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How to stop taking buprenorphine?

When you are prescribed buprenorphine, you should not stop taking it without talking to your doctor first, especially if you’ve been on buprenorphine treatment for a longer period of time. Once your body becomes dependent on buprenorphine, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you quit it abruptly.

In this article, we review the consequences of quitting buprenorphine suddenly, but we also advise you how to come off buprenorphine safely. If you want to ask anything after reading the article, feel free to post your questions in the comments section. We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.

Can I just stop taking buprenorphine?

No. You can’t just stop taking buprenorphine.

If you stop buprenorphine suddenly, you risk experiencing severe buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms that are uncomfortable and unnecessary. Plus, if you quit buprenorphine cold turkey, you risk relapse to stronger opiate drugs. Doctors and medical experts recommend that you gradually reduce your buprenorphine doses over a period of 2-3 weeks before you can discontinue the medication.

The physical withdrawal symptoms from buprenorphine usually resolve within a period of 7 to 10 days. However, the psychological withdrawal symptoms can last for months and even longer. This is why it is best and safest to quit under the supervision and professional guidance of a medical team.

Why shouldn’t you quit buprenorphine cold turkey?

There are several reasons why you should not quit buprenorphine on your own.

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1. Buprenorphine’s main purpose is to help you with opiate or opioid addiction. Most addictions are rooted in emotional damage, traumatic events, mental health issues or dysfunctional experiences. It is difficult to address and resolve such issues on your own. Stopping buprenorphine therapy unprepared may lead to a relapse on opiate drugs and back to a full blown addiction.

2. Buprenorphine use causes significant functional changes in the brain. Quitting may also cause changes in your behaviour. Many people do not fully understand these implications on the brain and are not equipped to deal with the effects that follow after regular use is discontinued.

3. The extreme and uncomfortable withdrawal effects that occur as buprenorphine leaves the system are usually the first reason for relapse. Moreover, when people relapse they may feel even worse than the time when they were on buprenorphine.

What happens when you stop taking buprenorphine?

When you stop taking buprenorphine, you can expect withdrawal symptoms to start to manifest within the hours or days after your last dose. Buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms peak in intensity and severity in about 72 hours and then they gradually decline. Symptoms can be intense and similar to those of a common flu.

These symptoms appear as a result of buprenorphine dependence. Dependence is an expected outcome of regular dosing on this medication. And it isn’t necessarily bad. Drug dependence means that your brain and body has become adapted to the presence of buprenorphine in the system … and is thrown out of balance when regular doses are missed. These effects can interfere with your daily activities, and can impact your social, personal and work-related activities (in a negative way).

Side effects when coming off buprenorphine

What are buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms? The most commonly experienced buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms, include:

  • anxiety
  • body aches
  • changes in appetite
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • leg restlessness
  • mood swings
  • nausea
  • pain
  • sweating
  • yawning

NOTE: People who use buprenorphine longer or in higher doses will probably feel its withdrawal symptoms over an extended period of time.

Effects of stopping buprenorphine cold turkey

Attempting to quit buprenorphine cold turkey, without a gradual taper or a medically assisted detox process, can cause a state of chemical chaosin the mind and body. Going cold turkey off buprenorphine can cause painful symptoms and you may be exposing yourself to serious medical risks. Instead, it is recommended to follow a tapering protocol under the guidance of your doctor or an inpatient medical detox facility. Medical assistance can help you minimize buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms and risks as much as possible.

How do I stop taking buprenorphine?

How to withdrawal form buprenorphine? When you become stable in your recovery process and feel that you want to stop taking buprenorphine, it is best to do it gradually and over time. Preferably, buprenorphine should be discontinued over a period of 3+ weeks. Doses are usually reduced by 10-20% from your current dose, every week or every other week.

The process of tapering can greatly lessen the severity and duration of symptoms. The main goal of a taper, instead of just stopping a medication, is to reduce your tolerance and minimize the discomfort experienced from withdrawal. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you create an individual tapering plan that is fit for your needs. They may also suggest other prescription medications or over-the-counter remedies to help you treat symptoms as they occur.

