How to withdraw from buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid-agonist, and the effects of the drug resemble those of other opioids. So the safest way to withdraw from buprenorphine is under the supervision of a doctor or counselor. Guidelines and suggestions here.

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Buprenorphine is used to ease withdrawal symptoms from opioids, and is an opioid partial agonist. Because it is a partial agonist, buprenorphine can cause the same or similar side effects as other opioids, including euphoria and respiratory depression. So how can you withdraw from buprenorphine in your system in a way that is safe and reduces the intensity of symptoms?  And what is buprenorphine withdrawal like?  We review here and invite your questions about buprenorphine withdrawal at the end.

When do you withdraw from buprenorphine?

You withdraw from buprenorphine when you stop or abruptly lower doses of buprenorphine after becoming physically dependent on buprenorphine. In fact, withdrawal is characterized by drug dependence, which means that your body needs the drug in order to function normally. If you have been using buprenorphine daily and are ready to live without it, you might consider withdrawal. Or if you have become psychologically dependent on buprenorphine use, and cannot function normally without taking the drug, you may also want to consider withdrawal. While it may seem difficult to face the symptoms of buprenorphine withdrawal, withdrawal from buprenorphine takes a predictable course. While uncomfortable, withdrawal from buprenorphine is routine and treatable.

How long to withdraw from buprenorphine?

The time is takes to withdraw from buprenorphine varies in length depending on the severity of your body’s dependence. You generally start feeling the symptoms of withdrawal as early as a couple of hours after your next expected dose. The physical withdrawal symptoms will peak, or reach the height of their severity, about 48-72 hours after your final use. However, some buprenorphine withdrawal symptoms may be present for weeks, or even months following the final dosage.

Withdraw from buprenorphine symptoms

The symptoms of buprenorphine withdrawal are similar to those of other opioids, like heroin, although they are typically milder. When withdrawing from buprenorphine, symptoms that may occur include:

  • body aches
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in sleeping habits
  • cold sweats
  • flu-like symptoms
  • headaches
  • mood swings
  • nausea

These symptoms can vary depending on the severity of chemical dependence on buprenorphine and the length of use for each person. Some people may face severe withdrawal symptoms, which can peak 2-5 days after the last dose, while others may only see mild withdrawal symptoms. It is always important to consult a doctor when withdrawing from buprenorphine in order to assess your personal needs during withdrawal and to make sure you are withdrawing safely from the drug.

How to ease withdrawal symptoms from buprenorphine

When you decide to discontinue buprenorphine treatment, the daily dose should be decreased gradually over a predetermined period or at a rate you agree upon with your prescribing doctor. This process is called tapering and is the best way to ease withdrawal symptoms from buprenorphine. Withdrawal symptoms may emerge as the buprenorphine dose is decreased. In this event, the taper may be temporarily suspended. Discontinuation of buprenorphine over a period of 3+ weeks is the preferred manner.

Because buprenorphine is the drug that is typically subscribed to ease symptoms of opioid withdrawal, there may be no easy way to withdraw from use. Easing symptoms of buprenorphine withdrawal can be achieved through home remedies, or by seeking treatment from a doctor or detox clinic. Home remedies such as the use of heating pads, gels, massage creams, hot baths and showers can address physical symptoms of withdrawal, and seeking support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or SMART recovery can assist with psychological withdrawal symptoms.

How to withdraw from buprenorphine safely

Withdrawing from buprenorphine can be achieved safely under the supervision of a doctor or medical staff in a detox clinic. Because buprenorphine is a partial opioid-agonist, and the effects of the drug resemble those of other opioids, it is important to withdrawal under the supervision of a doctor or counselor, so your withdrawal symptoms can be managed. Doctors will be able to assess the severity of your symptoms and decide on the proper method of withdrawal, which may include tapering you off of buprenorphine or prescribing clonidine or anti-diarrhea medications.

Can I withdraw from buprenorphine at home?

Buprenorphine withdrawal at home is possible. The main goal is to address physical withdrawal symptoms. For body aches and other pain, use mild pain relievers such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. You can also take warm baths and use heating pads when you experience physical pain. Gastrointestinal stress may also present itself, and will need to be treated by drinking fluids and sometimes taking Imodium. Psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as craving and mood swings will need to be addressed, and it is important to seek help from a sober friend or family member, or to attend support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or SMART recovery.

