, like you, have many obligations and responsibilities. This dependency I have on opiates is invisible to everyone I know, except my doctor, so I am alone doing this. Thank you in advance.
Mary Price - Certified OAS Recovery Specialist
I know that some believe that Buprenorphine treatment (Suboxone) should be taken long-term and with a counseling program, and for those that are ADDICTED, I think so too. But when someone is DEPENDENT, I think a quick taper used to detox from their DOC (drug of choice) is good if they are unable to taper the DOC by themselves.
However, if I were doing this, I’d stretch it out to 10-12 days, taking less the last few days.
OAS Recovery Specialist
I am really confused about the reputation of Sub on the blog here. I battled opiate addiction for 20 years and nothing could save me from it. I would relapse every time I went through detox over and over again. Nothing would stop the vicious cycle. I sought ought help from a sub doctor after hundreds of hours of research. I was on a path to opiate death. Suboxone led me off that path. I am able to work, have relationships and participate in life again. Yes, it is not cheap, but it is a lot cheaper than doing opiates. It has stabilized my life when nothing else could. Had it not been for Sub, I would probably be dead. Yes, I would love not to have to take it at all, but if I have to take it for the rest of my life, at least I have a life to live today. Are there not others on the site who have been helped by this medication?
Of course. Suboxone has helped tens of thousands of people get their lives back together. But there is so much traffic to this website that people will have different opinions on it. I believe it is a wonderful medication that has helped many people, and I also know many people have a hard time coming off Subs. The people that have a negative opinion of it probably had a negative experience. Typically that’s what I see. Someone will have a negative experience with a drug or medication, and they will say it’s bad for everyone. I value everyone’s opinions and I let everyone express those opinions freely.
Dear Matt, I am cuurently addicted to 30 mgs of oxys per day. I haved ordered Calm Support and Kratom. I started taking the following suuplements today. 2,000 mgs of Vitamin C. 5-HTP with B6, L- tyrosine, DLPA, GABA and Ashwagandha. I started taking these to help me while trying to lower my oxys before jumping off. My question is by starting to take the supplements now will they help with my tapering and then once I get the Calm Support should I continue taking the supplements I am on now? I am determined to get off of the oxys and know what I am facing, I am just trying to make it less painful. I am not sure about taking the Kratom and I also have about 5 Zubsolvs. I know you are not a doctor but would appreciate any input on how I should keep moving forward. Any input would be welcomed.
I too, should remind you that I am not a Doctor, and as such, my comments should be construed as informational and not direct medical advice. I have a great deal of personal experience and research in the matters I discussed, but in fairness to Matt and his website, a disclaimer is in order. Just regard it as more Info for your wheelhouse! Best of luck to you!
First off, the dose of Loratab you were taking isn’t that much….it is the equivalent of about 20mg of oxycodone a day. However, the length of time you were on it would definitely present discontinuation issues. Frankly, I’m surprised you never asked for or needed a dose increase. I wouldn’t consider this doctor ‘overprescribing’ unless he was prescribing it for a sprained ankle. Its actually not a large dose for a fractured vertebrae. You didn’t say what dose of Suboxone the doctor Rx’d you. But in my experience, most doctors way over dose Suboxone! You shouldn’t have been started on a dose higher than 2mg..( certainly 4mg max!) People underestimate how powerful Subs are. Mg per mg they are about the most powerful opiate agonist out there (except perhaps, for Fentanyl), albeit a partial agonist. This is where the ‘healing’ aspect comes in. While they have an extraordinarily high affinity for the mu receptor, they only fire on it intermittently (partial agonist). The concept being, less agonist action promotes healing when compared to a full agonist ( all other opiates except for Tramadol). That being said, I have to agree with Matt on this, I’m not sure if that actually translates to healing or just harm reduction. My guess is its a marketing tool and its the latter.
Sadly, many doctors start patients on too high of doses, then keep them on it indefinitely ( I guess its just good business..aka $$$). Lowering a high Sub dose after being on it a long time is notoriously difficult. Best to start low, and wean as soon as you are physically and mentally ready, unless your goal is maintenance therapy. Once you get down to 1 mg or less, its imperative that you start skipping days, every other day at first, then every 2 days, etc., to rid yourself of this drug. This is do to its enormous half life. Bottomline, any dose change you make today, you probably won’t feel for 4 or 5 days making management of discontinuation a arduous task. I did it, using Subs, and I was on extremely high does of both Oxycodone and Fentanyl. But from the get go, I dropped my Doctor prescribed dose of 32mg/day ( the highest allowed at the time), to 6mg. Within a month I dropped to 4 mg. Then 2mg then 1, then 0.5. Then started skipping days. I did this over a period of about 9 months. I could not get off of this drug until I started skipping days. I can’t stress how vitally important that is to breaking free! I wish you the very best in your recovery.
