Addiction Treatment, Opiates - Heroin

Subutex Detox

Subutex pills poured into hand.

Subutex is a tablet that contains the drug buprenorphine. In general usage, it’s been used to treat opioid addiction along with acute and chronic pain. It’s a synthetic opioid that follows much of the same principles as all other opioids. The active ingredient was discovered in 1966 by the pharmaceutical company Reckitt and Colman. During the 60s, the hunt for new, less addictive opiates led many companies to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in research. Subutex is an oral tablet that individuals can take from a bottle. The convenience of the pill made it attractive to users. Buprenorphine’s low addiction and abuse potential made it attractive for doctors to prescribe it.

Unfortunately, like most other opioids that users became addicted to, doctors and pharmacists underestimated the drug’s abuse potential. As a result, many individuals who took it to deal with chronic pain became addicted to the substance. However, it was too valuable as a treatment for addiction to be wholly dispensed with. Because of this use, it saw widespread adoption among specific communities to help individuals avoid heroin and get themselves off other synthetic opioids. The irony of the situation is that these approaches simply shifted the burden of addiction from whatever drug the person was using to Subutex, making them addicted to another opioid instead.

What is Subutex?

Subutex is a version of buprenorphine that can be taken orally. The pill is supposed to be held under the tongue (sublingually) and melt, releasing the chemical to deal with cravings for opiates. While it sees a lot of use as a drug to deal with addiction and dependency, it has a high potential for abuse. Since the US is in the grip of a massive opioid epidemic, this drug may prove to help wean many individuals off their opioid habits. The problem comes when someone switches their addiction from heroin to buprenorphine. Under controlled treatment, where a medical professional administers the pill and its dosage, the recovering person can usually avoid becoming addicted.

However, when someone starts taking buprenorphine on their own, without the supervision of a medical professional, things get out of hand very quickly. Typical doses of buprenorphine used in addiction treatment range between 0.8mg and 4mg. These doses will vary from person to person depending on how long they’ve been using the drug they’re being weaned off and how deeply addicted to the substance they are. Doctors use Subutex as a treatment to slowly take the user off once they’ve successfully stopped the urges for other opiates. Unfortunately, part of this process is Subutex detox, as the person’s body may have already become dependent on the substance.

How Does Subutex Work?

Subutex is like other synthetic opioids. When someone takes it, it creates a partial opioid response by connecting to receptors in the brain. Typically, these receptors would be where other opioids like heroin would collect, causing a massive release of a “feel-good” chemical known as dopamine as a result. When someone takes heroin, for example, the opioid stops the feeling of pain in an individual. It causes the user to get these massive feelings of euphoria because of the amount of dopamine their brains get from heroin as a side effect. Unfortunately, this means that their brain starts shutting off some of the receptors, making it much harder to get that same feeling again. Buprenorphine plays on that fact to help someone overcome their opioid addiction.

Subutex is known as a partial agonist (as opposed to heroin, which is a full agonist). This classification means that Subutex allows for a lower level of dopamine release than heroin when someone takes it. It has a much stronger binding capability than other opioids, blocking them from interacting with the receptors. Many people who take Subutex report that they don’t feel high after taking it but instead have a feeling of being “normal.” As an additional benefit over heroin and other full agonists, buprenorphine takes longer to dissipate in the brain. Because of this fact, there is less chance for someone to become addicted to the substance. However, addiction could occur if taken without medical direction.

Can You Get Addicted to Subutex?

Addiction and dependency on opioids are nothing new to science. Ever since the earliest days, doctors had realized that opiates carried the side effect of making users addicted. Part of the fight back against that was finding new drugs that were less likely to be abused. Subutex is a natural progression towards medicine that is less likely to be abused, but that doesn’t make it immune from someone abusing it. These days, Subutex as a brand name of buprenorphine has been phased out. Most medical facilities use Suboxone – a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, which further helps to limit the addictiveness of the substance. Even so, Subutex has made its way onto the streets, and there are even street-made versions of the drug.

When someone takes Subutex without medical guidance, they could become addicted to the substance. Rehab facilities offer safe, controlled places where someone can go to leave their opioid addiction behind. In many of these facilities, Subutex and Suboxone are used in controlled doses to slowly get the person to give up the substance physically and then wean them off the Subutex/Suboxone after the fact. This approach further avoids addiction and dependency. Without this guidance, however, it’s very likely that someone will simply start taking more Subutex to attempt to replicate the feeling that heroin or morphine gives them.

Why Should Someone Go Through Subutex Detox?

Subutex is part of breaking the physical hold of an opioid. Going through Subutex detox allows a person to wean themselves off opioids completely. It’s one of the first steps that a person has to take when they want to leave their addiction to opioids behind. Subutex detox is a method of controlled Subutex withdrawal. However, after the process is complete, the recovering person is no longer physically addicted to Subutex or any other opiate. Since you’d have to go through withdrawal anyway, why even bother to take Subutex? The reason is partially that the withdrawal from other opioids could be life-threatening and take a long time to get over.