The best way to withdraw from buprenorphine

The best way to withdrawal from buprenorphine is under the supervision of a doctor or drug abuse counselor. This can be achieved in either an inpatient or outpatient facility, depending on what is best for you. Both inpatient and outpatient facilities provide evaluation and supervision by doctors and counselors. They also begin psychological and behavioral treatment therapies in order to deal with psychological withdrawal symptoms.

How to deal with withdrawal from buprenorphine questions

Do you have more questions about how to withdrawal from buprenorphine? Are you considering withdrawal and would like to find out more about treatment and symptoms? Comment below with your questions, comments or concerns and we will respond personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: Indian Journal of Psychiatry: BUPRENORPHINE WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME
CSAT: About buprenorphine therapy
SAMHSA: Buprenorphine Facts
University of Indiana: DSM IV Drug Dependence Criteria
SAMHSA: Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction, Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 40.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I wanted to add my experiences as well in hopes that it helps another addict.
    I have been on Suboxone for roughly 2 years prescribed 16MG sublingual strips daily and had to stop cold turkey without tapering off.
    I have to say that the first 2 weeks were the worst of my life. Just when you start to feel better “bam” the waves of pain continue.
    I am now 17 days drug free and am starting to come out of some sort of nightmare experience.
    Day by day the withdrawal symptoms seem to get slightly better with some days better than others.

  2. hi everyone update im 8 weeks clean now just got down to half ml under tonge then jumped was bad for 1/2weeks nothing major though was still going work sleep still insnt back to normal but getting 6hrs a night feel better inself just energy levels not back to normal but that proberly dowm to being awake at 5am most days good luck everone

  3. Hi. I have been taking Butrans patches for about 2 years. I started on the 20 mcg patch and about a year ago I tapered myself down each month to the 15, 10, 7.5 and then 5, which I am currently on. I experienced very little to no withdrawal effects while lowering my dose each month. I lost my doctor due to insurance issues. I put on my last 5 mcg patch about 10 days ago. I am wondering if I should just continue to wear the patch and if that would slowly taper me off of it with minimal withdrawal symptoms. To this point i have had very little to no symptoms and i’ve had the patch on for about 3 days longer than the suggested 7 days that they last. Without having a doctor I am trying to do this the best that I can. So do I continue to wear my last patch for as long as I can or should I just take it off at this point? If I keep it on for say a month would the effect of the patch be completely useless and I can safely take it off and be past any withdrawal i may have had if I took the patch of now?

  4. Hi i got on subby text in jail ive been sniffing it for about 4 years now everyday it varies in how much but for the past two weeks ive been taking it under my tongue ive got my self down to about 1ml once in morning then afternoon i just brake little bit of tablet its holding me i was really bad 1st week but now getting better im planning next week to go to just one dose under tongue in morning how long should i keep this up before stopping or should i go 2 days wwithout then 3 then 4 without or just stop the 1ml aday by the way is 1ml not 1 ml x 2

  5. I’m going through severe withdraws from subutex and it’s been a week,why do I feel worse now than ever.I hurt so bad that I can’t I have fibromyalgia and slip disk in my back.all the pain that was covered up with pain meds and then this with me doing away with them.I’m so sick and really rather do this at home.any suggestions?

    1. Hi Janet. I suggest that you consult with your doctor to recommend some over-the-counter medications that can help you ease withdrawal symptoms.

  6. Hi, I decided to come off buprenorphine recently as have been struggling with extreme fatigue, nausea and dizziness. I need to eliminate buprenorphine as the cause and after more than two years on 10 mg a day of bup I feel ready to go without. I tapered myself last week doing 2 days at 8 mg then 2 days at 6mg then one day on 4mg. The following day I didn’t feel well and took 10 mg again but I have now been 48 hours with nothing. I want to keep trying without anything as my motivation is high and I was suffering with the same symptoms as those of withdrawal anyway so don’t feel I have a lot to lose. My biggest concern is weight gain as I have a very long history of eating disorder too. I found when I started bup my appetite was suppressed and these last two days I’ve been bingeing. Does anyone else have experience like this and will it stop? Thank you! I really want out from dependency on weekly pick ups and fortnightly hospital appointments because of bup, I want to be free and so far cravings are not happening. I am a drug addict and alcoholic in recovery, have been clean and sober 19 months but on buprenorphine. Any comments very welcome! Thank you

  7. What home remedies can be used to help with the weaning process from your Doctor? When things seem overwhelming and to painful to continue?

