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What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the brand name for a prescription medication that is designed to treat Opioid addiction. It’s typically used in the management of opioid abuse and withdrawal. Suboxone has two ingredients: the Opioid Buprenorphine and the medication Naloxone. The combined effects of these two ingredients reduce cravings for addictive Opioids such as Heroin, Codeine, Fentanyl, and Oxycodone.

Suboxone is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance in the United States, meaning it’s a drug deemed to have a medical value yet also carries a moderate risk for addiction [1]. Therefore, only doctors who receive certifications from the Department of Health and Human Services may prescribe Suboxone. This medication is manufactured as dissolvable films and tablets. Suboxone and Methadone are both commonly used FDA-approved medications that are used to treat opioid addiction

Suboxone Detox
It is important for those who have stopped taking Suboxone to be in contact with a medical professional to prevent relapse.

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is one of the two main ingredients of Suboxone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental health Service Administration (SAMHSA) [2], Buprenorphine is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). As with all medications used in MAT, Buprenorphine should be prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and other behavioral therapies to provide a person struggling with opioid addiction with a whole-person approach.

Buprenorphine is what’s known as a partial opioid agonist—an opioid medication that produces relatively weak opioid effects. This means that buprenorphine reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings without producing the full effect of other opioids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA0 [3], Buprenorphine is a long-acting partial mu opiate agonist that acts on the receptor targets of heroin and morphine, but does not produce the same intense “high” or dangerous side effects. These properties also make it a good potential treatment for addiction to opiate analgesics.

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What is Naloxone?

Aside from Buprenorphine, Naloxone is also the main component of Suboxone. Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose quickly. This medication is available in several formulations, including those intended for administration as a nasal spray (Kloxxado, Narcan) or an injectable solution. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) [4], Naloxone is a safe medication and is not known to cause harm when administered in typical doses to opioid-naïve patients. Naloxone is known by the common brand name Narcan. The effects of Narcan (Naloxone) are rapid but not long-lasting. Naloxone is added to buprenorphine to reduce its abuse potential when injected. 

Since Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, it blocks and reverses the effects of opioids in the nervous system. The purpose of Naloxone as an ingredient of Suboxone is to prevent people from overdosing on Buprenorphine. Naloxone also minimizes a person’s risk of relapse by preventing them from experiencing the addictive and euphoric sensations which opioids normally cause.

Suboxone Abuse and Addiction

Prescription drugs like Suboxone have helped thousands of individuals abstain from taking opioids and heroin. But although these medications have saved many lives, they do have a dark side. It is a beneficial prescription medication that helps in the treatment of opioid use disorder. However, as an opioid drug itself, Suboxone abuse and addiction can happen. Individuals may buy, sell, or trade their Suboxone, take Suboxone that is not prescribed to them, or take inappropriate doses of Suboxone.

While this medication is potentially addictive, the risk of becoming addicted to Suboxone is less than the risk of becoming addicted to other Opioids. Since it is not as powerfully sedative as other drugs, it is less likely to cause individuals to experience cravings. Buprenorphine, the opioid ingredient of Suboxone, may provoke moderate withdrawal symptoms, specifically muscle pains, headaches, and nausea. 

To mitigate or prevent withdrawal, specialists tend to slowly reduce the person’s doses of Suboxone as they progress through opioid abuse treatment. Moreover, unlike other opioids, Buprenorphine has a “ceiling effect.” Larger and more frequent doses of Buprenorphine will not amplify its potency. While an individual can develop tolerance to Buprenorphine, they will not be able to overcome that tolerance by repeatedly or compulsively increasing how much Buprenorphine they take.

How is Suboxone abused?

Drug traffickers have been selling illicit Suboxone to individuals throughout the United States. Most individuals who buy this drug illegally are not trying to experience an opioid high. Instead, they are trying to get relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of opioid withdrawal. 

An individual could misuse Suboxone by using it to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms without a prescription and without undergoing treatment for opioid use disorder. In such circumstances, a person might take Suboxone whenever they begin to undergo withdrawal symptoms, fail to abide by any medical boundaries, and suffer an overdose.

