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How does Suboxone make you feel?

How one ‘feels’ after taking buprenorphine or Suboxone depends on the person’s tolerance to opioids. Generally, after taking buprenorphine at the proper dose for several days, people on the medication usually feel normal, as they would feel if they were not on an opioid. In fact, there is no ‘high’ associated with a taking a dose and no withdrawal during the time between doses.

More here on how you feel on Suboxone with a section at the end for your questions about Suboxone as a narcotic or whether or not you’re exhibiting symptoms of Suboxone addiction. We try to respond to all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt reply.

Opioid naive people on Suboxone

A person who is opioid-naive or taking low amounts of opioids (i.e. less than 30 mg of oxycodone, total, per day) will feel effects similar to the effects of other strong opioid pain relievers. In some people that will mean nausea, fatigue, and headaches, whereas others will feel a sense of energy, confidence, and euphoria.

Developing tolerance to Suboxone

After taking buprenorphine or other potent opioids every day for 1-2 weeks, the feelings from the medication go away because of a process called ‘tolerance’. The initial feelings will return if the dose is increased, or if the person avoids opioids long enough to allow tolerance to drop—i.e. several days to several weeks.

A person who is used to high doses of opioids – more than 50 mg of methadone per day or more than 80 mg of oxycodone per day – will feel withdrawal symptoms from taking buprenorphine. These symptoms can be very severe if the person recently used large amounts of opioids, or if the person has been taking opioids that tend to stay in the body for a long time, such as methadone or fentanyl. To avoid precipitated withdrawal, a person starting buprenorphine must stop taking opioid agonists for over 24 hours; longer if taking methadone or fentanyl.

Normalizing doses of Suboxone

After taking buprenorphine at the proper dose for several days, people on the medication usually feel normal, as they would feel if they were not on an opioid. There is no ‘high’ associated with a taking a dose and no withdrawal during the time between doses.

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29 Responses to “How does Suboxone make you feel?
Richard
11:28 pm February 17th, 2015

I have been taking 8mg of suboxone every 12 hours for 3 weeks for opiate withdrawal. Suddenly I missed a dose by 3 hrs and went into terrible withdrawals. Since then I can’t get back into sync, I keep going between over medicated to under medicated, swinging between withdrawals and overdose symtoms. How do I stop this cycle?

4:43 pm February 18th, 2015

Hi Richard. The instructions in case of a missed dose are to take the missed dose as soon as you remember. So, if you were off by 3 hours from the usual time when you took the Suboxone, you’ll take the next dose 12 hours from the administration of the missed dose, and that is the time you’re going to follow from then on. Consult with your doctor if you need more help or guidance. Also, always keep an alarm with the time you are taking your medication, this way you won’t forget.

mike
1:09 am April 22nd, 2015

I’m mike I been on 3 8/2 films a day that’s 24 mg it helps me with my bad arthritis pain an my knees an back. Its safe to take I used to take methadone my example with methadone don’t get on it. Suboxone films helps me very good I ain’t touched a painpill in a year. All I got to say suboxone is great it saved my life.

ray
9:56 pm April 26th, 2015

I have been on 12mg suboxone for 3 months. I take 1 1/2 strips once a day. Usually around 530am I take my dose, which is right when I’m leaving for work. Some days I feel great, which I’m sure is what some have referred to as normal. I have energy, I’m in a great mood, I enjoy my job, and I have zero thoughts of using. This is more of a normal feeling, not a “high” feeling. Other days I have a horrible headache, my stomach is turning and I feel on the verge of vomiting, and if that subsides I feel drained and just want to sleep. It really is a toss us how I will feel that day, but it’s usually only 1-2 times a week I feel the bad symthoms. I am a little nervous to come off it due to the fact I had 21 months clean without any substitute medication, and as soon as I hit stress and felt overwhelmed, I relapsed. Within 6 weeks of using, I was lying to my girlfriend, missing work, spending all my money, and on the verge of loosing everything that mattered to me. Within the blink of an eye I was back to my old lifestyle. So I was desperate to save myself. So suboxone was my best choice. But now that I am 92 days clean I am clear headed and thinking of when I will be on my own (suboxone free) and I am nervous as to what to expect. I’m sure the doctor will lower left slowly, but am I going to expierence withdraw? Am I going to instantly crave? Or will I be strong enough mentally and feel happy and “normal” like I do with a steady suboxone dose? Any answers our info would be great. I’m not looking to abuse this, or go against the doctor. I don’t want to ween myself off. Im strictly in this to do it the right way. So any thing on what to expect would be great.

