Drug and Alcohol - Opioid Addiction

Subutex Withdrawal: Understanding Subutex Withdrawal Symptoms and Coping Strategies

Subutex Withdrawal: The Facts

Subutex is often a lifesaver. However, like any other opioid drug, it can have withdrawal symptoms. Learn about Subutex withdrawal in our blog.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Opioid Addiction

September 20, 2023

Subutex is a medication with a long history and noteworthy use trends. Understanding its history and significant facts can give valuable insights into its evolution and present position in addiction therapy.

Subutex abuse or diversion has also been a source of concern. To reduce these risks, combination medicines such as Suboxone, which contains the opioid antagonist naloxone, were created. Naloxone is included to discourage people from injecting or abusing the drug, as it can cause withdrawal symptoms if taken in ways other than sublingual administration.

Subutex Withdrawal: What Is Subutex?

Subutex is also known as buprenorphine. It is a prescription medicine widely used to treat opioid dependence & addiction. It functions like a partial opioid agonist. This means it stimulates the opioid receptors less than complete agonists such as oxycodone or heroin. Subutex is most commonly used in medication-assisted treatment programs to help people reduce or eliminate their dependence on more potent opioids.

Subutex's ability to relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid addiction is one of its primary advantages. It helps balance brain chemistry and reduces physical discomfort during withdrawal by attaching to opioid receptors. Subutex is available as sublingual pills or films placed under the tongue for absorption into the bloodstream.

Subutex should only be prescribed and administered by an experienced healthcare expert. It is usually started during the MAT induction phase. It may be paired with other drugs, like naloxone, to deter overuse or diversion. Subutex medication should be started after consultation with a healthcare professional who can assess an individual's particular needs and lay out a customized treatment plan.

While Subutex can be a practical help in treating opioid addiction, it is not a stand-alone solution. It is frequently used with counseling, behavioral treatments, and support networks to address the underlying reasons for addiction and facilitate long-term recovery.

Subutex Withdrawal: A History of Subutex

Subutex was developed in the 1970s by researchers who wanted to create a medicine that could successfully treat opioid addiction while limiting the risks related to full agonists like methadone. Buprenorphine, the active component in Subutex, was developed during this period and was determined to have unique properties as a partial opioid agonist. It showed the potential to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings while providing less euphoria and respiratory depression than traditional opioids.

Subutex was approved for treating opioid addiction in various countries, including France, in the late 1990s. It immediately became famous as a medicine-aided therapy option due to its superior safety profile and the simplicity of its sublingual formulation. Subutex was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. It was first made available in the United States in 2002.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Would you like more information about safe Subutex use? Reach out today.

Subutex Withdrawal Symptoms

The intensity and duration of Subutex withdrawal symptoms can differ based on factors such as the individual's dose, period of usage, and overall physical health. Individuals who discontinue or reduce their Subutex dosage may suffer the following withdrawal symptoms.

Subutex Withdrawal: Vomiting and Nausea

Individuals experiencing Subutex withdrawal may have long-term nausea, frequently followed by vomiting. These signs might lead to dehydration and lack of appetite.

Subutex Withdrawal: Diarrhea and Stomach Cramps

During Subutex discontinuation, digestive problems are common. Diarrhea and stomach cramps can result in frequent bowel motions and abdominal pain.

Subutex Withdrawal: Muscle Aches and Pains

Several individuals experiencing Subutex withdrawal symptoms report general muscular aches and pains. These symptoms can appear like the flu, with pain and discomfort felt throughout the body.

Subutex Withdrawal: Insomnia

Subutex discontinuation frequently causes sleep difficulties. Insomnia and restless and fragmented sleep patterns can appear as trouble falling or staying asleep. This might cause fatigue and sleepiness during the day.

Subutex Withdrawal: Sweating and Chills

Excessive sweating, particularly at night, is a frequent withdrawal symptom linked with Subutex discontinuation. Individuals may feel sudden breaks of sweating, followed by chills or cold sensations.

Subutex Withdrawal: Runny Nose and Watery Eyes

Withdrawal symptoms that mirror cold symptoms include nasal congestion, runny nose, and increased tear production. These symptoms are the body's reaction to the lack of Subutex.