How to stop taking buprenorphine safely?

The best way to stop taking buprenorphine SAFELY is to work with a medically trained addiction medicine/treatment provider that will develop a tapering plan.

In some cases, your doctor may conclude that you can benefit from a comprehensive program that includes medical detoxification. A supervised detox process can help you eliminate all traces of buprenorphine from your body without causing too much stress and discomfort. Medical teams will monitor your health state round the clock and attend to all needs. Most importantly, you will be in the hands of professionals who can address your withdrawal symptoms and make the process as pleasant as possible.

Stop taking buprenorphine questions

Do you still have any doubts about stopping buprenorphine safely? Please leave your questions and comments in the section below. We try to respond to you personally and promptly, or refer you to someone who can help.

Reference sources: Mental Health: The facts about buprenorphine
FDA: Suboxone and subutex
Medline Plus: Buprenorphine

Photo credit: Amataki

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12 Responses to “How to stop taking buprenorphine?
Dave
10:40 am February 5th, 2017

I was trying to get off of opiates then it was Heroin, so I knew about Subutex and Suboxon so I paid my $300 for my first visit to this Dr he went through everything about the drug with me and 7 others. But he and another lady Dr got arrested so I found this place called Indiana Health Group and they had me to come there I signed a contract with them and it cost $120 on each visit per month then it switched to $ 180 and I am disabled and on Medicare but I bought a supplemental insurance thru Anthem BC BS and I was talking with my insurance about how I had to pay cash every visit and they said my insurance would cover my visits so on my next appt I told them at the clinic that my insurance said it would pay and I showed my card to them and on the very bottom right it says Medicare RX prescription drug coverage they told me that they did not accept Medicare the Drs were cash only, but I have another problem other than this. When I first started there the lady Dr gave me 8 mg 3x day Suboxon and I never even thought about this but I have diabetes so I took it for about 3 weeks and my blood sugar went way up close to 600 and I was also on a half mg of clonazepam 2x day which I have been taking this for years but she wanted me to stop and I tried and I had very severe panic attacks, but there was another Dr that worked there and I asked if I could start seeing him now and he allows you to take clonazepam and I told him about my diabetes problem having to start using insulin and I had to use it at least 10 x day. So he suggested that I should try Subutex so he prescribed me 8mg 3x day plus my clonazepam half mg 2x day and lyrica plus Zoloft he studied me and he had figured out that I had PTSD but taking the subutex my sugar went back down to normal and no insulin but 6 mo in the clinic wanted me to have a document saying that I needed to stay on subutex so I got one and gave to them. Well it’s been almost 3 years now that I have been taking the same meds from the Dr but he wrote a letter last August saying he was quiting the practice and would be leaving at the end of September and my last appt with him he said that he would refer me to another Dr that worked at the same place. I asked him if the New Dr would change the meds that he was giving me and he said no because you are doing so great on them and I said are you sure and he promised me that the Dr would not mess with my meds he had wrote it in my chart. Well since he left his patients did not have to go to an appt in October but he said to call them and have them call in my meds to a pharmacy close to me and they did. Well then November came and I had to pay $360 this time to make up for August but I did not have that much money so I called them and they told me that I had to have the full amount at my appt so I asked if they would call my meds in again and they did then on my appt in December on the 21st the nurse called me on the 20th saying that the New Dr was looking at my records and that he wanted me to switch back to Suboxon and stop the clonazepam and the lyrica I told her that the Dr promised me that they would not change my meds, she said that he promised all his patients that when he left, and I told her about the Suboxon affecting my diabetes and she said well that is what he wants and if I did not want to take the meds that he wanted I would have to find a new Dr and they would give me a 1 months supply of my meds then get rid of me, but the thing is I feel that they done me wrong and it was unethical also. And taking the 8mg Subutex 3xday for almost : years they did not taper me off of them so now I am going to go back into bad withdraws, I was not the one who left the practice and they had sent me to get the document 21/2 years back. I cannot find any Drs in Indiana that will take me because they have there aloted amount of patients and others would not prescribe subutex and my clonazepam so I called back down there and got on the answering service that you tell if you need refills and I said I cannot find a Dr and that I needed another months refill on my meds and they had even mailed me a letter saying that I was discharged from there, I never said I wanted to leave because the nurse told me to think it over but in the letter it said they would keep seeing me for 30 days if it was an emergency but I found out that they never called in my meds also. So do you think the way I was treated was not right and having the Drs as cash only Drs also I think something is going on at this clinic and they know that I will go into Bad withdraws I am so upset about this and I am so tired of people taking advantage or using me that I am done I do not care anymore . I just turned 53 in January but I had a couple lite strokes in 07 and I could not talk when I had them and they had to give me narcan 6 times on the way to the Hospital and in the ER they gave me 2 more narcans they finally got me stable and I woke up in a bed in there with a trak in my Throat and I motioned for them to take it out and they did but I could not still talk, my words were slurred. But when this lady Dr walked in she asked me why I tried to kill myself and I wondered what she was talking about, so a few days later I went home when I finally went back to with the personal manager said that the Dr sent them a letter saying that I had ODd and that I had to bring in all of my meds so the company Dr could check them out saying they were safe to take at work but I know now that they were trying to get rid of me they made up these Lies about me even my Union did not even welcome me back saying that they was glad I was ok they yeld at me just like the company did so I lost my job just because this Dr that seen me when I had the strokes told a lie about me to the company she even broke the law because I never signed a release form for her to send that to where I had worked she broke the hippa law, so this last spring I decided to go get my records from when I had the strokes and review them but one thing was missing it was where they drug tested me ??? So I have had to much bad things go wrong I had a $22 hour job making around $8 to a grand in one 7 day now I am on disability and I get $1378 in one month and after paying bills I don’t even have enough money to buy food for the month, and I am giving up I do not care anymore but I am not going to let this place where I was getting clean break me I am thinking of going to the TV News and telling all about what they done to me and about the Drs getting cash only too