    1. Hi Tammy. You can use a combination of NSAIDs to treat symptomatic discomfort. Massages, hot baths, and rest can help. If needed, you can seek treatment from a detox clinic for more severe symptoms such as diahrrea, nausea, and/or anxiety.

  8. I have been on Subutex for almost 2 years . I was put on it after being put in a hospital unit to be detoxed from opioids that I had been on after many surgeries.When discharged I was to go to a doctor to help me. He didn’t deal with Subutex and couldn’t help me. I found a doctor 70 miles from my home who just kept writing RX for me. I told him I wanted off the Subutex all he did was tell me to start slow and in a month I should be off. Meantime I’ve had a pain stimulator put in for back pain. Also have gotten myself down to.25 mg. a day of the Subutex in 2 months. I have left messages for my doctor and he doesn’t call back. I’m told to make an appointment. I can’t drive as I so weak and tired. I’ve tried going off Subutex completely by trying going every other day. Can’t seem to do it. I get leg cramps with tingling , can’t sleep, no desire to eat, cry. and can hardly get out of bed. Are these withdrawals or maybe caused by the stimulator? I had it put in just over 3 weeks ago. My husband works as a truck driver and is gone all week so I’m alone. I need help and don’t know were to turn. All alone and 73 years old.

  9. I’ve been on tabs for a Cpl years then dr takes me off and puts me on butrans 20 mg every 7 days . How hard is it going to be on me to get off.tanks

  10. This time I’ve been on 3mg subxone film strips for 4 years. I want to come off but can’t afford a lot of time off work. What’s the best way to taper slowly , how low and then how much work should I schedule off for and what should I expect. I’ve heard 3 weeks in bed. Minimum. My BF take less than 1 mg per day same 4 yrs. He definitely feels physical w/d if he misses a dose. He also wants off. What can he expect. What kind of comfort meds should we neurontin safe to take for a month then stop. What else can we ask the md for to help ease this…should I go in patient out of the area (I work in the Recovery field. I can not go into a local detox) I’ve been clean except for the sub which I’m legally prescribed for over 4 yrs now

  11. In my opinion this particular pharmaceutical was intended not to come off of. Billions if not trillions of dollars are lining the pockets of not just Big pharmacy but the ma and PA general practitioners who were once working 10 hours a day/ 5 days a week are now turning their practice into a clinic and working one day a week….no hassle from insurance companies and the high price of this drug. .BET NOONE HAS TOLD YOU THIS…..the success rate of opioid addicts when stopping suboxen treatment is only 1O%…..My opinion is if you are becoming just another statistic, white, middle class, in the middle of the biggest opioid epidemic we have ever seen…STAY ON SUBOXEN AND OUT OF THE GROUND. The government is now beginning to charge dealers with murder…..Nothing in government is coincidence……while thousands of families were being destroyed as their quiet middle class kids were dying in record numbers for years….WHERE WAS OUR BIG G?

  12. I am currently withdrawing from bruprenorphine and I have terrible back pains and my wee smells terrible is this normal. I feel terrible. Thank you.

  13. I have been on subutex for over six years. I was taking 16-20 milligrams a day. I quit cold turkey four weeks ago. Into the fifth week my back hurts and I feel like I am coming out of my skin. My pulse is extremely high. I work everyday, I try not to lay down too much because it makes my energy level drop tremendously. I have just recently started getting very hot like I am running a fever, then I will get chills. The chills are worse at night. I know that everyone is different but do the hot sweats and chillls mean it is almost over?

    1. Hi Tracy. It depends… Stay strong, and fight till the end! You are already walking the recovery road.

  14. Gabbapenten, or the brand name, norrotin
    will greatly decrease withdrawal symptoms of Buppren. It will fit lock and key to the same receptor as Buppren not the opiate receptors. Be warned Gabe has a nasty buzz in large amounts. Could not wait until I found the right doctor and stopped garbage.

  15. Hi I’ve recently stopped taking 14ml of subutex and I’m in severe withdrawal . My breathing is erratic and I’m in a lot of pain I can’t see a doctor till the morning will I be ok? I thought I could deal with just stopping as I went a few days without taking my script one weekend as I lost it and I felt ok but it’s been roughly 5 days without it now and I used abit of heroin yesterday to kerb the way I’m feeling. I’ve been on a subutex script now for about 2 years through a addiction centre. I know now it’s was really foolish of me to just stop the way I have. i know I won’t be sleeping tonight and I’m gonna feel like this but what can I expect from the doctor to help me in the morning? Thanks for your time.