1:42 pm May 8th, 2015

Hi Ray. Take one step at a time. There may be some withdrawal and cravings, but it is a good next step for you. You need to move forward at this point. Talk to your psychologist or counselor about your challenges and fears, it can help you greatly. It’s OK to be afraid, but you have to believe that you are ready. Good luck.

Acissej
6:47 pm May 12th, 2015

Hi, recently my boyfriend has stopped taking vicodine. He has been struggling with this addicton for alittle over a year now. I myself am not educated on either vicodine or saboxone & I need help. He was taking…at the most…8 5mg vicodine a day, now he’s taking saboxone. Is there a way I can help get him off these things? It’s ruining both our lives

12:52 pm May 15th, 2015

Hi Acissej. Has he seen a doctor already? He will need a tapering schedule and some medications to treat the withdrawal symptoms as they occur. But medical assistance can be a life saver. Also, counseling and therapy sessions can help him go through the psychological issues of detox and leaving dependence behind.

Chris
3:11 pm May 28th, 2015

Hi, I will try to make my loooong story short.
I was on 150mg of oxycodone for 5 yrs, now been off for 2 yrs. I take tramadol, gabapentin, meloxicam, citalopam, and advil or asprin, around the clock. I do not want to go back to oxy, but what else will help my chronic back pain from a surgery that didn’t do any good, and degenerative disk, and neck problems. ? Would the Butrans Patch work for my pain and depression? Or is the Fentanyl patch something i should try, and will a doctor still be scared to prescribe it? (depression is mild and has to be the result of coming off the opiates?,( because i was not depressed before) Seems no doctors want to prescribe anything anymore in fear of the DEA! I am looking for something to handle my pain, and that i do not have to talk by mouth, because i was VERY addicted, when I stopped, cold-turkey, and yes it was living H***! What should i do from here? I go to see my gp tomorrow, to see if she will help me find a pm that will see me. And yes, i have been thru everyone, non-med treatment they can think of, including 2 different stimulator implant trials. Sorry, i tried to keep it short! lol
Thank you!

4:48 pm June 12th, 2015

Hi Chris. How did the meeting with your GP go? Did they prescribe something for your pain?

christy
9:55 am August 24th, 2015

Hi, I’m Christie I have quation for u. I was taking pill everyday everytime they ihad my cesarean I had precibing me percoset I was in Vicodin and them couple month istaring taking opion couse idid not want to feel sick and ihad ploblems couse I have 4 kids they took them away and iwant to detox so I got a seboxone and I’m scared to take inever try them before but iwant to realy quit ifeel tereble every time that iwake up what should ido ihave a quart of a strip seboxone and I don’t do a lost of drusg but istill get sick do I shoul to a cuart of that and it will take ,my siks ness aways please tell me what I should do

Highguy
8:21 am August 30th, 2015

Soboxone saved my life. High fives all around to who ever it taking it. I am 30 years old. I have been doing drugs from A to Z as long as I can remember. I been in and out of jail for all kinds of stupid crap and did 3 years in prison. I have been out for over a year now. I never would have made it off parloe without subox