My bad, my last comment is addressed to Brad.
One other thing, Matt’s warnings about precipitated withdraws and the time interval between stopping a full agonist opiate and starting Suboxone should not be taken lightly. No one should have to go through the agony of that, and its existence is testament to the extremely high affinity that Suboxone has for opiate receptors….it will virtually knock anything else that is on them, off !
Matt..I’ve only been on an 8 mg dose of Suboxone daily for.the past three months..I want to start my taper program now. My plan was.to cut the dose in half..that being down to 4mg per day for about 9 days before taking another milligram off. My question is…do you think I will feel the effects of cutting My dose in half right off the bat? As in anxiety or withdrawals? I did a successful taper once before several yrs ago. All I can Remember is that I reduced the dose 1 mg every 9 days till I got down to 2 milligram where my taper became longer…thank you. Oh? And can you recommend a good web site.I.cam go to order top quality Kratom?
Matt, great article with a lot of really accurate, helpful information.
I have been on suboxone for six, going on seven months now. I became physically dependent on lortab because I was over prescribed by a doctor after fracturing my L4 vertebrae.
He prescribed me 60-5mg lortabs a month for almost a year and half before literally disappearing overnight as the DEA was apparently (I found all of this out later, when a series of articles were written about a ring of doctors overprescribing pain meds for the insurance $$ in my area and his name was listed in the local paper).
I never upped the dosage the entire year and a half I was prescribed the meds and only took 5mg every 4 hrs to help with my constant back pain. Once I no longer had access to the lortabs I quickly realized I had become physically dependent.
Being extremely naive as to what I was going through or what options were out there to help me, not wanting to tell anyone because I was ashamed (even though I know now, there was nothing to be ashamed of) and having to work to pay the bills I turned to the street and started buying lortabs there.
Amazingly I still stuck to the 5mg every 4 hrs regiment I had been on, too scared to stray too far away from that. I had educated myself enough at that point to know that if I went any higher or started taking Oxy or any of the stronger stuff that my inevitable withdrawals would only be worse.
I know that probably doesn’t sound like much compared to some people who are reading this, but because I was so scared of what people would think, of withdrawals and the fact that I had a dealer with a seemingly endless supply, I let this nightmare go on for 6.5 years.
I realize now that, even though I was taking a low dose, it was still much more than my body produces naturally and that over that amount of time my brain chemistry changed dramatically.
I was tired of being a slave to those little white pills, Watson had become my best friend and my worst enemy. I finally caved and called my parents, quit my $60K a year job and moved in with them. It took 5 months to finally get in to see a doctor licensed to prescribe suboxone, because every single clinic was completely full, and used Kratom in the interim to try and function. That helped me immensely during the acute phase, but I quickly realized that I had traded one drug for another and even though it was a natural derivative, anything that activated my MU receptors, that didn’t come naturally from my own brain, was going to cause withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.
I had the same thoughts about suboxone and like a lot of people reading this right now, I went online and read horror story after horror story about suboxone withdrawals, with only a few success stories sprinkled in to give only glimpses of hope.
I say all of that to say this, I don’t think anyone (other than people who have actually experienced it first hand) know what they’re talking about when it comes to suboxone. Especially the doctors who push for a continual maintenance plan, lasting years if you let them. I asked my doctor (who really does seem to actually care and seems like a very nice guy) how long did he think I should be on suboxone, taking into account my specific situation, and he told me verbatim, “until you walk in here one day and tell me you no longer need suboxone anymore” WTF?? How is that an answer? There was no discussion of a taper schedule or anything. He also told me that my brain (receptors) were and would be “healing” while on suboxone, which is completely false based off of everything I’ve read about it. Yes, it does eliminate cravings and withdrawals. Yes, it does help you to lead as close to a normal life as possible. BUT you’re still a slave to a drug and it only delays the inevitability that one day, sooner or later, you’re going to have to kick the suboxone in much the same manner you had to kick your original D.O.C. I apologize for rambling.