  16. Ive stopped subutex cold turkey, todsy makes my 8th day. The first 5days i was ok, and the last few days seen to feel like there getting worst. I cant sleep my bodys aching and i dont want to get out of bed. I was only snorting a little line of subutex a day

  17. hi, i have been taking buprenorphine since 1993, in the early years a come down/withdrawing wasn’t a problem, it was a 0.2 temgesic tablet i was taking, not all the tablet to start with, maybe a quarter a night for the first 6 months, then a half tablet a night for 3 years, then up to 3/4 of a tablet for a further 7 years, i always had a rest every year for the first ten years of at least 3 months to prove to myself i could go without it and wasn’t a junkie, i was kidding myself on that i wasn’t a junkie but i was and still am, when subutex,, subbies were first available they were cheaper than temgesic as loads more people were prescribed them, £2.50 for a 0.2ml tem, and £3.50 for 8ml of subutex, that was forty tems for £3.50, go figure,,, i am now 56 and think i should call it a day as the effect since stopping smoking cigs and hash is not the same as i had been used to all those years, the come down i had the last time i took tems was terrible, it lasted 7 weeks the reason i had managed to stick to coming of the tems was i love driving motorbikes and round about the 3rd week of pain i went out on my bike, the adrenalin rush i got from driving the bike was enough to kill my pain, if your reading this don’t let my pain put you of your come down you know its going to be hard, at the end of the come down and your all sorted what a feeling it is to be healed, life is great, the things i noticed was some ones white shirt was a glowing white, the smell of flowers at night was amazing, my dinner was very tasty, i have been taking one 8ml tablet a day for the last 5 years, but during march i decided to cut down, at the moment i am taking about 4ml to 8ml a week, i did get a adverse effect as i cut my dosage to 4ml a day at the start, one day of brain damage and sore legs, my legs are still sore but manageable

  18. Hi Ivana
    Just a quick note to let you know that is has been over a year now and I don’t think I have looked forward to an anniversary in a long time. The 24th will be 41 years but the first clean and sober one in at least 5. I still always think about how you are always there to talk to when the need arises. I feel that just knowing I have a place to post updates and get a reply back helps to keep me focused. We walked the Sleeping Bear Dunes all the way 20 years ago and promised that we would do it again when I turned 60. Well I think that my wife Katie had lost all hope that that or much else of any good was going to come out of me after the addiction started. I have made plans for this trip now and she is a little concerned that it could cause me to relapse from the pain and soreness. With a strong support system and people like you I know that everything will be fine. Remember you just have to get through today and then get back up and do it again. One day at a time is all it takes. Peace and prayers to all who are struggling, I am 60 and proof if you want it bad enough you too can kick it. Mark

  19. I have been on buprenophine for 6 years. The first 4 years I was on suboxone, the last 2 I’ve been on straight bupe. I’m prescribed 3 8 mg for chronic pain. Before that I was on full opiods both by prescription and illegal from the street.Anyways my doctor and I both agree that with my pain which I’m stuck with for life, and the amount of time I’ve been opiates, I’ll need to be on bupe forever. If I come off,o would be unable to work, and would be constantly battling pain and temptation of illegal opioids to relieve it. I often wonder what my withdrawal would be like and how long would it last and how intense would they be after 6 yrs and at 24mgs/day. I’ve considered giving it a try and seeing how much worse the pain can be without the subutex. Anyone quit after that long and that much? If so, how bad was it?

  20. Hi Ivana
    Just checking back in to let you and all out there know that I now have a second grandson. Life is good and the will is strong. Here in the Detroit area they have started allowing naloxone to be sold over the counter to help reverse opioid overdoses. I have been trying to organize meetings to teach how this can save some ones life. The abuse is so bad and since I have been there myself in the past I am trying to keep others from going through what I had to, without them having to worry about the stigma attached. Every day when I get up I am thankful for the support of this blog and you for being here to listen and guide us. I have rambled on long enough. If we all pull together and support each other we can beat this as a family of people who value life and the rewards we cannot see while we are addicted. May inner peace and a strong support system be with you all. Mark

    1. Mark, it’s so good to hear from you again. Congratulations on becoming a grandpa for the second time! I’m very pleased that things are going for the better. And, yes, we know that city by city naloxone is starting to be available OTC, mostly at Duane Reades and Walgreens. It is really good news and I hope it reduces opioid drug overdoses drastically. Thank you for writing back and praising us like this. It’s comments like yours that can make our day and motivate us to work even more committedly on our mission to help people. Kind regards, Ivana

  21. my dr gave me butrans patches 20 I was on them for 2,1/2 years. they worked well for a while, then I fell down the a lot of steps hurt my self pretty badly. knowing my dr wouldn’t give me anything I went to another dr. well needless to say he cut me off the patches cold turkey. Its been 7days, I have been using the loratob 7.5 to help. a friend gave me a suboxone said it would help. seems to me if im trying to get off that is just putting it back in my system.. any suggestions?

