Buprenorphine Withdrawal Symptoms and Signs, and Detoxification

Buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of heroin. Learn more about Buprenorphine withdrawal and how to safely detox here.

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Buprenorphine is derived from thebaine, which is an opium extract. The effects of the medication are not as strong as those of heroin and methadone, but a person may still feel euphoric or slightly sedated when taking it. The risk for abuse is low for people who are tolerant of high doses of opioids or opiates due to how quickly your body may develop a physical dependence.

High doses of buprenorphine may even trigger withdrawal symptoms in people with severe opioid addictions. However, people who are not accustomed to opioids or who abuse only low doses of opioids may find the effects of buprenorphine addictive.

Withdrawing from Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of heroin; however, they are often milder. You may experience the following side effects or physical symptoms of withdrawal from Buprenorphine after stopping prolonged use:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Erratic sleeping habits
  • Appetite change
  • Mood swings
  • Cold Sweats
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Muscle aches

The peak of these physical symptoms usually occurs in the first few days after stopping the medication. Following the peak of withdrawal, people may experience mild symptoms for several weeks.

Buprenorphine withdrawal treatment may ease the process and help people abstain from opioid use. Depending on the individual’s needs, substance abuse treatment is provided in an inpatient or outpatient clinic. The treatment method will depend on the person’s medical needs and substance-abuse history. If the person is taking buprenorphine for heroin or oxycodone addiction, the physician may taper off the drug to help the person gradually transition away from it. The physician might also prescribe a different type of medication if the person has problems with buprenorphine. People who do not have prescriptions for the buprenorphine may be encouraged to detox from the drug and enter therapy for substance abuse.

People can discuss medication management with their primary care physicians or psychiatrists. Additional treatment options are available, though.

People who wish to have additional support can detox on an inpatient basis or use the services of other types of treatment providers on an outpatient basis. For example, a person can manage his or her medications with a physician and meet with a counselor for weekly therapy sessions.

Detoxing, Addiction Treatment Rehab and Recovery

As patients gradually reduce their buprenorphine dose or detox from the medication, they can meet with treatment professionals to address any problems they have with dependency or addiction. Both inpatient and outpatient clinics offer different types of support to help people overcome urges to use and to help them manage other difficulties, such as mental or physical health conditions.

A treatment program may include medication management, cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, recreational activities, and family therapy. Treatment professionals typically design a rehab plan to address an individual’s specific needs. A rehab plan may also include assistance with employment, housing, and social connections. This multifaceted approach can help people handle the most stressful areas of their lives so that they are in a better position to focus on recovery.

Who Uses Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine can be prescribed to treat acute or chronic pain. However, its roots are primarily in addiction treatment.

Buprenorphine is also known by the brand name Subutex. It is often prescribed during the early stages of heroin or oxycodone withdrawal treatment to reduce cravings and symptoms. Buprenorphine is also an active ingredient in Suboxone, another medication used in addiction treatment.

Suboxone has a lower risk of abuse than Subutex because it contains naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioids and induces withdrawal symptoms at high doses.

People who are on methadone might be drawn to abusing buprenorphine for the effects that result from combining both medications. The combination amplifies the effects of each drug; however, it also increases the chances of ongoing withdrawal symptoms.

Whether taking buprenorphine as prescribed or abusing it frequently, people may experience more withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop using it. A physician or psychiatrist can help people transition away from the medication to prevent or reduce the severity of buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms.