Opioid use and disuse have been increasing significantly over the past several years, resulting in an increasing number of people wanting to reduce their usage but experiencing difficulty in doing so. One of the ways that many do find success is through Suboxone, which helps reduce opioid cravings.
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How long does Suboxone block opiates?
How long Suboxone blocks opiates depends on a number of factors, such as the general amount of opiates that you have been taking, how much Suboxone you are prescribed, your metabolism, and your weight. With that said, Suboxone effects are usually at their peak between 40 minutes and three hours after and last at least a day. In some cases, these effects last 2-1/2 days. The average duration is generally 1-1/2 days.
One of the reasons why Suboxone works well for many is because of its half-life and how long its effects last are long. More to the point, its effects are drawn out much longer than is the case for most opioids, which is usually a few hours or less.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is actually a combination of two drugs. One, buprenorphine, is an active drug that is an opioid but with much weaker effects. Also of note is that increased doses only result in those opioid-related effects leveling off. Both factors significantly reduce how likely someone is to become dependent on this.
Naloxone is a blocker drug that is there partially because injecting it will cause uncomfortable symptoms. Suboxone is prescribed to be taken by mouth and dissolved under the tongue, which helps ensure that this occurs. Remember that you should not eat or drink anything until it is dissolved, which usually takes around eight minutes.
Due to these factors, Suboxone can have a noticeable opioid-related effect on those who have never or rarely used opioids, but it helps bring regular opioid users back down to ultimately getting off of them.
In most cases, doctors will initially prescribe Suboxone that contains 8 mg of buprenorphine and 2 mg of naloxone, while daily doses usually settle at around twice those amounts.
How does Suboxone make you feel?
After several days of taking Suboxone, most people will start to feel “normal.” In other words, they will start feeling like they are not taking any opioids. They would not be experiencing the highs that opioids are known for nor the associated withdrawals that often occur between taking them.
The main effect is that Suboxone causes the brain to feel that its opioid desires have been met enough not to crave more – i.e., not to cause those painful withdrawal symptoms that make them so addictive.
As for pain, Suboxone can relieve it since it is an opioid but does so in a safer manner. However, keep in mind that mixing Suboxone with, for example, Xanax or alcohol can be so dangerous that it could cause death. That is the primary reason why Suboxone is not generally prescribed for pain relief. However, doing so may be necessary for someone experiencing chronic pain and opioid use disorder.
Dependence on Suboxone is possible. That is primarily why it can only be prescribed.
I ran out of Suboxone early
What can you do if you run out of Suboxone early? This is sometimes not an easy problem to fix since it is a controlled substance. However, some avenues for possibly accomplishing this exist.
You might be able to get an emergency refill if you go to an emergency room. However, this is not guaranteed. That is primarily because a doctor prescribing that usually needs to undergo training related to it, and it is possible that this has not been done by the person treating you there. Also, even if they could provide you with this, there will be hesitancy if you have a doctor elsewhere prescribing it to you.
Urgent care clinics are also options, but, same as with emergency rooms, they will often hesitate to do so.
Of course, you can also contact your doctor. Do this as soon as you realize that this shortage will occur.
If you are running out within the couple of days or so before the date that your subscription is being refilled, your pharmacy may allow you to get it early, most likely up to two days in advance.
Keep in mind that you will most likely experience the effects of your last dosage for days after you have placed it in your mouth, which may take you to the time that you can pick up your refill, if applicable.
Signs Suboxone doses are too high
The most common symptom of taking too much Suboxone is a sense of euphoria. Physical signs that may be viewable to others include a lack of coordination, slurred speech, a sense of confusion and dizziness, appearing much more fatigued and tired than would be expected, and abnormally small pupils. Passing out and stopping breathing are severe signs. Also, blurred vision can be experienced.
Signs Suboxone doses are too low
At the other end of the spectrum are doses that are too low and not as effective as preferred.
This can result in, most significantly, a significant desire to take opioids, including stronger ones. Other symptoms include anxiety, sweating, tremors, nausea, and pain that has not been controlled as well as is desired. If you feel your doses are too low, reach out to your doctor.
Side effects of Suboxone
As with any drug, side effects can occur to those who are consuming Suboxone.
One of the most significant side effects to be on the watch for is respiratory depression. This results in shallow or slow breathing, bringing less oxygen into your lungs. It is also a relatively common one, occurring between 1 in 10 to 1 in 100 users. Keep in mind that misusing Suboxone increases the chances of this occurring. Regardless, get medical help if this occurs.
Some other physical side effects you may experience while taking Suboxone include an irregular heartbeat, insomnia, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, sweating, headaches, back pain, and blurry vision.
Mental side effects that are possible include anxiety and depression. Note that these can lead the person taking Suboxone to relapse into retaking the opioids they had taken before, so keep in contact with your doctor about any anxiety- and depression-related side effects you experience.
As with any drug, withdrawal symptoms may occur once you stop taking Suboxone. These can generally last up to a month, with psychologically related effects potentially lasting longer. However, the physical symptoms tend to decrease significantly once you get past the initial three days.
Some of the possible physical withdrawal effects include nausea, insomnia, headaches, fever, chills, sweating, and muscle aches.
Mental withdrawal effects can include lethargy, an inability to concentrate, anxiety, depression, irritability, and drug cravings. Depression is most apt to occur around and after the third week.
Of course, these withdrawal symptoms tend to be more pronounced when Suboxone use is stopped suddenly and completely – i.e., cold turkey.
NJ Addiction Resources
If you are looking for Suboxone treatment in New Jersey, please call or email us, and we will discuss with you the best methods for moving on to the following stages in your life.