Bryan
1:25 pm January 3rd, 2016

RAY….. Hey listen I too take Suboxone and after basically doing an experiment on myself I found ….that once my body accepted the suboxone and had fully blocked those receptors… If I take my “normal dose” and feel woozy or nausea coming on…that’s my body telling me “CUT DOWN THE DOSAGE!!” So I did. Come to find out…my body knew exactly what it needed. I went from 2 strips a day a year ago….to cutting 1 strip into 4 equal parts. Out of those 4 I take 1 a day now. In other words… 1 strip last 4 days. Many in our situation say “that would never work for me” Well…everyone is different. Try cutting it in half….take half in the am….and half in the pm. Trust me….I know that annoying withdrawal pain…..but it will fade 10-15min after the piece of strip dissolves. Otherwise…you are forcing your body to want the full dosage when it doesent need it…..then you’re right back at square 1 just dependent on a new medication . Remember……the whole objective of Suboxone is to curb and eradicate your dependency. Keep at it bro. Its a tough road but you can do it. I went from 50+ pills a day of oxy…..to a fraction of 1 strip of suboxone. Happy New Year brother. Yes… I know how serious and dangerous this matter could be. A welcomed conversation could save a life.

Stanley
12:13 am January 16th, 2016

I have been taking Suboxone for 10 years after six years I took a pill one day and went into withdrawal and I’ve never been able to get it to work the same again the first six years were fine the list 4years r up and down it just won’t last my new dr has me taking 1 mg every 4 hours and it hardly last 4 hours during that time I feel weak a little hard to breath it feel like is not enough but when I was taking more every 2 or 3 pr4 times a day I felt the same

Brian
7:02 am February 26th, 2016

I’ve been on 30th for 6 years it has totally changed my life I don’t ever get high but tolerance went way up…. I plan on tapering this coming month

Linda T
1:50 am February 28th, 2016

I was taking 10 percocets orally per day for over two years. I retired Feb 15th and started detoxing at home and managed 5 days of nothing. I called a crisis helpline on the fifth day who gave me a number for a clinic. I was prescribed 8mg of Suboxone, once daily, and .1mg of Clonidine, 1 to 2 times daily, up to three times a day.
My severe withdrawal symptoms ended immediately, however I did feel high. This “high” feeling is diminishing daily which is great, however I still don’t feel “normal”. I started the Suboxone and the Clonodine on the 19th of Feb and expect this may take time before things smooth themselves out.
My biggest problem is that I cannot urinate at all. I am also severely constipated. I have been back to the clinic twice for help but nothing is working. I am being prescribed laxatives which anyone can buy at their local pharmacy except for the medication used to flush a persons system prior to a colonoscopy(still didn’t do the trick). I don’t know what to do as this is a vicious cycle. I am gaining weight but I can’t eat because my stomach feels full. All I want to do is urinate. Too much information, I know, but I am at a loss. I will be going back to the clinic on Monday for my nest prescription for suboxone. Can anyone help me?

Deb
2:26 am March 22nd, 2016

Can suboxone make you have the nod outs like herion, like sitting staight up mouth open sleeping? Its known to me as the herion daze.

5:52 pm March 23rd, 2016

Hello Deb. Suboxone can absolutely make you nod off and be tired at odd times. I encourage you to speak with your doctor and report this side effect from the medication. You may require a change in doses.

Jill
2:50 pm April 6th, 2016

I have been on and off of 10-325 hydrocodone for years and finally tapered down to 2 a day but every time I try to stop, the withdrawals are bad, I am afraid of Suboxone cause I have heard it is just as addictive. My Dr wants to put me on it and I see him Friday for my refills on Xanax, Zoloft and ambien. He keeps asking me if I have made a decision yet. I have a bad lower back and a quarter size hole in my pelvis along with osteoarthritis and at times it is really bad. How long would I take Suboxone and how hard is it to come off of?? The Dr told me it will help with all my issues I am having with arthritis and can be on this med from now on but it does have me worried. How long should I take it and how does a person get off it? Thank you