Suboxone Detox
Suboxone can also be addictive. As a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone produces similar withdrawal effects to other opioids if it is quit “cold turkey.”

When a person fails to start treatment for opioid abuse and addiction and consumes Suboxone regularly to live without withdrawal symptoms, they become dependent on the medication and never overcome the disease. While it’s easier to just use Suboxone, recovery is the true long-term solution for withdrawal and addiction.

Suboxone is abused when the pills are crushed and snorted, or the film strips are dissolved and then injected. When someone injects Suboxone, they risk sharing dirty syringes and acquiring HIV or another blood-borne infection. Injecting Suboxone also causes a much more intense high than snorting the pills.

Suboxone film strips are easier for someone to hide or smuggle, increasing rates of abuse for the film strips. Investigators have also found that physicians who were sanctioned for prescribing more opioid painkillers than is legal were also prescribing too many Suboxone film strips. These physicians were fined, but unfortunately, the damage was already done in their communities.

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Suboxone Addiction Symptoms

  • Shopping around for additional prescriptions
  • Stealing prescriptions from friends or family
  • “Losing” prescriptions to get more drugs
  • Taking more than is prescribed
  • Mixing the medication with other drugs or alcohol to get a more intenseeffect
  • Secretiveness
  • Appearing sedated or drowsy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling physically or emotionally numb
  • Experiencing constipation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Impaired cognition
  • Looking high or otherwise intoxicated

Taking a larger dosage of Suboxone, however, can cause these side effects to be even more intense and may strongly affect someone’s ability to function in their usual routine. It may also cause additional physical symptoms that are less common in those who take the medication as directed.

These other symptoms of Suboxone use and addiction can include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Decreased coordination
  • Runny nose
  • Insomnia
  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior
  • Low sex drive

Signs and Symptoms of Suboxone Detox Withdrawal

Although Suboxone is a medication used to treat opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms, it can still be addictive if abused. Suboxone can also have its own withdrawal symptoms. The good news is, there is Suboxone detox withdrawal help available.

During Suboxone detox withdrawal, the body is doing a lot of work. Therefore, someone experiencing withdrawal can expect to experience certain psychological symptoms as well as physical symptoms as the individual undergo Suboxone detox. 

Co-occurring mental conditions may surface. Some medically-assisted Suboxone detox and treatment facilities offer expert care and assistance in handling Suboxone detox withdrawal symptoms. A good treatment center aims to make Suboxone detox experience as safe and comfortable as possible. 

Physical Symptoms of Suboxone Detox Withdrawal

Some of the most common physical symptoms of Suboxone detox are:

Cold or hot flashes

  • You may encounter a sudden, intense feeling of either coldness or heat all over your body.

Skin Abnormalities

  • You may feel as if insects are crawling on you. You also may develop goosebumps from time to time.


  • As your body rids itself of Suboxone, you will likely feel fatigued.

Muscle Discomfort 

  • This may show as pain and cramps across your whole body.

Drug Craving

  • It is common to experience both mental and physical Suboxone cravings.


  • Because of the dehydrating effects of this drug, sweating (and night sweats in particular) commonly happen during withdrawal. Sweating is also a way the body uses to release Suboxone from your system.

Nausea and Vomiting 

  • Although uncomfortable, these symptoms are common when withdrawing from drugs that impact the brain’s opioid receptors.

Appetite Loss 

  • A good treatment center will ensure that you remain properly nourished, even if you do not feel like eating.


  • Not only is diarrhea unpleasant, but it is also dehydrating. To control this, you will need to drink lots of water and possibly even use some medications to help your body to better adjust to being without the drug.

Sleep Disorder 

  • Insomnia can escalate into other problems, so treatment centers prioritize good sleep for everyone undergoing Suboxone detox. 

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Psychological Symptoms of Suboxone Detox Withdrawal

Some of the most common psychological symptoms of detox are:

Moodiness or Irritability 

  • Since your brain is no longer obtaining floods of dopamine, so you may be moody and irritable, especially during the starting stages of Suboxone detox.