Subutex Withdrawal: Goosebumps and Piloerection

Some people may get "goosebumps" or have piloerections during Subutex withdrawal. This term refers to the involuntary lifting of body hair, often associated with chills or cold sensations.

Subutex Withdrawal: Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

As the body adjusts to the lack of Subutex, there may be temporary increases in heart rate and blood pressure. These physiological changes may cause feelings of increased alertness or anxiety.

Subutex Withdrawal: Anxiety and Restlessness

Subutex withdrawal can cause feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and irritability. Individuals may feel uneasiness or anxiousness for no apparent reason.

Subutex Withdrawal: Depression and Mood Swings

Psychological symptoms typically described after Subutex withdrawal include low mood, sadness, and mood swings. Individuals may suffer hopelessness, pessimism, and difficulties enjoying previously loved activities. Irritability to emotional lability are examples of mood swings.

Subutex Withdrawal: Difficulty Concentrating

Subutex withdrawal might make it challenging to retain attention and concentration. Individuals may have cognitive issues such as difficulty keeping focus on tasks, memory lapses, or a loss of mental clarity.

Subutex Withdrawal Timeline: How Long Does Subutex Withdrawal Last?

Depending on variables including dose, duration of usage, and general physical health, the timeline for Subutex withdrawal might differ from person to person. Withdrawal symptoms usually appear after a few days of stopping or severely lowering the dose of Subutex. The following is a typical timeline for Subutex withdrawal.

When using Subtex as part of an opioid treatment program, withdrawal is far easier and more comfortable. Always use Subutex as advised.

Subutex Withdrawal: Early Withdrawal Phase (Day 1 to Day 3)

  • Individuals may suffer acute withdrawal symptoms within the first 24 to 72 hours after the last dose of Subutex.

  • Anxiety, restlessness, muscular pains, sweating, sleeplessness, and cravings for Subutex are common early withdrawal symptoms.

Subutex Withdrawal: Acute Withdrawal Phase (Day 4 to Day 10)

  • Withdrawal symptoms often peak during this time.

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, runny nose, watery eyes, goosebumps, mood changes, and depression are among the possible symptoms.

  • Sleeplessness and fatigue can continue making it difficult to get sufficient rest.

Subutex Withdrawal: Subsiding Withdrawal Phase (Day 11 to Day 21)

  • Withdrawal symptoms gradually lessen in intensity as the acute period ends.

  • Muscle pains, digestive issues, and mood swings can start to improve.

  • Energy levels may slowly improve, and sleeping habits may normalize.

Subutex Withdrawal: Post-Acute Withdrawal Phase (Beyond Day 21)

  • Some people may go through post-acute withdrawal syndromes (PAWS), which can last weeks or months after the last Subutex dose.

  • PAWS symptoms include frequent mood swings, anxiety, sadness, impatience, fatigue, and difficulty focusing.

  • The intensity and length of post-acute withdrawal symptoms might vary widely between individuals.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Do you have more questions about safe Subutex use? Reach out.

Subutex Withdrawal: How Long Does Subutex Stay In Your System?

Subutex levels in the body can vary based on several factors, including the individual's metabolism, dose, duration of use, and the type of drug test used.

The following are some rough estimations of how long Subutex may be present in the system.

Blood Test

Subutex is quickly absorbed into the circulation after administration. Subutex can be detectable in the bloodstream quickly after consumption.

Subutex has an elimination half-life of 24 to 42 hours. This indicates that it takes around the same amount of time for the medication concentration in the blood to decline by half.

Subutex may usually be identified in blood tests for up to 24 hours after the previous dosage. However, the detection window may differ across individuals based on aspects such as metabolism, liver function, and the sensitivity of the test being used.

Urine Test

Subutex and its metabolites are mostly eliminated in the urine.

Subutex may often be identified in urine tests for 2 to 4 days following the previous consumption. However, the detection window might vary based on factors such as the individual's metabolism, dose, frequency of use, and overall health.

Subutex removal from the body may take longer in chronic or heavy users, and it may be visible in urine for up to a week or more.