Matt, in your experience is anything my doctor said true? I know you aren’t a doctor, I’m just looking for some real world advice, specifically about the idea that “my brain receptors will be able to “heal” while on suboxone? It just seems like I’m kicking the can further down the road and paying a small fortune out of pocket to do so. Any personal insight or anecdotes would be much appreciated. (Sorry for the novel)
This doctor reminds me of an old doctor I had. When I was 24, I went in to see him for depression. He prescribed me Paxil, an SSRI antidepressant. A month later I came in for a check up, and I told him the medicine took away my depression. He told me since it worked, that meant my brain had a “Paxil Deficiency,” and I would need to be on the medication for the rest of my life.
Months later it stopped working, then I only was experiencing side effects, so I got off the medication. Now I hear of your doctor and many others in fact, saying that Suboxone “heals the brain receptors.” Suboxone does in fact fit inside the same mu opioid receptors that herion, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other opioid drugs bind to, so it takes away cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
However, is that “healing?” Sounds like a marketing scheme to me. The fact is that Suboxone actually “exacerbates” the biochemical imbalances rather than “heal” them. To have healing occur, one needs to come off Suboxone, then eat healthy, take the proper nutritional supplements, exercise, drink enough water, get good sleep and rest, etc.
Most people have a difficult time tapering off Suboxone, and that is because it isn’t healing your brain while you’re on it, it’s actually keeping you dependent on opioid drugs to feel normal. Disclaimer: This is for informational use only, and is not medical advice.
So I have been on Suboxone for 8 years now. It was prescribed to me by a Pain Clinic who had me on Oxycontin. He keep increasing my dose of Oxy till I felt I was getting into trouble with the Oxycontin and asked to taken off. My doctor told me I would have to take the Suboxone (2 tablets) to get off the Oxycontin. I had surgery last June. I was told to go off Suboxone for 2 days prior to surgery so I would have pain relief as needed while recovering from major surgery. I went off Suboxone 3 days before surgery. I woke up in recovery with the worst pain I have ever felt in my life and nothing they gave me helped my pain including a drug they told me is commonly used for cancer patients. I tried to go off suboxone cold turkey. I mean I thot I could do it since I was not having withdrawals. Imagine my surprise when 10 days after surgery I started having horrible withdrawals. I toughed it out for 48 days but they were not getting better so I went back on a lower dose of Suboxone. I am now down to one half a tablet but it is not easy. I have been on this dose for several months now and living moment to moment. My pain level is way up and anxiety and exhaustion and depression and the list goes on. Please excuse the typos but am having trouble as I am typing this. I don’t know how I am going to get off the half tablet with what I am experiencing. I am not a young woman and don’t know how mush more my body can take. I think I would have been better off tapering the Oxycontin instead of using the Suboxone. I have read nightmare stories about this wonder/monster drug Suboxone and it scares the heck out of me. I have become a shell of who I used to be and my family is also suffering because of this. Will any of your methods help me get off the half tablet I am still on and which supplements would work best for Suboxone. Again, I have been on this 8 years . My doctor never once suggested I start reducing my dose until after what happened to me after surgery. I used to ask him early on in the treatment when do I start lowering my dose but was told not yet…to soon….etc. I am so tired and my body is so tired.
I agree, there are many paths to recovery and each person has to find the one that is right for them. Great article, thanks.
