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Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms take hold when users stop taking their medication suddenly or reduce their dose too quickly. Researchers say Suboxone withdrawal symptoms are typically mild when compared to those caused by hard drugs like heroin. Even so, the withdrawal process can be dangerous without medical supervision.

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If you want to stop taking Suboxone, experts encourage you to talk to your doctor first. Discuss why you want to quit the drug and create a tapering plan to help you stop safely, without increasing your risk of relapsing to drug abuse.

Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone is a combination of the drugs buprenorphine and naloxone. Withdrawal from this medication is described by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as mild when compared to withdrawal from other drugs like heroin.

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Because buprenorphine is in a class of medications called partial opioid agonist-antagonists, withdrawal from Suboxone shares some similarities to opioid withdrawal. However, the effects are milder since Suboxone is not a full opioid. 

A person may experience some degree of flu-like symptoms, such as those associated with opioid withdrawal, when withdrawing from Suboxone. It has been described by people undergoing it as feeling like a cold. Typical symptoms of withdrawal include the following:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Aching muscles
  • Watery eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms aren’t inevitable. The FDA recommends tapering a Suboxone dose slowly to allow the brain time to adjust. This method could reduce or eliminate some troublesome withdrawal symptoms.

Researchers say some tapers aren’t successful, and people relapse to drugs when they try to quit Suboxone. Working with a treatment team is critical. If you experience a surge in drug cravings, your team could adjust your tapering schedule and ensure you’re not so uncomfortable that you return to drug misuse.

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline

With the typical buprenorphine and naloxone dosing of about 12/3 mg to 30/7.5 mg daily, withdrawal is mild. Symptom timeframes can vary, and some people can have more complicated or severe issues than others. If you use a taper, your withdrawal symptoms could be completely different.

In the 1990s, researchers examined a typical buprenorphine withdrawal syndrome in male patients. Based on that research, a typical withdrawal process might look like the following:

Time PeriodLikely Symptoms
48 hours after the last doseEarly symptoms appear, such as agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, and insomnia.
3 days after cessationLate symptoms of withdrawal appear, such as digestive distress and goosebumps.
10 days after cessationPhysical symptoms fade, but mental health signs such as depression may appear.

Can You Die From Suboxone Withdrawal?

Suboxone withdrawal can be uncomfortable, and without medical supervision, it can be dangerous. While it’s rare, complications like dehydration can appear during a difficult withdrawal. You should never attempt this process without a doctor’s help.

Withdrawal Treatment

If you’re interested in quitting Suboxone, talk to your doctor and create a plan together. The FDA recommends using a tapering schedule to help your body slowly adjust to the lack of the drug. This approach could help you ensure that you’re not so uncomfortable that you relapse to hard drugs.

A taper should be personalized. Your doctor will determine how much you’re using now, and how uncomfortable you are right now. Then, you’ll take a smaller dose over several days, weeks, or months.

Talk to your doctor about what a taper might look like and how you should get started. Don’t quit your drug abruptly or try to taper on your own. A doctor should monitor this process and ensure you go through it safely.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Alison Tarlow

Dr. Alison Tarlow is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the States of Florida and Pennsylvania, and a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She has been a practicing psychologist for over 15 years. Sh... Read More

Updated March 17, 2024
  1. Buprenorphine Sublingual and Buccal (Opioid Dependence). (January 2022). MedlinePlus.
  2. Buprenorphine Tapering Schedule and Illicit Opioid Use. (February 2009). Addiction.
  3. Course and Treatment of Buprenorphine/Naloxone Withdrawal: An Analysis of Case Reports. (July 2012). The American Journal on Addictions.
  4. Principles of Effective Treatment. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  5. Suboxone Prescribing Information. (March 2021). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  6. Discontinuing Methadone and Buprenorphine: A Review and Clinical Challenges. (April 2023). Journal of Addiction Medicine.
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