Tapering Off Suboxone

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Suboxone has been shown to be an effective treatment in relieving withdrawal symptoms during Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) of Opioid Use Disorder, especially with outpatient recovery. The main ingredient in Suboxone is Buprenorphine, a partial agonist that reacts with the brain’s opioid receptors without creating the euphoria of stronger opioids. (See also: What is Buprenorphine?)

When tapering off from Suboxone, some people experience withdrawal symptoms. 

Category: Addiction Treatment
See Also: Suboxone vs Methadone Treatment

The Most Common Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal

  • low energy
  • low appetite
  • irritability
  • muscle weakness
  • insomnia / restlessness

However, a good tapering schedule reduces the severity of these symptoms.

No reduction should be attempted until all withdrawal has subsided from the last dosage reduction.

Mental symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety and depression, so it is important to keep up with your MAT individual and group therapy sessions. Treating all the behaviors and emotions that are unique to you will make a lasting and successful recovery possible. It is also helpful to maintain a healthy diet and a good daily routine or work schedule; exercise can be very beneficial as well.

It is best to work with your doctor to create a tapering schedule that is most effective for your total recovery and based on the Suboxone clinic requirements. Everyone is different, but in general, a gradual reduction in the total daily dose (e.g., no more than 10% to 20% every one to two weeks) can be successful.

Suboxone Taper & Relapse

The other issue to watch for with a Suboxone taper is relapse. Suboxone was used to stop opioid receptors in the brain from sending craving signals for opioids. If cravings become intense after tapping from Suboxone, Vivitrol may offer a safetnet. Vivitrol is non-addictive and doesn’t involve withdrawal symptoms if stopped.  But, it can only be taken after fully weaned off Suboxone. (Learn more about the transition from Suboxone to Vivitrol).

While you may want to move off Suboxone quickly, being so uncomfortable in a taper that relapse occurs is the opposite of the goal.

The Standard Dosing Guide for Suboxone Taper

Source: The National Alliance for Buprenorphine Treatment

NOTE: These guidelines represent a timeline that helps keep the taper safe, but are likely quite a bit faster (more aggressive) than what is ideal.

Advice from Patients That Tappered Off Suboxone Successfully

“The best advice I can give is to start with a plan, listen to your body and take your time.  I found after reducing 2 mg to 1mg to 0.5mg, it became more difficult. But, keep taking your time. You’ll get there.”

“I was a heroin user back in the day. Then, I was on 8mg of Suboxone for 5 years. I tapered very slowly and paid attention to what my body was telling me. I had to go back to my original does a few times. Like others say exercise and lots of water helps.”

“I recommend tapering down very slowly. You will eventually get off, and you will be able to avoid feeling so sick.”

Need Help Tapering Down from Suboxone?

Our Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) doctors actually listen.

Suboxone Clinics in Illinois

Suboxone Clinics in Texas

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Symetria has addiction treatment clinics across Illinois and Texas. You can likely get scheduled TODAY — medications or therapy.