How Long Do You Stay On Suboxone Before Trying to Stop It?
I don’t pressure patients to come off the Suboxone or to stay on it. I support them in their efforts to do either one but I give them the following information. Patients who successfully taper off Suboxone and remain free of narcotic use for months or years afterward are usually patientswho stay on Suboxone maintenance for a year or more before tapering. During this year patients have time to work on becoming more psychologically stable via cognitive behavioral therapy of one form or another. COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT) is included in psychotherapy, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation programs, active involvement in church, and/or 12 step attendance in collaboration with a sponsor. Typically their lives have become more stable in the areas of love relationships, friendships, job, and financial resources.
Many of my patients try to start tapering on their own a few days or a few weeks after getting on a stable dose and Suboxone and are feeling normal. They feel so normal that they feel it will be easy to getoff Suboxone and stay straight. The first mistake they typically make is to skip a couple doses and believe they can stop because no withdrawal occurs. The other mistake is that they drop their dose at too large of a step instead of only 10 to 15% each step. Another common error is to step down again after a couple days because they are having mild or no withdrawal. It usually takes 5 to 7 days at a step down level to see how much if any withdrawal that step down causes.
This recent study reports the use of Suboxone maintenance for at least three months as more effective than rapid detox for remaining abstinent from dangerous narcotics. http://www.nih.gov/news/health/nov2008/nida-04.htm
How Do I Taper Off Suboxone? Outpatients are most likely to be successful in trying to taper off Suboxone if they reduce the total daily dose by no more than 10 to 20% and no more often than once every 1 to 2 weeks. No decrease in dose should be attempted until all withdrawal has gone away from the last reduction. Suboxone holds onto the receptor so tightly that it takes at least a week to see the full impact of a decrease in dosage.
If you or someone you love requires help from Suboxone,
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