How Long Is The Taper For Suboxone Detox?

Suboxone is a combination product used to help opioid addicts stay clean from heroin and other opioids. It contains buprenorphine, a synthetic opioid, and naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdose. The naloxone is there to prevent potential intravenous abuse of the buprenorphine. When taken orally as directed, buprenorphine rarely causes euphoria in opioid-tolerant individuals. The small amount of naloxone in Suboxone won’t have much oral effect, either.

How Suboxone Works

Suboxone works by attaching to the same brain receptors that other opioids do. It controls withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, allowing the former addict to live a normal lifestyle. However, Suboxone isn’t a full narcotic agonist. This means that it doesn’t attach to the brain’s receptors in the same way as full narcotic agonists like oxycodone do. That’s one reason Suboxone causes much less euphoria, if any, to occur. There is also a ceiling effect. This means that after a certain dose, the drug will produce no further effect.

Suboxone has a very long half-life. Up to 37 hours after a single dose, half of it is still active in the body. It also blocks the brain’s receptor sites for up to three days after a single dose. This means that other opioids can have no effect during this time. While this is a desirable effect in some ways for the recovering addict, it also means that in the case of an emergency, further pain relief would not be possible until the buprenorphine molecules finally released from the brain’s opioid receptor sites.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Although considered less addictive than most other opioids, Suboxone can still produce disturbing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may be less intense than those of other stronger opioids, but they tend to last longer. These symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Muscle and bone pain

Suboxone Taper Time

If you ever decide you want to quit Suboxone, know that it won’t be a cake walk. Sudden stoppage of this drug is not recommended. You can expect a Suboxone taper to last a full 30 to 90 days and even longer. This is mainly because of the drug’s long half-life. It takes time for the drug to leave your body when the half-life is so long. The longer you have taken Suboxone, and the higher the dose, the harder and longer the tapering period will be.

You can expect some level of withdrawal symptoms even during a properly paced taper. However, if done correctly, most of the more severe symptoms should be abated. You should be able to at least function in your normal life. If not, seek medical advice for an adjustment of your tapering schedule.

Remember, a Suboxone taper is not a contest to see how fast you can accomplish it. A taper is a way to stop using the drug with minimal discomfort. Everyone is different. Your taper isn’t the same anyone else’s. It will take as long as it takes for you.

Before you begin to take this drug, anticipate the day when you may want to stop. Use the lowest possible dose and don’t stay on the medication longer than necessary.

Methadone Instead of Suboxone?

Another opioid maintenance option is methadone. Methadone is also a synthetic opioid, but it’s a full agonist, not a partial one. There is no ceiling effect. Ingesting more methadone will result in more effects, including overdose. Methadone cannot be prescribed by a doctor for opioid maintenance purposes. There are small dosage forms available that any doctor can prescribe for pain, but knowingly prescribing methadone for an opioid addict is illegal.

If you decide to use methadone, you will need to get it in a special methadone clinic. Here, the doctor is specially licensed to dispense methadone for opioid maintenance purposes. These clinics tend to be rather scarce in many communities. The residents don’t want them there. You may find that the nearest one is a two-hour drive or more away. This is a problem. You will need to visit the clinic daily to get your dose. Methadone maintenance may not be available in all states.

Suboxone is prescribed by specially licensed doctors, but there is no need to attend a clinic daily to get it. Your Suboxone doctor will give you a prescription for a full month’s supply. You can fill it at any pharmacy that stocks it. The pharmacy cannot tell anyone that you are getting this drug, so it’s confidential. No one will know unless you tell them.

Methadone Clinics

Methadone maintenance is confidential as well, but it’s different. You must go to the clinic every day to get your dose. You will not receive a prescription for the medication. Some clinics will allow a limited number of take-home doses after you have complied with their program for a certain amount of time. The clinic will observe you when you come in for signs of illegal drug use. They can and will drug-test you at any time. If you refuse, they can discharge you from the program.

Methadone clinics often operate during strange hours, especially on weekends. They may offer medication times very early in the morning, such as five in the morning to eight in the morning. If you fail to appear during the correct time, you will not get your dose until the next day.

Methadone has one major advantage over Suboxone. Suboxone isn’t strong enough to help every person who tries it. However, the correct dose of methadone will alleviate withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings in virtually everyone. The clinic’s staff will monitor your dose and continue to raise it over time until you are comfortable.

Methadone is extremely addicting. It has a long half-life. That’s why it can be dosed only once a day. A methadone taper will be just as long as a Suboxone one, and probably harder.

If you’re trying to stop using opioids or other drugs, we can help. We are professional counselors, and we are available 24 hours a day. Just call us at 877-978-3125 and let us help you make the best treatment choices for you.

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B. Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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