How Long Does Suboxone Block Opiates?

suboxone spilling out of blue prescription bottle


How long does Suboxone block opiates? This is a common question for those in recovery. Opiates can be highly addictivsuboxone spilling out of blue prescription bottlee and can be difficult to stop using without the help of medication like Suboxone, which blocks the effects of opiates, and the help of a professional recovery program. 

Suboxone is a prescription medication, and one of the main uses for it in addiction treatment is to reduce opiate withdrawal symptoms and cravings that can lead many people back into opiate misuse.

What Are Opiates?

Opiates are substances derived from the opium poppy or breadseed poppy. They produce a pain-relieving response because they bind to the brain’s opioid receptors and depress the central nervous system. They can be highly addictive since they release dopamine and activate the brain’s reward system.  

Are Opiates and Opioids the Same? 

No. They can give the same pain-relieving response, but opiates and opioids are very different. Opiates are a natural version of opioids, such as morphine or codeine, whereas opioids encompass all of these natural opiates and their lab-derived analogs. 

These synthetically derived opioids can be of more concern because they are often stronger and the effects are more unpredictable. For example, the CDC states that “Carfentanil, the most potent fentanyl analog detected in the U.S., is estimated to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine.”

About Opiate Use

When opiates are prescribed for medical use, they are often used together with other non-opioid painkillers. They are prescribed to help relieve severe or chronic pain that is moderate to severe, such as constant cancer pain. 

Many people begin using these medications because of chronic pain, and they become addicted quickly without realizing it until they are unable to stop taking them at higher dosages than what is prescribed by their doctor. Opiates often lead individuals into using other drugs as well such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine or methamphetamine. 

Opiates can cause feelings of euphoria, as the brain is flooded with dopamine. When the “feel good” state of mind begins to wear off, however, the individual will physically crave more of the substance. 

This can quickly become an unhealthy, cyclical pattern of misuse that can lead to physical dependence (needing opiates in one’s system to function) and subsequently addiction. 

More importantly, when opiates are misused, they can be very dangerous. They can cause an individual’s breathing to slow down and even stop when paired with substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines or antihistamines. 

Signs and Symptoms of an Opiate Addiction

Each person’s struggle when it concerns opiate abuse or addiction can be as unique as they are, causing them to exhibit various signs and symptoms. 

Commonly reported examples indicative of opiate abuse, include drowsiness or changes in sleeping habits, uncontrollable opiate cravings, eating more or less, slurred speech, loss of coordination, excess sweating, drastic mood swings and more. 

If left untreated, habitual opiate misuse can lead to detrimental short and long-term effects. The severity of symptoms will depend on various contributing factors; for instance, the individual’s personal health history, frequency of use, dose, the length of time the individual misused opiates or if they mixed opiates with other substances.  

Withdrawal from Opiates

There are many signs of opiate withdrawal, ranging from body aches and muscle cramps to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose or excessive tearing. 

Others symptoms include: 

  • insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
  • yawning
  • excessive sweating 

Symptoms of opiate withdrawal can start within 12 hours after the last dose and can continue up to five days depending on how long opiates are used. The longer someone has been using these drugs, the more severe their symptoms will be when they stop taking them suddenly or without medical supervision. Some people experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms lasting for months after their last dose of opiates.

What is Suboxone? 

Suboxone is a prescription medication made by combining the medicines buprenorphine and naloxone. The way it works in the brain is by blocking other opioids (like heroin, morphine or oxycodone) from activating the brain’s reward system. It is taken as a dissolvable film that is placed under the tongue and left to dissolve, or it can be mixed with water.

Suboxone works like methadone in that they both block opiate receptors and prevent withdrawal symptoms from occurring by taking away cravings for more opioids. 

How is Suboxone Used during Recovery?

Suboxone was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 to treat opioid addiction as a part of a complete treatment plan that includes counseling and participation in social support programs. Suboxone can be used to help you recover from opiate addiction and is one of many options for drug treatment. It does not prevent or cure withdrawal symptoms, but it can make them less severe when someone stops using opioids after a period of misuse. 

People who take Suboxone may still feel some effects of opioids, but they are not as strong. This can help reduce cravings for opiates and prevent relapse. 

How Long Does Suboxone Block Opiates?

If you are wondering how long will suboxone block opiates, the answer is that it will block the effects for 24 hours. This is one way it helps people who are recovering from opioid dependence reduce cravings and prevent relapse. It also makes using Suboxone every day a more tolerable experience as some side effects from long-term drug use may be reduced during treatment with this medication, such as a runny nose or excessive tearing. 

When a person takes Suboxone, they will feel less effect from an opiate dose and the medication can help reduce cravings for drugs like heroin, Oxycodone or morphine without having side effects associated with them. During treatment, it is important to follow the doctor’s recommendations, so that you don’t relapse and have additional health problems.

When to Seek Treatment for Opiate Misuse

It is important that you seek help as soon as possible if you think opiate abuse or addiction could be a part of your life because the longer this goes untreated, the more likely it becomes that these symptoms will stick around long-term, and even permanently in some cases. 

Opiate use can be very dangerous when not monitored by a professional or in the presence of another addictive substance like alcohol. They can also lead your life down a path where it’s difficult to stop taking them.

If you’re currently using opiates and considering stopping, ELEVATE Wellness in Pasadena, California would like to help. If you find yourself unable to control how often or how much you use opiates, please call us today at 855-778-8668 for a free consultation and to learn about our safe and effective treatment program.