Sheryl
2:20 am May 21st, 2016

Long Story Folks. I am 61 years old and I have been addicted for 5 years. I must have cancelled 15 appts with my doc in the last 6 months. It was time to reach out. I went to the doc last week for a reg check up and was not sure if I was going come clean or not. When he took a pulse check, my doc immediately recommended that I have an EKG, I of course said sure. When he came back in the room, he asked me, even knowing that I am not an athlete and a smoker. At 61 my heart rate should be between 55 and 60. It was at 39. He asked me about dizzy spells, shortening of breath, to which I responded no, because I don’t. He said that he was recommending me to see a cardiologist. That’s when it hit me, now you talking about my heart, my life. I stuttered, “well, uh maybe” and then I shut up. He picked up on it and stopped what he was doing, looked at me and said, “Cheryl, what are you trying too tell me?”. That was it, I fessed up everything! It was finally out, my first feeling of relief. He was so kind and questioned my daily dosage (75mgs a day). Very concerned and supportive. If his colleagues would get on board, he supports subox. He recommended a doctor that is licensed to dispense. I look on their website and it tells me he is taking no more patients. I called the next morning in tars, begging this doctor to see me. Within 2 hours I was scheduled an appt. This coming Tuesday, I am going to him and beg him to save my life!! I will do whatever I have to, I will not waiver. I am done. People say “Never say Never”, but I have 4 beautiful granddaughters and a wonderful husband (who is not aware). I want my life back! Thank you all for listening if anyone is out there. Thank you!

Katie
10:09 am August 1st, 2016

Hi

I’ve been on 16mg of Suboxone for about a year now. I’ve been a long term opiate user and the Sub was a way to get me to stop engaging in illegal activity and ODing. The thing is I have very little interest in getting anything done. Like today, my 5 year old daughter trashed the lounge room yesterday (Sunday) and today I needed to tidy it up and it’s now 6pm and I’ve not tidied up, nor have I been interested in doing it. I just laid on the couch and watched episodes of Botched Up Bodies & slept. This has been going on for a while now too. Sure, I also take meds for depression, but I’m pretty sure it’s not depression – there’s just this general feeling of not wanting to do anything. I usually have a job which I manage to get to, but that’s just finished, I’m just waiting for another one to start next week. Was just wondering if the Sub is contributing to my general lethargy and malaise?? TIA…

Wendy
8:37 pm October 29th, 2016

I just started subs 2 days ago after 9+years on methadone for pain management. First day I was okay I guess because I was so relieved to be out of withdrawals today I just feel foggy, lethargic and kind of down in the dumps. Is this normal?

gineean
8:48 pm March 8th, 2017

If doc seams you properly. You could just have stomoc make for 3 to 4 days not bad .. You can handle it. If you still have thought of getting high
That’s why you relaps. You gabby had enough you think getting high is answer. Feel your feeling deal with them you will heal and eventually won’t wanna get high. Feel deal heal takes courage you can do it just don’t get high it’s a feeling it won’t kill you

Crystal
7:40 pm April 25th, 2017

I took my first dose at 1am and I’m still messed up why.?
The doc has me on 16-4 once a day.

Karen
2:26 pm July 1st, 2017

I have been on the Suboxone program for one year and two months. It has worked great getting me off strong pain medicine such as roxicodone and many other opiates. However I have gained 35 pounds snds I am meserble. My eating habits have not changed. Infact,. i even eat less than ever and exercise.
Can you help me? I fear that I will start using again because this is not normal for me send the pain medication I was using before did not make me gain weight, infact it did just the opposite.
Thank you,
Karen