Saliva Test

Subutex can be identified in saliva tests for a shorter duration than urine testing.

Subutex may often be found in saliva for 1 to 4 days following the previous use; however, individual differences may exist.

The detection window may also be affected by the test's sensitivity.

Hair Test

Compared to other types of drug testing, hair tests have a wider detection window for Subutex.

Subutex and its byproducts can be absorbed by the hair follicles and remain there while the hair grows.

Hair tests can reveal Subutex usage for 90 days or longer, depending on the length of the hair collected and the testing method used. It should be noted, however, that hair tests do not offer exact information regarding the date or frequency of drug usage.

Subutex Vs. Suboxone

Subutex and Suboxone are medications often prescribed to treat opioid addiction. While they have certain similarities, they also have considerable differences. Subutex's active component is simply buprenorphine. Suboxone includes buprenorphine & naloxone.

Both Subutex and Suboxone contain buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist. Buprenorphine attaches to opioid receptors. Reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. However, because of partial agonist properties, buprenorphine has a ceiling effect. It means it has the most significant impact even at higher dosages, lowering the risk of respiratory depression and overdose.

Suboxone contains naloxone to discourage and prevent injection-based abuse of the medicine. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that prevents opioid effects. When Suboxone is taken as prescribed (sublingually), the naloxone has little impact. However, if crushed & injected, naloxone might cause withdrawal symptoms in those addicted to opioids.

Subutex is offered in sublingual tablets, while Suboxone is accessible in film strips or sublingual pills. Both are administered by putting them under the tongue and allowing them to dissolve. Subutex is usually recommended during the induction phase and is typically utilized during the early phases of therapy. Suboxone is frequently utilized throughout the induction and maintenance phases of treatment.

Suboxone has greater regulations and prescription limits than Subutex due to including naloxone. Suboxone is subject to tighter regulations to try to avoid abuse and misuse.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Do you need advice about safe Subutex use? Reach out today.

Subutex Withdrawal: Side Effects of Subutex

Here is a list of common side effects of Subutex:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Headache

  • Insomnia or drowsiness

  • Sweating

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Dry mouth

  • Muscle aches or pains

  • Anxiety or nervousness

  • Changes in appetite or weight

Is Subutex Addictive?

Subutex is an opioid medication. But like other opioids, it has the potential for addiction and dependence. However, when taken as prescribed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional, Subutex is primarily used to assist in managing and treating opioid dependence and addiction.

It's a key component of medicine-assisted treatment programs, which try to minimize cravings & withdrawal symptoms so people can focus on their recovery. Subutex is a partial agonist, which attaches to opioid receptors but has a lesser impact than complete opioid agonists such as heroin or oxycodone.

This implies it relieves withdrawal symptoms without producing the same euphoria or powerful high as alternative opioids. While Subutex has a lesser risk of addiction than complete opioid agonists, abuse and dependency still exist.

Subutex should be used as a healthcare expert prescribes and combined with thorough addiction treatment. Individuals may acquire a physical dependence on Subutex after lengthy use, resulting in withdrawal symptoms if the medicine is abruptly withdrawn. It is common practice to gradually reduce the medicine under physician supervision to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Subutex is frequently used alongside counseling, behavioral treatments, and support services to address the underlying reasons for addiction and facilitate long-term recovery. These additional treatment components help individuals develop coping skills, address psychological problems, and make positive lifestyle adjustments.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Would you like more information about safe Subutex use? Reach out today.

The Edge Treatment Center Will Help You Use Subutex Safely and Effectively

The Edge Treatment Center is dedicated to assisting individuals and their loved ones to achieve lasting recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Our evidence-based treatment programs are designed to provide adequate care and support throughout the healing journey. Clients can balance their treatment with work or education commitments with flexible scheduling options. 

At The Edge, we understand the importance of maintaining connections. It ensures clients can stay connected with their support networks through device-friendly solutions. Family visits and counseling sessions are crucial in supporting the healing process. With a team of licensed clinicians, the center offers personalized care using evidence-based modalities. Client safety is a top priority, with 24/7 access to medical staff. 

If you’d like to know more about how Subutex can be used safely and effectively in treating opioid addiction, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.