If you're considering medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorder, you may be wondering: How long does it take for Suboxone to kick in? How long does it last? When should you take Suboxone, and how much should you use? Before using any medication, it is essential that you understand how it works and how to use it safely. And remember, you can always get expert advice on using Suboxone by booking an appointment with a clinician at our online Suboxone clinic.
Suboxone is a brand name prescription medication used to treat opioid use disorder. It combines buprenorphine and naloxone to mitigate withdrawal discomfort so that you can stay focused on your path to recovery. Although Suboxone is highly effective for minimizing withdrawal symptoms, it should only be used exactly as prescribed to prevent adverse effects.
When Should You Take Suboxone?
You should take Suboxone as directed by your provider. If cravings appear, they can help you navigate this process. However, when using Suboxone for the first time, the medication can only be started after you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. This is usually at least 24 hours after the last dose of other opioids and sometimes longer.
Taking Suboxone too soon after other prescription or illicit opioids can lead to precipitated withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramping
Precipitated withdrawal is induced by medications used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) rather than withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Symptoms may be more severe than standard withdrawal and can lead to death, so it is important to discuss the substances you have used and when openly and honestly with your provider so they can recommend when to start Suboxone.
How Long Does It Take for Suboxone to Kick In?
After using a Suboxone strip, you will begin to feel relief from withdrawal symptoms and cravings rather quickly.
Once you place the oral film under your tongue or in your cheek, it takes about 15 to 30 minutes to dissolve fully. The effects of Suboxone should kick in once the film has dissolved. It will take approximately three to four hours to achieve maximum results.
Be sure to use Suboxone precisely as directed to get the desired relief from withdrawal symptoms. This medication will not work properly if you swallow it instead of dissolving it in your mouth. To avoid diluting the effects, wait at least 30 minutes after the film has dissolved before eating or drinking. It is important to note that each person will respond differently to Suboxone based on opioid use history and other factors, so your results may vary.
How Long After Suboxone Do You Feel Better?
Suboxone begins to alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and cravings within 20 to 60 minutes after your first dose. Withdrawal discomfort and opioid cravings should begin to dissipate at this time and continually fade until reaching maximum effectiveness.
In some cases, you may not feel much better after the medication has dissolved and should have kicked in. This may mean that your dose isn't strong enough. Suboxone is available in four strengths:
- 2 mg buprenorphine / 0.5 mg naloxone
- 4 mg buprenorphine / 1 mg naloxone
- 8 mg buprenorphine / 2 mg naloxone
- 12 mg buprenorphine / 3 mg naloxone
Your provider will work with you to achieve the optimal dosage to keep discomfort at bay. Providers usually start you on the lowest dose and gradually increase it until you achieve optimal relief. If you still struggle with withdrawal symptoms after four hours, your doctor will slowly increase your dose to find the right dosage of Suboxone to keep you comfortable and minimize cravings.