One great way to wean yourself off of opioid substances is to take Suboxone. It’s a combination of two medications, buprenorphine and naloxone, that work together to ease your withdrawal symptoms.
While it might sound counterproductive to replace one drug for another, Suboxone is not intended to be a long-term treatment. Instead, it is meant to prevent you from taking any medications in the future. To understand how long a typical Suboxone treatment plan should be, it’s important to understand better how Suboxone works.
How Suboxone Works
Suboxone is what’s known as an opioid partial agonist. It works by tricking your brain into thinking it’s receiving an actual dose of opioids, activating your opioid receptors and causing a weakened form of euphoria. This prevents withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking opioid drugs.
However, unlike real opiates, Suboxone’s effects begin to level off at a certain point. Even if you try and take more of the medication, you won’t be able to experience a more potent euphoria. This prevents people from misusing the drug and becoming addicted to it.
Additionally, it also blocks the effects of other drugs, meaning you can’t get high like you used to.
Because you are no longer receiving any pleasurable benefits from the drug and have your withdrawal symptoms under control, it makes it easier to wean off of.
The Different Phases of Treatment
Suboxone treatment typically begins with an induction phase, during which the medication is administered at a low dose in the presence of a doctor. This occurs after you have stopped taking drugs for at least 12 hours.
After this initial dose, the doctor will increase the amount of Suboxone you are taking. Generally, you will take one dose a day, with certain dosage adjustments made by your doctor. This is known as the stabilization phase, and will eventually eliminate your cravings and side effects.
Finally, you will enter the maintenance phase, during which you will have a steady dose of Suboxone every day. Some people stay in this phase for the rest of their lives, but many people are able to slowly eliminate the medication from their lives.
Average Length of Suboxone Treatment
With this information in mind, you can see how there could be a large discrepancy in how long Suboxone treatment lasts. However, the average length of treatment should last between 30 to 90 days. This should be plenty of time for your body to fully detox and improve your cognitive and physical function.
However, many people choose to stay on Suboxone for a long-term basis because it is easier. While this might seem easier than detoxing, it can lead to mountains of medical bills as well as a chance of future health issues.
As you can see, Suboxone is best when used only as a short-term tool rather than a long-term maintenance medication. However, it’s best to consult your doctor to know exactly what method is right for you. Only they can access your chances of relapsing and if you would thrive without maintenance treatment.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your doctor, we can also help. Our hotline is available 24 hours a day at 800-429-5210 (Who Answers?). You can speak with a specialist who will talk more with you about Suboxone treatment and what method is right for you.