Thanks for your comment Hillary. I’m really glad you enjoyed the article. 🙂
I have been on Suboxone for close to nine years. I was referred to a pain clinic after having back surgery in 1995 and when my pain level started increasing went to an orthopedic doctor who then referred me to a pain clinic. I was first put on hydrocodone then oxycodone than Oxycontin and the doses kept increasing as the doctor felt that’s what I needed. After a few months I realized I was becoming addicted or already was addicted to these drugs in addition was extremely constipated and I asked to be taken off of the narcotics. I was told the only way to get off of them was to take a drug called Suboxone. Throughout the first several years I would ask the doctor when should I start tapering my dose of Suboxone. I was told no you need this drug for pain. I questioned him as I told him I didn’t think this was a drug used for pain but was told it can be used for moderate pain. Last June I had major surgery I was told to go off of the suboxin for two days prior so the pain medicine I would get during recovery would help. I actually went off Suboxone 3 days prior to the surgery and woke up in recovery coming off the table I was in so much pain. Nothing they gave me including the type of drugs that give cancer patients was helping, at least that’s what I was told they were giving me all kinds of different types of drugs to try to lower my pain. They finally realized that the suboxin was blocking the effects of any of the drugs they were giving me. After a few days in the hospital I went home and I decided no more Suboxone. Well after 10 days I got a very rude awakening and went into the worst withdrawals imaginable. I stayed off suboxone for 48 days thinking surely it would get better each day but in all reality it never got better. It forced me to go back to the pain clinic whose first idea was to put me back on time release oxycontin I said no because I felt like that would be trading one addiction for another. So the doctor then decided I was in enough withdrawal that let’s try some Suboxone. I was petty desperate so I reluctantly agreed. After about 20 minutes after my brain felt like it was doing battle with itself the suboxone finally kicked in. I was told to start taking one and a half tablets of the 8 milligram / 2 milligram which I did for about two weeks. I then dropped to just one tablet. I did that for about two months and then decided it was time to go down to 3/4 of a tablet. Well that was kind of hard breaking the tablet as it would basically sort of crushed into a powder so I ended up doing a half of a tablet which I’ve been on that dose for 2 months. It has not been without its problems however. I have talked at length to the pain clinic doctor and to be quite honest he doesn’t seem to have a clue why I had no pain relief during the time I had surgery and why I’m having problems now coming off of this drug. Recently I was trying to find a psychiatrist or an addictionologist that might be able to help me only to be told that he would not accept patients my age nor would any of the doctors in that practice. I just turned 65 years old today and being told that really set me back. It’s depressing enough to go through what I’m going through and then to be told I’m too old to be one of their patients. And it’s really a shame because they had a Chinese doctor that deals with herbs and acupuncture and I thought it would be the perfect fit for me. I ran across your name Matt Finch, and I saw all your articles on how to come off of Suboxone. Since I am already at a half of a tablet I’m not sure where to begin and which of the supplements would be best for me at this point I suffer from anxiety as well as chronic pain issues which the pain has gotten worse I am sure due to the withdrawals I also have depression I can’t eat and I have trouble sleeping. I have had anxiety for most of my life so I am not sure again which of the supplements would be best for me to not only help the anxiety but the horrible chronic pain depression lack of appetite so on and so on the list is endless. While my family is being supportive it’s getting old for them and I understand that everybody’s patience wears thin after this long of trying to recover from this drug. When I was initially put on Suboxone I was not told the whole story about it and maybe it’s because the doctor himself didn’t know. If that’s the case he probably shouldn’t have been prescribing it because he readily admits he never had a patient that has reacted like I have from not having any pain relief from the surgery to now while I’m trying to reduce my dose. Also with what I’m going through he is not offering any medication to try to help my withdrawals in anyway so I feel like I’m kind of on my own and I’m really ready to give up. I’m not sure how I ended up on this site and I hope I’m posting this in the right place. But if there’s some way you could get in touch with me and let me know with my situation which of the supplements
of which you listed would be best for me I know you mentioned dlap I think and calm support as well as a host of other herbs I know you said for people with anxiety to get a different formula and please understand as I’m going through these withdrawals right now if I make any typos it’s it’s just very hard to keep my head on straight right now. I feel at this point that you’re my last hope because I’m running out of options. The pain doctor did possibly suggest putting me in detox but then thought better of it when I told him my withdrawals did not even start for 10 days basically after I stopped the suboxone last June after the surgery. The only saving grace would be I guess I never went back on the full dose after the surgery of Suboxone and I am down to now only a half a tablet but I cannot seem to get it any lower as hard as I try. I do have some Xanax and Klonopin but I am afraid to use too much of that because I don’t want to become addicted to those as well. So if you could just give me some idea of where to begin and which of these supplements would be most beneficial for me I would really appreciate it Thank you so much in advance
Are you ok, Susan? Let’s see if I can help you through this. Reading your post touched my heart and made me feel for you. I would like to help if I can.
I also have been on suboxone for a number of years. There are times when I want to be “medication free” and stay healthy yet I cannot seem to get off of the suboxone. When I stop taking it I experience severe restless leg syndrome. One day I was having my hair done and felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I did not have any suboxone with me but when I got home I took it and felt so much better. I don’t want to feel dependent on anything, and I hate this. But my doctor is very reassuring and said that a small dose of sub is better than the alternative. I have resigned myself to the fact that this may be part of my regimen for a long time. It doesn’t make he euphoric or high, just “normal”. Good luck, I will say a prayer for you, the very fact that you are aware and trying is admirable. So many people just stay on the opiates—not a good choice at all. Good Luck!