Subutex Withdrawal

Subutex is a synthetic opioid that is often used in medically managed detox and withdrawal management treatments such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and drug tapering. Also known as buprenorphine, Subutex is one of the first FDA-approved medications that are most typically used to treat opioid use disorder. It comes in the form of a tablet placed under the tongue until it dissolves and is absorbed. In conjunction with a comprehensive treatment plan that includes intensive substance abuse therapies and aftercare social services, Subutex helps individuals with addiction comfortably manage withdrawal symptoms, control any intense cravings and ultimately eliminate their dependence on opioids.

A pharmaceutical shelf containing various prescription medications for Subutex withdrawal including a bottle of buprenorphine sublingual tablets.

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Despite belonging to the opioid category of drugs, Subutex is considered an opioid partial agonist. This means it activates the opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system that controls the feelings of euphoria, but only at a minimal level compared to other opioids such as fentanyl and heroin. It allows the body to receive reduced effects of a typical opioid high. Subutex is a less potent opioid that lowers the chances of addiction while still being able to satisfy cravings without the intense outcome.

Like any opioid, those who suffer from intense opioid addiction, those who suddenly stop using opioids or those who are using unregulated opioids without the proper instructions from a medical physician, can experience withdrawal. Though Subutex is most often used as a taper medication treatment to slowly allow a patient’s body to adjust to smaller amounts of substances, some patients within addiction treatment can also experience Subutex withdrawal.

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Symptoms of Subutex withdrawal typically include:

  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Fever chills and cold sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Mood swings
  • Cravings

Depending on many factors such as intensity, frequency of use and the overall mental and physical health of the patient, the Subutex withdrawal timeline can last anywhere from a few days to weeks.

An average Subutex withdrawal timeline:

  • 24-48 hours after the last dose – Individuals begin to experience headaches, irritability, diarrhea, sweating and restlessness.
  • 3-7 days – Individuals start having more intense GI issues, fever, cravings, mood swings and insomnia.
  • 1-4 weeks – Individuals will begin to experience severe depression, anxiety, confusion, body aches and continued intense cravings.

Hotel California by the Sea’s opioid use disorder treatment program offers individualized care plans consisting of medically managed detox and rigorous group and individual therapies. Patients with opioid use disorders may be prescribed Subutex as a part of their treatment plan in conjunction with CBT, DBT and EMDR Therapy to treat both the physical and psychological aspects of their addiction.