Tapering off of Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine, also sold under brand name Suboxone (buprenorphine + naloxone), is effective in the treatment of opioid addiction. It is one of three medications used to treat opioid addiction. The other two are methadone and naltrexone. Buprenorphine relieves symptoms of opioid withdrawal after an individual stops using/abusing opiates such as pain killers, heroin, fentanyl, etc. After detoxification is complete, buprenorphine is used in maintenance treatment to minimize cravings. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist and, if taken as directed, it relieves withdrawal symptoms and cravings without producing the “high” or other side effects of opioids. While pure buprenorphine can be abused by injecting it, Suboxone contains naloxone, that prevents abuse.
If a person abruptly stops the usage of buprenorphine, there may be some physical withdrawal, but the more acute symptoms are psychological. While many individuals attempt to come off of Buprenorphine on their own, it is advisable to enter a detoxification program to come off of buprenorphine. There is a fear of relapsing on opiates due to abstinence from buprenorphine. An outpatient taper program is preferable to an inpatient one as it allows the individual coming off of buprenorphine to be in touch with their real living environment in order to gauge their ability to stay sober after the buprenorphine taper is concluded. The Center for Network Therapy (CNT) is arguably the country’s most trusted expert in outpatient detoxification and taper.
The anxiety caused by the thought of not having buprenorphine in the system to combat potential cravings for opiates is anxiety provoking. This could cause a relapse on opiates or other substances to address anxiety. The staff at CNT is very experienced in administering a buprenorphine taper by effectively addressing the physical and psychological aspects to stopping use of buprenorphine. Along with titration taper of buprenorphine, intense therapy and administration of other supportive (non-addictive) medications may be called for. It is best left in the hands of experts with deep experience in administering this taper.
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