Betty
12:33 pm February 8th, 2017

It took me aprox 4 months , but i still have problems sleeping and mood swings, i had only been on 2o mcg for about 18 months. Eventually my doctor prescribed me 100mg slow release tramal which helped. I was on buprenorphine for pain relief as i have extensìve osteo arthritis

Michelle
5:00 pm February 10th, 2017

I got down to 1ml a day and have now not taken for 24 hours how bad will I be and what Cani do to help it

ziona
8:07 pm March 4th, 2017

I’m taking 2mg of buprenorphine.and i stop it yestrday evening. It was my final dose. I feel diffifult to sleep, how long will it takes this? How will i cure my bodyache…anybody can help me

Steve
1:47 am March 6th, 2017

I took Bup for more than 5 years. I have been able to wean all the way down to very little. But, I can’t seem to clear the final hurdle. I can go 2 days without, but then feel very uncomfortable: Always cold ( I live in Texas), sneezing, diarrhea. It really sucks!! I just want off!

Jim
5:44 pm March 16th, 2017

I havd been addicted to suboxin for over two years now, i was taking 2 1/2 ztrips a day 2 weeks ago but have gotten myself dow to a half of a strip. I have to go to jail in two weeks for 2 months and i am vsry scared about having to stop because i dont think thsy will give me anything to help with the withdrawl symptoms. I plan to be down to a quarter strip by then, so if i get to that point, how bad will the withdrawls be, and how long will they last. My friend gave me some clonodine to help but after some research, i found that it bas bad side effects as well

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
11:44 pm March 20th, 2017

Hi Ziona. First, speak with your doctor about your issues. Then, consult with a pharmacist to recommend some vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter aid, home remedies, teas, and hot baths to ease buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms.

roldan
10:37 pm March 26th, 2017

Ive been on suboxone 14days to get off morphine now i want to stop suboxone i USed 8mg now im on4mg now goin to 2mg 2 days and stopping will i go threw exstrem withdraw or will it be no so bad please respond asap i need this info ty

Shirley
1:49 pm March 28th, 2017

I have been off Bubernophine now for 11 days ..but i still feel so weak and tired. Is there any thing i can do to help my symtoms?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:07 pm March 31st, 2017

Hi Shirley. I suggest that you speak with a pharmacist to recommend some over-the-counter aid, vitamins, supplements, etc to help you deal with the withdrawal symptoms.

