Addiction Coping and Recovery How Long Does Withdrawal From Suboxone Last? By Corinne O’Keefe Osborn Corinne O’Keefe Osborn LinkedIn Corinne Osborn is an award-winning health and wellness journalist with a background in substance abuse, sexual health, and psychology. Learn about our editorial process Updated on April 25, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE Medically reviewed by John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Verywell / Gary Ferster Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Duration Symptoms Timeline Coping Relapse Potential Quitting Suboxone During Pregnancy Long-Term Treatment What is the most important information I should know about Suboxone? You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Suboxone; these symptoms may last from seven to 10 days.Do not change your dose or stop taking Suboxone without talking to your doctor first. Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is a prescription medication used to treat opioid use disorder(OUD). While it doesn’t get produce a high—Suboxone is still an opioid—which means that you will experience withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit it cold turkey. Your doctor may recommend tapering your dose over time to minimize withdrawal symptoms. How Long Does Suboxone Withdrawal Last? Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal usually last for a week but may last up to 10 days. Muscle aches and joint pain typically decline after the first 72 hours and feelings of restlessness and anxiety may last for up to a week. Other physical cold-like symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose generally disappear after 10 days. However, you may experience feelings of general discomfort and opioid craving for a few months. Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal If you are using Suboxone as directed for the treatment of opioid addiction or to treat pain, you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms if you miss a dose or try to quit abruptly. Physical Symptoms of Withdrawal from Suboxone Suboxone causes most of the physical symptoms typical of opioid withdrawal. These include: ChillsGoose bumpsMuscles aches and painsNausea or vomiting Runny noseStomach cramps or diarrheaSweatingTremors or twitchingTeary eyes If you take Suboxone to treat opioid addiction, then your withdrawal symptoms should be less severe than what you have experienced in the past. To get a better idea of how mild to moderate opioid withdrawal symptoms compared to more intense symptoms, you can check out the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS). Health professionals use this scale to determine the severity of opioid withdrawal syndrome. Psychological Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal Some psychological symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal include: AnxietyDepressionRestlessness Additionally, the psychological challenges associated with withdrawal are not always caused by withdrawal itself. Withdrawal can trigger the return of mental health problems that were muted by drug use, such as anxiety and depression. After withdrawal, people are also forced to take a good look at the damage that their drug addiction has wrought. It is not unusual to struggle with issues of guilt and regret. Figuring out how to get your life back on track can feel overwhelming and emotionally exhausting. That’s why it’s so important to reach out for help. Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline The timeline of Suboxone withdrawal is also a bit different from withdrawal from other opioids. Suboxone is a long-acting opioid, which means withdrawal symptoms can take several days to appear. Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline Suboxone withdrawal typically begins within two to four days after taking the last dose, peaks around days three to five, and resolves within seven days. Sometimes, however, psychological symptoms can linger for several weeks. This may include depression and an inability to feel pleasure. Recap Suboxone withdrawal can lead to a number of withdrawal symptoms including cold-like symptoms, anxiety, stomach issues, and muscle aches. Such symptoms usually peak within five days and largely resolve within a week. Coping With Suboxone Withdrawal You can avoid the symptoms of withdrawal from Suboxone by working with your doctor to taper down your dose. Tapering means gradually reducing your dose over time. Tapering Schedule Suboxone tapering schedules typically take place over the course of 7 to 28 days. Some studies have shown that overall success (measured by a period of prolonged abstinence) tends to be better with a shorter, seven-day taper. Other studies have found that withdrawal symptoms are managed best by a slow, flexible tapering schedule. With a flexible taper schedule, your doctor can slow the dose reduction if you experience any uncomfortable symptoms. Do Not Taper On Your Own If you have been acquiring your Suboxone illicitly or do not have a close relationship with your doctor, it can be tempting to try tapering down on your own. Tapering on your own increases the likelihood of failure. Unsuccessful attempts to quit are discouraging and psychologically distressing. If you are still struggling with withdrawal despite the Suboxone taper, your doctor may recommend one or more support medications. Withdrawal Medication