Suboxone is a prescription medication that contains both buprenorphine and naloxone. Both of these drugs are often given to addicts recovering from opiate addiction. Suboxone helps addicst overcome any drug cravings, thereby assisting them in the recovery process. Physicians will slowly taper the dosage of Suboxone until the addict no longer needs it to cope with the aftereffects of drug addiction.
Withdrawal From Suboxone
The buprenorphine found in Subxone is similar to what is found in other opiates, like morphine and heroin. As an opiate, buprenorphine can cause the addict’s body to become physically dependent on the drug; however, this effect is much less powerful than the dependency caused by chronic heroin use. In either case, when your body becomes accustomed to Suboxone, suddenly discontinuing the drug will cause your body to undergo withdrawal. Withdrawal is your body’s way of attempting to recover from excessive drug use. Suboxone withdrawal can range from mild symptoms to serious, possible life-threatening effects.
Early Symptoms of Withdrawal
According to MedlinePlus, there are some early symptoms of that indicate the beginning stages of withdrawal.
- Uncharacteristic irritability or agitation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Profuse sweating
- Runny nose
- Frequent yawning
However, these symptoms are usually overlooked and may be passed off as symptoms of the flu or other mild diseases. If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms within a few hours after taking Suboxone, consult your physician. Prompt treatment for withdrawal limits the chances of dire consequences.
Later Signs of Withdrawal
- Stomach pain or cramping
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in mood
By the time the addict starts exhibiting these symptoms, the Suboxone withdrawal process is much further along. Patients will need immediate medical treatment. Without treatment, the addict will suffer a great deal of pain that often drives them back to drug abuse.
Complications of Withdrawal
If no treatment is provided for Suboxone withdrawal, then the addict may experience major complications similar to any patient suffering from opiate withdrawal. Aside from relapsing, addicts may aspirate vomit into the lungs, which can lead to pneumonia and other breathing disorders. Severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances often occur. If left untreated, these complications can be fatal.
Exams and Tests
Most doctors will be able to diagnose withdrawal by confirming your past medical history after a thorough physical examination. Blood and urine tests can also confirm opiate use. However, most doctors do not wait for the results of these examinations, and instead begin immediate treatment for the symptoms of withdrawal. In most cases, early, empirical treatment is more efficient than waiting for the results of blood exams.
Treatment for Suboxone Withdrawal
Treatment for withdrawal from Suboxone usually requires re-administering the drug to the addict. Once the addicts body gets enough of the drug, the symptoms of withdrawal should quickly vanish. The next step in Suboxone addiction help is to gradually decrease the dose, so the body has time to adjust to the lower drug levels. In time, the addict’s body will no longer be dependent on Suboxone and the doctor will be able to safely discontinue use of the drug.