When Should I Begin Suboxone Treatment?

It's crucial to wait until you're experiencing mild-to-moderate withdrawal symptoms before starting Suboxone.

12/26/20222 min read

It's crucial to wait until you're experiencing mild-to-moderate withdrawal symptoms before starting Suboxone. Otherwise, you risk experiencing "precipitated withdrawal," which is when you experience severe withdrawal symptoms all at once, which can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous.

The length of opioid withdrawal varies according on your tolerance level, usual drug, and dose. Before starting Suboxone, patients should wait the following amount of hours:

  • Short-acting opioids (heroin, oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin, Dilaudid) take 12-24 hours to wear off;

  • intermediate-acting opioids (fentanyl, Oxycontin, MS Contin) take 36 hours;

  • and long-acting opioids take 48-72 hours to wear off (methadone)

You should wait 12-24 hours after your previous opioid usage before starting Suboxone as an opioid use disorder treatment. The duration of treatment is determined on the type of opioid utilized. Short-acting opioids, such as heroin, work faster and are removed from the body faster than long-acting opioids, such as methadone. If you're taking short-acting opioids, you might just need to wait 12-16 hours before starting Suboxone. If you use intermediate or long-acting opioids, you may need to wait 17-48 hours.

This time is crucial because it's critical to begin Suboxone treatment while you're already experiencing early signs of opioid withdrawal. That suggests the opioid medicine is starting to leave your system, causing symptoms to appear gradually. Suboxone can cause induced withdrawal if you take it while you still have opioids in your system and are not yet experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone is a medication that combines buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine binds to opioid receptors in the brain, displacing opioids that are already there. As a result, using buprenorphine after using opioids recently can produce abrupt withdrawal rather than the opioids gradually decreasing their impact. (To avoid drug abuse, naloxone is added.)

To determine when to begin treatment to manage opioid withdrawal, your doctor will need to know what sort of opioid you used and when you last used it. To quantify your withdrawal symptoms and determine when to start therapy, you may use the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) or another scale. To control opioid withdrawal symptoms, you can start with buprenorphine alone and then move to Suboxone after a day or two. Suboxone is sometimes used as a first step in treatment.

Suboxone is administered as a film that you place under your tongue to dissolve. Based on criteria like as your medical history and personal preferences, you and your doctor will decide whether Suboxone is the best drug for you.