Suboxone takes approximately 20-60 minutes to take effect in most cases, however, it usually takes multiple doses over an extended period of time to reach its full effectiveness. When taking Suboxone, the effects of the drug should peak around 2-3 hours after taking it, and the drug will be active in the body for the next 24 hours. During this time you should feel a reduction in withdrawal symptoms, and cravings, and in some cases a very slight high may be present but should decrease with the continuation of treatment.
How long it takes buprenorphine (Suboxone) to take effect is really only a small part of what you need to know about Suboxone and whether or not it is the right treatment for you or your loved one, and in understanding how it works. We’ve taken the liberty of answering a few pressing questions many people have about Suboxone and explaining everything else you might need to know.
Table of Contents
What To Do If You Still Feel Withdrawal Symptoms?
The effectiveness of Suboxone treatment is highly dependent on a person’s age, weight, metabolism, and the severity of their prior substance use. This means that dosage can be a guessing game at first until doctors are able to pin down exactly what dosage is right for a specific patient. What’s more, Suboxone should only be taken once you enter active withdrawal, which many people try to avoid at all costs. It is usually suggested that you refrain from substance use anywhere from 48-72 hours before taking suboxone so that the initial opioids are waning from your system and your body goes into withdrawal. Most people will feel the effects of withdrawal coming on at this time.
After this time has elapsed then doctors suggest taking the first dose. This can be taken by a pill or a dissolvable “strip” that is placed under the tongue. If the effects of the Suboxone are not felt within the next two hours, and if the withdrawal symptoms do not ease, then many doctors may instruct you to take another dose. This however should not be done without a doctor’s instruction and recommendation first.
For many people, it is ideal that they eventually do not feel any effects from Suboxone at all as their opioid withdrawal symptoms wane. For people taking Suboxone as a maintenance opioid treatment, it is ideal that they do not actively feel the effects of Suboxone, only that they do not feel cravings or the impulse to use opioids.
Suboxone Pills vs Strips
Suboxone typically comes in two forms: pills or strips. While both must be taken orally by letting them sit beneath the tongue to dissolve and are equally effective, there are a number of differences that can steer patients one way or the other.
Price: Pills tend to be the cheaper option when getting Suboxone. Much of this has to do with how the medicine is made and the higher price of strips could be a deterrent.
Absorbency: Both pills and strips have been shown to be equally effective, but the Suboxone strips have been known to be more absorbent, absorbing quite a bit faster than the pills.
Familiarity: Many people are familiar with taking pills and feel more comfortable with just adding Suboxone pills to the end of their medication routine instead of trying the strips.
Convenience: Because Suboxone is meant to be dissolved under the tongue, it can take a while for the medication to fully dissolve. This means that a pill or strip must be held under the tongue for the duration of that time. Some people find strips more convenient for their fast absorbance and discretion.
You may be asking now, “Can I crush my pills in order to make them more absorbent?” The answer to that will typically be no. While it seems intuitive, crushing your pills at home can lead to loss of medication and therefore a decrease in effectiveness. Unless instructed by a medical professional you should never crush or cut your medication. Both Suboxone types are designed to be dissolved under the tongue. They will do this without interference and with a better end result.
Top Tip for Pills & Strips: Drink Water First!
Drinking water before you take Suboxone of either type will help to moisten the membranes in your mouth and dissolve the medication more quickly and effectively. That being said, you should never drink water while the pill or strip is in your mouth. This will wash the medication away and decrease, if not entirely negate its effects. Once the pill or strip is entirely dissolved, if there are any bitter tastes left in your mouth, then you can take a drink to get rid of that taste.
Does Suboxone Have Any Side Effects?
The most common side effects of Suboxone are nausea, headache, constipation, and diarrhea. That being said, some people also report that Suboxone can make them feel relaxed and generally “good.”
Aside from these more common side effects, like with every medication, there are a number of uncommon side effects that are possible and range in severity:
- Nausea & vomiting
- Dizziness & fainting
- Headaches and difficulty focusing
- Mouth numbness or tongue pain
- Insomnia or intense drowsiness
- Blurry vision
- Back pain
Most of these symptoms are extremely rare and can be caused by the misuse of suboxone, or the use of suboxone and other illicit substances. If you or somebody you know are taking suboxone and experiencing any adverse effects, it is important to bring the side effects up to a medical professional to make sure that they are not life-threatening.
