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Using Subutex for Opiate Withdrawal

Subutex is a pharmaceutical treatment that is used to help individuals recover from serious opiate addictions. Because it is a pharmaceutical product that is used to treat a separate pharmaceutical dependency, Subutex, which is the brand name for the generic drug buprenorphine. Subutex is very effective for treatment of deeply ingrained addictions, but as with all pharmaceutical treatments, it is subject to overuse and abuse. Accordingly, Subutex treatments will be most effective when they are monitored in a medically supervised environment.

Subutex is typically prescribed during the first few days of an opiate addict’s detox and withdrawal from opiate substances. Subutex has been shown to be an effective treatment to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms during this time, and to lessen opiate overdose and misuse problems through Subutex’s ability to block the effects of those substances. Subutex is an opiate itself, but it does not create the highs or euphoric sensations associated with heroin and other opium-based substances. After an initial period of Subutex treatments, a physician will usually transition a recovering addict from Subutex to Suboxone, which is a blend of buprenorphine and another pharmaceutical product (naloxone) that reduces dependency risks.

Subutex may not be an effective treatment for all opiate addicts. Some recovering addicts will experience side effects with Subutex that are analogous to opiate withdrawal symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps, dizziness, and constipation. Opiate addicts who are using other substances or who have other medical problems are less likely to respond positively to Subutex treatments. Addicts who are using antidepressants can experience life-threatening side effects, including severely depressed respiratory or cardiovascular systems. Further, using Subutex within a very short period of time after using heroin or some other opiate product can cause an addict to experience enhanced physical withdrawal effects. In view of these risks, heroin addicts should use Subutex only under a physician’s care and supervision.

Subutex should also not be perceived as a “cure” for opiate addiction. Rather, it is one of several tools that a physician or counselor will recommend to help an addict break his addiction and to regain his sobriety. Subutex will reduce physical withdrawal symptoms, but am opiate addict’s psychological cravings will continue long after physical symptoms subside and disappear. The relapse rate for opiate addiction is very high, notwithstanding the stressful and physically demanding detox that addicts experience when they stop using opiates. Regular counseling and participation in 12-step therapy or other group support will help an opiate addict to avoid relapses and to recover genuine long-term sobriety.


Harmony Place is an accredited treatment facility offering luxury residential care options on a full continuum of care. For information on our residential detox treatment and a private consultation, call us today: 1-888-789-4330