Things to Expect When You Receive Suboxone Detox Services

outpatient detox

A detox program is the first stage of treatment for addiction. During this phase, people go through withdrawal as their bodies rid themselves of the substance. Potential withdrawal symptoms vary widely depending on the drug. Suboxone is a medication often administered to help people through the withdrawal process. These are some of the main things to expect when you receive Suboxone detox services.

Suboxone is used in cases of opioid dependence. In some cases, it’s prescribed only for the detox process; in others, it’s recommended for long-term use. That said, there are some risks to Suboxone use. It can be addictive, and it can also have a withdrawal process of its own. Knowing what to expect can help mitigate the risk factors.

The Most Important Things to Know About Suboxone Detox Services

Suboxone is most commonly prescribed for heroin addicts, but it can also be used for other opioid dependence issues. The goal is to assist with withdrawal and recovery. Suboxone was originally developed to provide heroin addicts with an accessible recovery regimen that could be more easily adhered to than other treatment methods.

Suboxone reduces heroin cravings and blocks the “high” of heroin use. When Suboxone users do take heroin, they don’t experience the addictive and euphoric effects they would otherwise.

The Effects of Suboxone

The medication will initially be administered underneath your tongue. It tends to come in the form of either a sublingual film or tablet. If you take Suboxone for long-term maintenance, you might receive it as a buccal film that would be applied to the interior of your cheek.

Suboxone combines two drugs typically used in heroin treatment: naloxone and buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is an opioid that can mimic the effects of heroin and satisfy cravings, while naloxone blocks the receptors for heroin use in the body.

This combination means that Suboxone helps satisfy cravings for heroin. It doesn’t produce the same euphoria and “high” as heroin, so the chances of mental dependence are lower. Rather than being a full opioid agonist, it combines opioid agonist and opioid antagonist properties, meaning that it’s less habit-forming than methadone or heroin. The risk of overdose tends to be low.

Who Detoxes With Suboxone?

Suboxone is most effective when prescribed to moderate and heavy heroin users. It can be used in abstinence maintenance when taken in decreasing doses over a period of time. Studies show that Suboxone has maximum benefits when taken alongside therapy and counseling.

With that said, Suboxone treatment isn’t the best option for everybody.

People can benefit from Suboxone when:

  • They cannot do an inpatient detox, and so they need to give themselves a detox treatment at home
  • They are worried about the potential of abusing other medications
  • They have a history of heroin relapse
  • They are addressing their mental health and addiction through counseling
  • They have prescriptions that have potentially adverse reactions to other medications

Suboxone may not be the right treatment for people who:

  • Have an allergy to naloxone or buprenorphine
  • Take medications that might react with Suboxone
  • Have breathing, lung, liver, or kidney problems
  • Might drink alcohol while taking Suboxone
  • Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant

When you receive your detox services, you’ll need to talk to your doctors about any concerns you may have. They can decide whether Suboxone is the best medication for you.

What Are the Potential Drawbacks of Suboxone?

When considering any medication and detox service, it’s important to weigh the benefits as well as the risks. Suboxone does have some potential drawbacks.

It is possible to become dependent on Suboxone, although the medication’s risk of dependency is lower than the risk of dependency on methadone. If you’re using the medication and intend to drive or operate other heavy machinery, you might experience problems.

Suboxone also poses potential risks to people under 16 years of age or elderly people. There are a number of possible side effects associated with the medication:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Problems with dizziness or coordination
  • Sleepiness
  • Liver problems
  • Opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • A decrease in your blood pressure

Suboxone At Home vs. In a Medical Detox Facility

When you’re detoxing from heroin or another opioid substance, the safest option is always medically monitored detox. This is a type of inpatient treatment program where you’ll have 24/7 access to trained medical professionals who can help with the withdrawal symptoms. Such a program is good not only for relapse prevention, but also for making sure the withdrawal is safe. Detoxing at home can lead to relapse before the detox is over, along with an increased risk of potential overdose.

If you detox at a detox center and are prescribed Suboxone, the medical staff will take care to monitor the potential adverse reactions. They’ll help ensure that you don’t develop dependence on the drug. If you do become physically dependent, they’ll also help you wean yourself off the medication and deal with potential withdrawal symptoms.

If you absolutely must detox at home, you might receive a Suboxone prescription to help. When this is the case, it’s crucial that you be aware of the risks associated with taking it. You’re responsible for your own medical management, which means responsibly taking the medication and calling your doctor immediately if there are any problems.

Most people who detox at home also can’t afford to miss work. If you’re going to work during the detox process, you should be aware of Suboxone’s potential effects on your driving or operation of heavy machinery. You shouldn’t do either of these activities until you’ve become familiar with how the medication affects you.

Every day, people reach out for help with their addiction. If you’re ready to get help, we have trained counselors available 24 hours a day. Call 866-802-6848 now.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.