How Long Does It Take to Stabilize on Suboxone?

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Suboxone doses need to be adjusted until you find the one that works for you. The ideal dose will both be high enough to control your cravings and withdrawal symptoms but low enough to avoid any unintended side effects.

Most of the time, this takes a few days. Usually physicians will prescribe a low dose of Suboxone and then continue to increase it until your cravings are controlled. 

What Is Suboxone Stabilization?

Doctors use three stages to describe Suboxone use in their patients. These are the three Suboxone stages:

  • “Induction”: The first few days, you start taking the medication and find a dose that eases physical and mental discomfort. 
  • Stabilization: Over the first week to months. You have no withdrawal symptoms, and you feel no side effects. 
  • Maintenance: Long term, You stay on your dose of medications to reduce relapse risks and feel healthy.

Typically, people enter Suboxone stabilization about a week after starting treatment.

People typically find they are stable on their dose after the first few days to week.[1] The dose you found during this time will remain the proper dose for you. You can stay on this dose long term, for months or even years, or even life long if you find it helpful to maintain your abstinence from drug use. 

Factors That Influence the Stabilization Timeframe 

Most people don't need Suboxone dose adjustments.[2] Once you've found a level that reduces your cravings and helps you stay comfortable, you can keep taking that amount indefinitely. Every once and a while, you may need a dose adjustment if you experience cravings or side effects. In addition, if you start taking new medications that make you sleepy or sedated, your dose may need to be decreased.

After a few days, most patients find a stable dose of Suboxone that works for them. However if things change and you need to adjust your dose for any reason, reach out to your doctor.

Sources

  1. TIP 40: Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://lib.adai.washington.edu/clearinghouse/downloads/TIP-40-Clinical-Guidelines-for-the-Use-of-Buprenorphine-in-the-Treatment-of-Opioid-Addiction-54.pdf. 2004. Accessed July 2022.
  2. Practical Considerations for the Clinical Use of Buprenorphine. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851017/. August 2004. Accessed July 2022.

Medically Reviewed By Elena Hill, MD, MPH

Elena Hill, MD; MPH received her MD and Masters of Public Health degrees at Tufts Medical School and completed her family medicine residency at Boston Medical Center. She is currently an attending physician at Bronxcare Health Systems in the Bronx, NY where she works as a primary care physician as well as part time in pain management and integrated health. Her clinical interests include underserved health care, chronic pain and integrated/alternative health.

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