Suboxone is a combination medicine of Buprenorphine and Naloxone.
Buprenorphine is a synthetic derivative of thebaine and used individually as a narcotic analgesic. On the other hand, Naloxone is a semisynthetic opiate receptor antagonist and is commonly used individually to eliminate the effects of opioids medications in a person’s body.
However, the use of this combination medicine is a bit different from the traditional uses of these two drugs separately. Suboxone is specifically used for the treatment of opioid compounds addiction such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, heroin and many more.
Nausea, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, irritability, jitteriness, constricted pupils (miosis), disorientation, confusion, drowsiness, addiction, and dependence are among the common side effects of this combination drug.
Although used to combat the addiction of opioids, suboxone itself can become an addiction to a patient and may also have some serious withdrawal effects that can be very challenging if not done in a proper and pre-planned tapering schedule and way. Tapering off a drug refers to gradual discontinuation or decrement in the therapeutic dose of a specific drug over a prolonged period of time in order to avoid its possible withdrawal effects.
As far as tapering off suboxone is concerned, it is not easy to taper and stop because it has 37 hours long half-life and binds adherently with the opioid receptors. It is done under the supervision and guidance of medical professionals and rehabilitation experts. A personalized chart is made differently for every different patient according to his own unique needs.
Following is a traditional taper schedule I of suboxone recommended from 2mg down:
Days 1st-14th: 2 mg
Days 15th-28th: 1.5 mg
Days 29th- 42nd: 1.0 mg
Days 43rd-66th: 0.5 mg
After this point patient will start to take the drug on every other day and not daily:
Day 67th: 0.0 mg
Day 68th: 0.5 mg
Day 69th: 0.0 mg
Day 70th: 0.5 mg
Day 71th: 0.0 mg
Day 72nd: 0.5 mg
Day 73rd: 0.0 mg
Day 74th: 0.5 mg
When finishing the Suboxone taper, the patient will only take the drug on every third day:
Days 75th-76th: 0.0 mg
Day 77th: 0.5 mg
Day 78th-79th: 0.0 mg
Day 80th: 0.5 mg – ” The Final Dose”
According to a study, two groups of opioid addicted-youth were evaluated to see the effectiveness of different taper approaches. One of the two groups was detoxified for two weeks and the other was given Suboxone for nine weeks then tapered for three. According to the results, approach that was done over a longer period of time was more effective although, after 6, 9 and 12-month evaluations there were increased rates of opioid use in both the groups.
The tapering off suboxone is time taking, difficult but not an impossible task for those who get a proper guidance and themselves are determined enough to complete it. Regular exercise, support from the dear ones, positive activities, and a good diet may help in the fight against suboxone’s withdrawal symptoms. After all, overcoming the far worse opioid addiction and its life-long adverse effects is something for which this job can be done with whole-heartedly to have a definitely better and healthy life ahead.