What Should I Expect from Suboxone or Subutex Induction?
People looking to manage their withdrawal while leaving substance abuse may be considered for Suboxone or another similar drug, Subutex. While they are chemically different in makeup, Suboxone and Subutex are used for the same general purpose of minimizing the effects of withdrawals and cravings. Regardless of which drug you are prescribed, there are a number of conditions that must be met before you can begin your first dose.
To begin either of these drugs effectively, you must be in active and advanced withdrawal. This means that you will have had to refrain from substance use for at least a while before you can begin this treatment option. Typically, by the time you are ready to start your first dose, you will feel quite bad. That being said, it is important not to take either drug too early. If taken earlier than prescribed, the drugs can intensify withdrawal symptoms making you feel sicker than you already do.
Typically doctors will start you on 4-8 milligrams and see how well that works at the time. If the effects of withdrawal are still severe, then they may choose to immediately up the dosage and titrate higher over time until relief is achieved.
It would be dishonest to say that the early days of Suboxone treatment are easy. They are certainly not. That being said, if used correctly and maintained well, Suboxone can actually lead people to end their opioid addictions with much less pain and suffering than they would have experienced without.
Should I Be Taking Suboxone Or Subutex For Opioid Withdrawal?
Suboxone and Subutex are closely related drugs. Having first been created as Subutex, the drug was designed to reduce opiate cravings and lessen the severity of withdrawals. That being said, it was soon found out that the injection of Subutex resulted in a similar high as other opioids and became a popularly misused prescription. After this, Suboxone was created. Nearly identical to Subutex, Suboxone was created with the same goals in mind, but with one major change: the addition of Naloxone.
Naloxone is an opioid inhibitor and blocks the effects of any opioids that enter the body. What this did was create a severe withdrawal reaction when Suboxone was injected. This not only made the drug extremely difficult to misuse but also more effective in curbing substance use.
Suboxone is prescribed more often than Subutex, but there are benefits to considering both for your own treatment. People who are pregnant are often put on Subutex instead of Suboxone due to negative reactions to Naloxone. Regardless of your current condition, it may be worth the conversation with your care provider to discuss which option is right for you and your circumstances. Regardless of the choice you come to, getting treatment is always a step in the right direction.
Will Suboxone Show Up as a False Positive on a Drug Test?
The good news is that Suboxone and Subutex do not typically show up on common drug testing. Suboxone and Subutex both have a base component of Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid that is not tested for in common drug tests and does not show up in opioid testing. This means that Suboxone and Subutex will not show up as opiate use on a drug test and that there will not be false positives.
There are now some drug tests that test for the presence of buprenorphine and these tests will show as positive if you are using Suboxone or Subutex. That being said, it is illegal in most cases to discriminate against a person for their legal prescription medications and therefore should not be an issue.
Suboxone Treatment at ReVIDA Recovery®
At ReVIDA Recovery we offer both Suboxone and Subutex treatment to those looking to leave their opioid addiction behind. We understand the difficulty of beginning Suboxone and Subutex while in withdrawal and our highly skilled and professional staff are ready to walk with you every step of the way.
To learn more about our Suboxone and Subutex treatment options, call us today at 423-631-0432.
FAQs About How Long Does It Take For Suboxone To Kick In
How long after Suboxone Do you feel better?
Some people feel better after the first time they take Suboxone. For others, it might take a few days of consistent dosages or even a medication adjustment to feel better.
How long do you keep a Suboxone strip under your tongue?
5-10 minutes. After this time the strip should be fully dissolved.
How is Suboxone supposed to make me feel?
Suboxone is supposed to make you feel like you are not going through withdrawals or craving opiates. It is not meant to make you “high” although it has been reported by some people to cause a very faint high or a sense of relaxation.
Does Suboxone start working immediately?
It takes about 2-3 hours for buprenorphine to reach peak effectiveness and it will peak for about 1-2 hours. That being said, a dose of Suboxone lasts an entire day.