Treatment Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride) is a medication approved by the FDA in May 2018. It is the first non-opioid medication approved to treat the symptoms of withdrawal. Lucemyra works by reducing the release of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter believed to play a role in withdrawal symptoms. Because it does not contain an opioid agonist, Lucemyra treatment can begin immediately after your last dose of Suboxone. It is currently approved to treat healthy adults for a maximum of 14 days following opioid cessation. Lifestyle Changes If you are struggling with Suboxone withdrawal it may help to drink more fluids than usual to prevent dehydration. It's also important to eat a well-balanced diet to keep vitamin and electrolyte levels up. Work closely with a doctor, counselor, or physical therapist to develop new ways of coping with pain during and after withdrawal. Practice relaxation techniques (meditation, listening to music) to help you deal with anxiety and agitation. Try mild to moderate exercise to help you deal with restlessness. Find something else to focus on during withdrawal, such as a television show, book, or hobby. Get support and encouragement from a local community group or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting. Recap Following the tapering schedule recommended by your doctor is the best way to minimize or avoid Suboxone withdrawal. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe other medications to help you with your withdrawal symptoms. Relapse Potential Opioid withdrawal is often unpleasant, but it is very rarely dangerous. When it comes to Suboxone, complications are even more unlikely. Still, it is important to work closely with a medical professional during your Suboxone taper. The biggest threat to people withdrawing from Suboxone is the risk of relapse. Relapse is common among people with opioid use disorders and is generally considered a normal part of the recovery process. But people who have been taking Suboxone are typically further along on the path to recovery. A relapse at this point can be both discouraging and dangerous because your tolerance will have dropped substantially. Relapsing after your tolerance has decreased can lead to a dangerous or potentially fatal opioid overdose. Overdose Help If you are in immediate danger or experiencing severe medical symptoms, please get to your nearest emergency room immediately. 988 Quitting Suboxone During Pregnancy If you are quitting Suboxone because you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should definitely talk to a doctor. Suboxone is not recommended during pregnancy, but buprenorphine without naltrexone is. Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend an accelerated taper or a switch to buprenorphine or methadone, which have been proven safe during pregnancy. Long-Term Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder If you have been using Suboxone to treat your addiction, you are already ahead of the game. Suboxone allows you to develop a long-term treatment strategy without being distracted by the discomfort of withdrawal. Treatment Plan After Suboxone, a long-term treatment plan should focus on preventing future relapse. Talk therapy plays a very important role in relapse prevention. Once you come off Suboxone, you will have beaten your physical dependence on opioids, but not the psychological aspects of addiction. Talk therapy can help you figure out why you began using drugs in the first place. You can learn to identify specific situations and feelings that have led you to use in the past. Identifying these triggers helps you recognize and eliminate the negative thought patterns that cause you to make poor decisions. Research shows that combining talk therapy with medication management is more effective at treating opioid addiction than medication alone. There are many ways to explore talk therapy. You might consider working one-on-one with a psychologist or mental health counselor in private practice. You can meet with a mental health or addiction counselor at a local community clinic. Or you can explore group therapy programs, which are offered at many hospitals, clinics, and addiction treatment facilities. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. Treatment for Opioid Addiction 13 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Buprenorphine. Kumar R, Viswanath O, Saadabadi A. Buprenorphine. [Updated 2023 Feb 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023. Westermeyer J, McCance-Katz EF. Course and treatment of buprenorphine/naloxone withdrawal: an analysis of case reports. 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Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Blum K, Oscar-Berman M, Femino J, et al. Withdrawal from buprenorphine/naloxone and maintenance with a natural dopaminergic agonist: A cautionary note. J Addict Res Ther. 2013;4(2). doi:10.4172/2155-6105.1000146 National Institute on Drug Abuse. Risk of opioid misuse during pregnancy. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Treating opioid use disorder during pregnancy. By Corinne O’Keefe Osborn Corinne Osborn is an award-winning health and wellness journalist with a background in substance abuse, sexual health, and psychology. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? 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