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Subutex Withdrawal

Subutex Withdrawal and Detoxification

Subutex is a brand name given to the compound Buprenorphine hydrochloride, primarily used for the treatment of opioid addiction. It helps in the rehabilitation process by acting as the substitute during replacement therapy. It also helps to decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms in individuals undergoing the detoxification process. It is used in the detox treatment of Oxycontin, morphine, heroin, and Fentanyl. Subutex can’t induce high if it is taken in the normally prescribed doses. But the higher or frequent doses can lead towards the development of addiction.

Subutex Withdrawal Symptoms:

Subutex withdrawal symptoms are similar to that of morphine, Fentanyl or heroine. But as the drug is far less potent compared to other opioids, the potential for addiction and abuse is lesser and the withdrawal symptoms are limited in intensity as well. This property of the drug proves useful during the treatment of more severe opioid addictions. However, its prolonged use can lead towards the development of physical and psychological dependence. Quitting the drug can produce a number of withdrawal symptoms. Their intensity depends on the duration of drug abuse and the tolerance. The following are the most common withdrawal symptoms experienced by Subutex addicts:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Sneezing
  • Diarrhea
  • Paresthesias
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • yawning
  • Sweating
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches

Experts suggest that the most effective way to minimize Subutex withdrawal symptoms is to slowly taper off the dose rather than quitting the drug all at once. The symptoms appearing can range from vomiting to severe blood pressure changes and difficulty breathing. Gradually reducing the drug can let the body function on less amount of drug available in the body. The dose must be decreased over a period of two to three weeks before completely discontinuing the drug. Subutex is used in the medical detox process in the rehabilitation centers. However, addiction to Subutex must also be taken in the proper detoxification centers as it can be potentially harmful and especially in people suffering from a multi-drug abuse.

Timeline for Subutex Withdrawal:

The physical withdrawal symptoms of Buprenorphine can disappear within a period of one to two weeks but the psychological symptoms can last for several months to years. The duration of the symptoms can prolong for those abusing the higher amounts and for longer durations. The addicts who snort, chew or inject the drug may face more intense symptoms than those receiving the tablet form.

  • First 24 to 72 hours:Withdrawal symptoms reach to their peak levels during this time interval. It is the most intense period for the individual to manage and relapse rates are quite higher. After the 72 hours, the symptoms gradually begin to decrease in severity. The common symptoms during this interval include nausea, sweating, diarrhea, restlessness, watery eyes, and dilated pupils.
  • 1stweek: Within the first week of stopping Subutex, the user continues to feel the aches and pain, muscle cramping and pain in the joints. The patient can be quite uncomfortable during this period and can suffer from sleep problems, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
  • 2ndweek: The aches and pain are diminished but psychological symptoms like anxiety and irritability persist during this time interval.
  • 3rdto 4th week: Most of the physical symptoms will disappear by this time. However, the intense drug cravings, irritability, and depression are common and persist for longer durations. Due to the higher drug cravings, the person is likely to relapse.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS): These can continue for months to years depending upon the time duration and dosages of drug abused. The PAW symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Craving
  • Depression

Treatment Used to Ease Subutex Withdrawal Symptoms:


There are many medicines that are prescribed by the doctor to ease the withdrawal symptoms. However, they should be strictly taken according to the doctor’s advice in order to achieve the benefits.

  • Clonidine: The drug itself is habit-forming so it should be taken only in the prescribed doses and fewer than 2 weeks duration. It helps to relieve certain withdrawal symptoms like chills, goose bumps, muscle aches and cramping.
  • Gabapentin: It is an anti-convulsant used for the treatment of neuropathic pain. It is often prescribed to alleviate the painful symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Benzodiazepines: These are the drugs used to treat anxiety and improve the sleep. Low dose benzodiazepines are used for treating insomnia, to help the person to sleep better.
  • Loperamide: It is given to treat the gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea.
  • Topical pain medicines: These are also given to relieve the muscle aches and pains.
  • NSAIDS: Painkillers are also given to relieve the pain symptoms but these don’t work as effectively as the above-mentioned drugs to treat the withdrawal symptoms.

Lifestyle Modifications

There are many techniques that can help the addicts to effectively resist the withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • Adequate intake of water.
  • Regular exercise for 10 to 20 minutes daily.
  • Yoga and meditation to improve mental health.
  • Indulging in some healthy hobbies or activities.
  • Surrounding oneself in the company of positive people.

Detoxification Process:

The addiction to Subutex is tackled through the detoxification programs. It is the most crucial step for the recovery from addiction. The treatment of withdrawal symptoms is also a part of the detoxification process. It helps the individuals to undergo a comfortable detox. Holistic and medical approaches are combined for achieving the higher success rates. Once this process is underway, behavioral and psychological counseling are also initiated to help the addict find ways for living a life of sobriety.