Withdrawal symptoms for other opioids like heroin start simple enough, but the craving for the substance reaches a fever pitch around the second to the third day of withdrawal. During this time, the person may suffer hallucinations and delusions common with taking the drug. They will also be driven to find the drug to avoid the symptoms over the long term. Because the urge is so strong, a person may not be able to avoid them for long and eventually capitulate, giving in to their desires and finally taking the drug again. Subutex helps deal with those intense withdrawal symptoms by replacing them with weaker versions that a person can successfully manage.

Subutex Detox at Home

If someone is already using Subutex, they can attempt to quit the drug, but there are two possible routes they can take. Quitting “cold turkey” means that the person stops using the medicine completely without any tapering. Unfortunately, using this method can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms and might drive the person towards using more potent opioids again. The second method is through tapering, where a person is slowly weaned off the drug over time. This method leads to a longer time for Subutex withdrawal, but it also allows for a more manageable set of symptoms as a result. There is less chance of someone falling back into opioid use if tapering is appropriately done.

In many cases, tapering the use of the drug can be tricky since getting the dosages right is key to a successful detox. Doing so at home may require more precision than the person can manage, especially in their state of withdrawal. At medical facilities, the staff is trained to help individuals wean themselves off Subutex slowly, preparing to deal with the symptoms over the long term. Detoxification at home does have the benefit of being in a familiar environment, but there are few other protections. When the urge to use becomes too strong, a single wrong decision could undo all the hours and days of detoxification that the body has already gone through. While detoxing at home is an option, it might be more trouble than it’s worth.

How Long Does It Take to Detox from Subutex?

If detoxing from Subutex cold-turkey, withdrawal symptoms may ramp up and dissipate within the space of two weeks. However, those symptoms’ strength will be massive compared to the more measured approach of tapering the dosage. On average, in a tapered dosage withdrawal, symptoms may persist for about a month. Physical withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting and nausea may occur within the first twenty-four hours. In the most extreme cases, these feelings may continue for up to a week. The most vital point of these withdrawal symptoms may happen within the first three days of quitting the substance.

Detox is controlled withdrawal from the substance, and as a result, several symptoms may show up, including:

  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Incessant sweating
  • Loss of focus or inability to concentrate
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Insomnia and irritability
  • Muscle spasms, some of them very painful
  • Aggression

Other withdrawal symptoms which are more extreme but less common on Subutex include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Paranoia

Over time these symptoms dissipate, allowing a person’s body to return to normalcy.

Subutex Detox Treatment

Detox treatments for Subutex usually occur within a facility. There, medical staff is usually on call to help with the process. At the facility, the medical team will look at the person’s history of use and construct a detailed Subutex detox plan. The Subutex detox schedule allows them to figure out the last dosage the person used and slowly decrease the drug over time. At a detox facility, the staff monitors the person through withdrawal, helping them cope and redirect their thinking to better deal with the symptoms. In the best Subutex detox treatment centers, the weaning process ensures that the person doesn’t have bad withdrawal symptoms.

Detox facilities can be either inpatient or outpatient facilities. Inpatient facilities offer full support at all times. The patient stays within the building to be monitored in case of an ill-effects of the withdrawal. Outpatient facilities offer patients the chance to perform their Subutex detox at home. Detox is the body’s chance to regain its equilibrium, but this process takes time. Subutex detox is necessary for leaving the opioid behind, but it’s not the end of recovery. Long-term recovery can only be completed by breaking the psychological hold the drug has on a person’s mind.

Subutex Detox Plan

When a person finishes their Subutex detox, they may need long-term treatment to deal with the psychological impacts of the drugs. Therapy is one form of treatment that detox facilities may offer as aftercare. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has shown a lot of promise in helping individuals recover from their Subutex addiction. Through this therapy, a person can spot the mental cues that lead to wrong actions. When they do, they can avoid letting those mental cues dictate their lives, empowering them to avoid the substance. Additionally, support groups can help give accountability to an individual recovering from Subutex addiction.

Finding a Subutex Detox Center

There’s no simple cure for opioid addiction. Because addiction is such a highly personalized illness, it requires highly personalized care to get over. Facilities such as All In Solutions provide care to our patients to help them return to regular life. Our staff is trained to help spot problems and respond to them most efficiently. Our mental health support staff utilizes some of the most cutting-edge therapeutic methods to help out visitors overcome their dependency over the long term. We believe that each person deserves a second chance at a good life and go the extra mile to help them get there. Won’t you join us? We’ll be glad to offer you our support on your journey to recovery. Give us a call now.