Depression or Suicidality

  • Unfortunately, these unpleasant feelings may occur. That is why treatment center staff keeps in close touch with each client undergoing Suboxone detox. 


  • It is expected to feel anxious when you are learning to live without this drug. Anxiety will decrease as you adjust. 

Other Co-occurring Disorders 

  • In addition to anxiety and depression, Suboxone detox withdrawal can cause underlying mental health issues to surface. For instance, say that a woman has been using Suboxone for ten years because it numbs her feelings of emptiness and anger. When she undergoes Suboxone detox, she will feel those emotions without the blinders of Suboxone. 
  • She may have been suffering from a borderline personality disorder (BPD) for many years without any knowledge of her mental condition. These feelings can be problematic, especially if she has never seen a psychiatrist who could give information about the reasons behind her intense emotions.

Cold turkey Suboxone Detox

Quitting Suboxone cold turkey and doing Suboxone detox at home is not advisable. Some individuals would rather quit cold turkey because they think it might be safe and more manageable than stopping slowly. It is not easier and definitely not secure. The known risks of quitting specific medication and drug cold turkey include loss of tolerance. You will be less able to handle doses you used to take because you are less tolerant. This increases the risk of accidental overdose if you relapse.

Your nervous system gets used to the way some drugs operate. Suddenly quitting disrupts the body, whereas weaning off the medication slowly eases this transition to unpleasant Suboxone detox withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be severely uncomfortable in some cases, increasing the possibility of relapse.

Suboxone Overdose

Since this medication is an Opioid-based drug, overdose is one of the most serious risks of Suboxone. In fact, Suboxone overdose can be deadly if left untreated. A person who takes too much Suboxone or combines it with other drugs is more likely to suffer an overdose. 

Symptoms of Suboxone Overdose

The symptoms of a Suboxone overdose include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Constricted pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating

In extreme cases, a Suboxone overdose can cause respiratory depression; this condition stops or restricts breathing. Respiratory depression can cause coma, brain damage, and death.

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What is Medically-Assisted Suboxone Detox?

Deciding to go into Suboxone detox on your own is a big risk. However, with support from a medical detox center, you enjoy the care and comfort of professionals who understand the recovery process. Also, you receive complete nutrition, hydration, and medications for your Suboxone detox withdrawal symptoms. Even more, an inpatient treatment program eases the process and improves your health simultaneously.

Upon entering a medically-assisted Suboxone detox facility, an assessment test and health review will take place to develop a proper treatment plan. For your best care, it’s important to provide correct details of your drug history, health, and other issues impacting your life. Most importantly, medically-assisted Suboxone detox improves your life, so it’s best to begin on an honest state for a full recovery.

Medically-assisted Suboxone detox may concern tapering you off the drug. A specialist may prescribe medications to ease your Suboxone detox withdrawal symptoms and make the procedure more comfortable for you. Addiction specialists tailor your withdrawal process to your personal needs so you feel as comfortable as possible from start to end.

Support received in supervised Suboxone detox is quite helpful and safe. Qualified addiction professionals help you understand what to expect, helping you through your symptoms. The support of an inpatient treatment program is something you won’t get if you detox at home.

Indeed, safety is important during Suboxone detox withdrawal. Cravings in detox are extreme, and many individuals give in to the cravings of withdrawals alone. This leads to a life-threatening overdose at a moment when life is looking better. Being in a medically assisted Suboxone detox program ensures your safety, so relapse can be managed.

Medically assisted Suboxone detox also modifies your treatment plan according to changing needs. A treatment facility is a peaceful place from the stress of work, school, and home, keeping temptations and triggers far away.

Find the Right Supervised Suboxone Detox Plan at We Level Up NJ

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The Suboxone detox process can be hard and painful without medical assistance. However, getting through the Suboxone detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up NJ provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to medically assist your recovery. So, reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Suboxone Detox
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[1] DEA –

[2] SAMHSA –

[3] NIDA –

[4] NCBI –

[5] We Level UpOpiate Addiction Treatment