    1. Hi Vicki. Ask the pharmacist in your pharmacy about the amount you can take to slowly taper doses down and prevent your organism from going through an abrupt and unpleasant withdrawal.

  22. Hi Ivana
    Just checking in to let you know all is well. It is so nice to be able to wake up everyday! No more worries about how I am going to make it thru the day. I found out I’m going to be a Grandpa again soon. So nice to have a feeling of purpose and hope again. Thanks again for being there for support. Hope all is well with you and everyone who are going thru trials. If you want it you can do it.

  23. I seem to be past the worst of it. I did not even miss a day of work. I did experience some cravings but the decision was either quit or possibly lose my wife who I will have been with 40 years on the 24th. I still think about the pain. I don’t know how much is real and how much is from withdrawal. She is so happy that she has helped with whatever I am going thru. I thank you for this blog and your concern. It means a lot to me to know there is a place to converse and get advice. I have not hidden it from anyone now ( Employer, friends family ) Two people have told me today they both quit 7 days ago because of me. I hope I’m not preaching but my son said so many of the people he went to school with ( he is 26) are either on pills or moved onto heroin and at least 6 have od’d. I wish all the best to all who read this and I know if you want to you can do it. Thanks again Mark

    1. Hello Mark. Thank you for your feedback and kind words. Your comment tells such an inspiring and positive story, that I’m sure others will be encouraged as well. I’m glad you are spreading the support and that others are following into your footsteps. Keep going brave!

  24. I was taking 10/325 Norco at a rate of 10 to 20 a day for a year or more. On 5-5 I had taken 11. I decided enough was enough so on 5-6 I took 1 and 1/2 8mg/2mg suboxone. On 5-7 I took 1/2 of a sub. Then on 5-8 I took nothing and haven’t since. I am just wondering how long I am going to be feeling off. I have 3 crushed discs in my back and a torn rotator cuff. I want to stay off pills or subs. Any suggestions would be nice. Thanks Mark

    1. Hi Mark. I would have suggested a more slow and gradual taper, yours was pretty abrupt. Please seek your doctor’s help and help him create a tapering schedule that will work for you (if your doc decides you need to go back on the medications for a little while longer). A slow taper and a proper medical help can make detox much more comfortable. Of course, you will also need some counseling sessions or therapy to help you with psychological issues and cravings.

  25. ive been on subutex for a month. before i was on suboxone.for years. i have now down to 0.4 and plan to take for say 4 days than cut that 0-4 in half which will be 0-2. and take that for 4 days maybe 5 days every day. than i will try and add an extra 1 or 2 hours on top of my 24 hours of last dose. the aim is to add an hour or 2 every day or second day to stabalize the dose and than keeping on adding 1 or 2 hours so far very little pain as i hold a full time job. could take me 1 month to get 3 days before i need to take 0-2 of the subutex tablet. i than am thinking of taking panidine or panadol tablets if needed and again over weeks reduce them. so far its working. while droppind down i have had no more than 1 zanax tablet to help with sleep no more than two to 3 days in a row and only at the start of me dropping weather 1ml or half a ml. so far so good. its a long process but its working. if you have any other suggestions as im getting down to a very lose dose. like i said im now on 0-4 and ready to half taking codeine phosphate 30 mg when needed or mercondol for pain when needed can that small dose set me back. also any other tips if you think may help i would love to hear them. i have a girlfriend who is drug free and always has been. work mates are drug free and they know what im doing..the only thing i can think of is putting in the naltraxone implant for a year but dsont know who does thae. hope all this makes sense and any advice i would appriecate.thanks for your time and hope you can add to my plan and any solutions you can suggest than im all ears. love andrew. life is beautiful straight but you must want it and happy for any help. thankyou

  26. Hi. Thanks for your reply. Am now down to 0.8mg of subtext, and am afraid that I may have messed up by snorting some heroin last night. I don’t even know why. Am attending smart recovery, and have done so well. Have I messed up, and how to make it better! Please?

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