Buprenorphine Detox, Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline

Many people who have opioid use disorder receive buprenorphine to wean them off their dependence. But, buprenorphine itself can become an addictive & abused drug.


Many people who have opioid use disorder receive buprenorphine to wean them off their dependence. But, buprenorphine itself can become an addictive & abused drug. When it comes to withdrawal, you should know what kind of timeline to expect from buprenorphine detox treatment. Here, we will discuss how the physical symptoms set in and how they lead to psychological symptoms. Fortunately, a well-trained buprenorphine detox center can help you through the entire process. Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid that was designed to treat pain and opioid addiction.

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Buprenorphine Products – Suboxone and Subutex

In 2002, the FDA approved two buprenorphine products (Suboxone and Subutex) for clinical use in the treatment of opioid addiction. Although both drugs are formulated to rapidly dissolve under the tongue, there are some differences:

  • Approved first, Subutex contains the active ingredient Buprenorphine. Eventually, users discovered a way to abuse it and as a result, Suboxone was developed.
  • Suboxone is a product that contains buprenorphine and naloxone (an opioid antagonist). If the user tries to get high, they will experience a rapid and sudden onset of intense opioid withdrawal symptoms. This is designed to deter any misuse of the drug.
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Slang for Buprenorphine

The following terms are street names or slang for buprenorphine:

  • Buse
  • Oranges
  • Sobos
  • Stops
  • Strips
  • Sub
  • Subs

When you use it for opioid dependence, buprenorphine remains effective in the body for up to 48 hours. This increases the tendency for withdrawal symptoms and counteracts the effects of concomitant opioids.

Buprenorphine Detox Side Effects

Buprenorphine does have some side effects, and these include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Headache
  • Itchiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Meiosis
  • Orthostatic Hypotension
  • Difficulty with ejaculation
  • Decreased libido
  • Urinary retention
  • Constipation.

Rare cases of liver necrosis and hepatitis with jaundice have been reported with the use of buprenorphine. For those who receive buprenorphine, liver function is regularly monitored. The most severe adverse reaction associated with buprenorphine use is respiratory depression which can be fatal. This is particularly problematic with buprenorphine because, unlike morphine, there is no effective antidote.

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Overdose Symptoms of Buprenorphine

Another reason it is important to detox from buprenorphine is because of the potential for overdosing on this drug. Like other opioids, it is possible to build up a tolerance to buprenorphine, meaning that you need increasingly larger doses – or more frequent uses – to achieve the desired effect.

  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Slow breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils

It is important to call 911 immediately if you think you or someone you know has overdosed on buprenorphine, as symptoms can be fatal since they depress your breathing and slow your heart rate.

Buprenorphine Withdrawal Wymptoms

Patients are advised to wait between 24 and 36 hours after their last use of short-acting opioids (such as heroin or oxycodone) before beginning treatment with buprenorphine. Those who are on methadone should only be treated with buprenorphine once withdrawal symptoms are present. Beginning any earlier may result in extreme cases of opioid withdrawal.

Buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Blurred vision or dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Fever
  • Heart palpitations
  • Changes in sleep

Unlike some drugs, the withdrawal symptoms of buprenorphine are not dangerous. All the same, these symptoms can be intense and uncomfortable, making getting through the crucial step of detox a challenge.

A medical detox program can help make the process more comfortable and reduce the risk of relapse by providing round-the-clock medical and clinical care. Effective treatment in rehab may also be easier to navigate with referrals from a multidisciplinary buprenorphine detox treatment team. The severity and duration of buprenorphine withdrawal will vary from person to person and mild withdrawal symptoms can sometimes last several weeks, even after a detox program is over. Here is a general timeline of what you may experience during buprenorphine withdrawal, although withdrawal is different for everyone.

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Buprenorphine Withdrawal Timeline

1-3 days after the last dose – Symptoms like diarrhea, sweating, nausea, watery eyes, dilated pupils, and restlessness is common during buprenorphine detox.

4-7 days after the last dose – Anxiety, depression, and mood swings may set in during the first week of buprenorphine detox, as well as abdominal cramps, body aches, and difficulty sleeping.

7-14 days after the last dose – Although the most severe withdrawal symptoms have usually faded by this time, some symptoms may persist long after the start of the buprenorphine detox, such as cravings, body pain, abdominal cramps, irritability, and depression.

3 weeks after the last dose: Cravings, depression, and mood swings may persist weeks after the last dose, but buprenorphine detox clients generally feel better and experience fewer cravings three to four weeks after the final dose.

Detox for Buprenorphine Addiction

Buprenorphine addiction is a disease that will require ongoing treatment to overcome. Additionally, if you abuse Suboxone, you might eventually start using other opioids again, so it is important to get help right away. After medical detox, the next step in the buprenorphine treatment process is often rehab. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that long-term addiction treatment of at least 90 days has the best potential for positive treatment outcomes. Traditional drug rehab treatment methods for Buprenorphine addiction – talk therapy and medicinal treatment to lessen the pain of withdrawal – often have less than 10% success rates after the first year due to Buprenorphine’s powerful, physically addictive properties.

A good treatment program for buprenorphine withdrawal and treatment should include components of medication management, therapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), support groups (such as Narcotics Anonymous or a similar 12-step program), family therapy, and, if possible, housing and employment assistance. Other treatment programs might offer alternative (non-drug-based) treatment, recreational activities, or life skills training.

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Treatment for Buprenorphine Addiction

You and your family members should look for a treatment program that allows for a customized plan to address your specific needs. The multifaceted approach can seem overwhelming, but a long-term plan for ongoing aftercare support will help individuals learn how to handle stress while simultaneously focusing on their recovery.

Aftercare is provided for people who have been in recovery for at least a month. This consists of group therapy with other individuals in recovery. Aftercare helps you stay on track with your recovery program, especially during transitional times in life, such as a job change, relocation, or the loss of a loved one.

Many people use aftercare as a weekly check-in and benefit greatly from receiving valuable ongoing support from specialists and peers who are also in recovery. Overcoming buprenorphine addiction is an ongoing process with no easy solution, but you can get sober with the right support. 

Here at We Level Up Treatment Facility, we provide proper care. We have round-the-clock physicians available to help you cope and be successful with your Buprenorphine Detox. Reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions. 

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