David
9:48 pm March 31st, 2017

I didn’t want to stop taking Subutex suddenly, I had been taking 8mg 3xday for about 4 years with a half mg of colonipin 2xday and 200 mg of lyrica 2xday and 100 mg of Zoloft 2xday and this last year my Dr quit the practice but he referred me to another Dr that worked there, and I asked my Dr if this new Dr would change my meds and he said no you are doing great on what I have you on, and I said are you sure and he goes I promise you that he will not change your meds, but for me to not schedule next months appt because they had one less Dr and they were trying to fit everyone in,but when my monthly meds ran out to call the clinic and have them call them in for me in which they did for me. Then in November I didn’t have the whole amount of money for my appt so I called the clinic again and asked if they could call my meds in again and they told me yes I explained why and they said no problem. But my appt in December the nurse called me the day before my appt and said that the new Dr had been looking over my records and wanted me to switch back to Suboxon which I cannot take it makes my blood suger go up very high and then I need insuline to get it down and each day of that I had to use insuline between 8 to 10 x day and I have a document saying that I needed to be on Subutex because Suboxon makes my suger go high and I needed to use insuline and being on Subutex no more insuline.also she told me that he wanted me to stop my colonipin which if I do not take I have severe panic attacks and I also have PTSD and my stomach hurts bad and I had been on the same dose for around 14 years, and I was to stop taking my lyrica too but she never said nothing about the Zoloft I told her that my Dr who quit promised me that the New Dr would keep me on the same meds that I had been taking all along, she said he promised that to all of his patients that then I told her that taking Suboxon made my blood suger go up very high and she told me that it did not and if I did not want to take what this new Dr wanted me to that I needed to call a new Dr and they would give me a 1 months supply of the meds I was on and they would discharge me and I was to think about it for a few days and my meds ran out so I called down and put on there answering machine that my meds had ran out and I needed a refill and this was in between Xmas and New Year’s Eve but they called them in but they never got the preautherized done so I had to buy a few at a time with cash. But then after the first of the year I got a letter from them saying I had been discharged and they called in my 1 month of meds and that they would still see me for 30 days in case of an emergency. They never even let me think about it and they never even attempted to taper me down from the meds. So I called pretty much every Dr in the state which is only 234 Drs and they were all full so I called back down to the clinic and told them I could not find another Dr so far and could they call me in 1 more months supply of my meds and the girl said no and I told her about the letter I had gotten from them and it told about emergency and she said a refill on my meds was not an emergency and to go to my local ER and hung up on me. What they done to me was wrong and unethical even my family Dr told me what they had done was wrong and cruel because they knew I would have not found a new Dr within 1 month and my meds would run out and I would go into withdraws and it was also unethical. So I tried to buy Subutex off of the black market online and got ripped off. Now I am almost out of my Subutex I tried to stretch them out and I don’t want to go to an inpatient group because they will take me off of all of everything I take. I called back down there and told them what they done to me was wrong and unethical and she told me that’s your problem. So I said that I would get on every news channel and tell what they had done to me and she said go ahead and hung up on me. How can someone like this place do this to a person I had never done anything wrong always passed my p test I was drug free except for the subutex for almost 4 years it was the Dr that quit not me and I have been very upset about this ever since they did this to me, sometimes I am awake for 1 to 2 days just thinking about it and where I can get more Subutex. They really have me messed up it’s either try again to buy Subutex and take a chance of going to prison or go back on drugs, I found out that Kratom is good for opiate withdraw but it’s illegal in my state, so I do not know what to do and I cannot go back into withdraws again I has 2 strokes in 07 and I am afraid I will have another big one this time so tell me what I should do to get. back on my Subutex again please

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
12:49 pm April 14th, 2017

Hi Roldan. Withdrawal if different for each individual. I suggest that you speak with your doctor to help you plan an individualized tapering schedule. Also, consult with a pharmacist to recommend some over-the-counter aid, vitamins and supplements, home remedies, and teas to ease withdrawal symptoms.

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