Tina
1:57 pm July 7th, 2017

Hi …I am not now nor ever been addicted to anything …I have Narcalepsey w cataplexey. I have been on adderall for 8 yrs now … 30mg er in am like 5 and at 1pm again. Adderall seem to be the only thing that helped it actually works great but as time went on I started to notice that it didn’t work as well as when I first started and now it doesn’t do anything a friend of mine who knows I have narcolepsy and noticed the difference and how tired I have been lately told me to try a piece of her Suboxone that it gives her so much energy so I did …not even a quarter of a 8mg strip and I felt great and gradually after a year now I take a whole 8 mg strip in the morning lately it is not doing the same thing anymore now when I take it …I feel like a zombie I tried to stop for a week then start again but now it’s even worse it makes me more tired now than I am without taking anything …help I can’t live like this I hate feeling tired all day and falling asleep just talking to someone it’s the worst way to live I thought I found the Cure but everything seems to stop working after a while what do I do now. Tired of being tired when I tried to tell several sleep specialists about the suboxone they did not want to hear it so I had to pretend that I was addicted to something just to get it I shouldn’t have to live life like this lying to get something to make me normal and live like people do everyday it’s a horrible way to live just wondering if you know of anything that could help

Crystal
10:30 pm July 23rd, 2017

The people that say that heroin is bad, but if you were rich and could afford it forever I just don’t think they’d stop doing it, and from my research it’s true for many!!!!!

Douglas
11:45 pm August 11th, 2017

I am on generic form of sublingual buprenorphine prescribed at 8mg/day …..via experimentation I find I do better breaking these pills into tiny chunks and not taking one until I actually think I need it. I would say that this method is not as good for pain management, but way better for addiction management ….I don’t ever think in terms of getting any kind of buzz from a dose but rather just to keep me from feeling bad ….I find I DO take more chunks more often if I am stressed or company is over or I have to do physical chores etc ….but it turns out EVEN with the many times a every week this is the case? I STILL take LESS on average than if I simply took one 8mg pill per day ….and the GREAT thing about that is? At the end of the month’s RX I am not counting pills! EVEN if the pharmacy is out of them or I have to bump my dr appointment, I now manage to always have a buffer quantity there ! Anyone who is addicted well knows the stress and panic of running out…it means getting sick and it SUCKS ….My “little chunk” method REALLY works so well for me! I actually even feel guilty taking “extra” chunks for stress etc until I realize I a NOT taking “extra” …just more than yesterday is all but not even my full allotted dose ….this also saves me money because my cheap ass insurance who DID pay for all the toxic methadone my little heart desired will NOT pay a dime for the buprenorphine! (Go figure) ….Well this way I can go more than a month on the same number of pills ….and IF I really start hurting I have the option of the full pill every day ….which I had to partake of a few months ago when I had a dental abscess that was killing me ….anyway give it a try? Start disciplining yourself and DON”T take another little chunk UNTIL you actually start to feel bad again….never ever never think in terms of feeling a buzz ….THAT just is not going to happen anyway and you know it ….still the placebo effect of an “extra” chunk for stress satisfies that old addictive itch to adjust my own chemistry…in reality it does hardly anything other than maybe allowing me to slide longer until the next “chunk”…..I don’t even count them or keep track now …I go by feel alone and I ALWAYS use LESS than one full pill per day ….virtually always …..your heart knows you don’t want to be hooked on being high and your body knows how much it has to have to keep you up and running …I have been on this for over a year now …methadone is way back in the rearview mirror …I look forward to feeling confident enough to get ALL THE WAY off pain meds ….IF I can get my body to feel healthy ….I am experimenting now with various supplements seeing if there is a magic pill combination maybe? MY gp has agreed to test my glutathione ….kind of excited about that too!

Richy
9:52 pm August 27th, 2017

Hi, I am currently on 2mg of suboxone a day and would really like some help in coming off could any1 help me please I have a wife a 2 year old child and no longer want to be controlled by drugs, many thanks

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:14 pm August 31st, 2017

Hi Richy. The safest way to quit Suboxone is by slowly reducing the daily dose. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule.

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About Dr. Jeffrey Junig, MD, PhD

Dr. Jeffrey Junig, MD, PhD is a psychiatrist practicing in northeast Wisconsin, in recovery from opioid dependence. He is Board Certified in both Psychiatry and Anesthesiology and holds a PhD in Neuroscience. He writes about buprenorphine at Suboxone Talk Zone, and manages a forum for patients taking buprenorphine called SuboxForum.

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