How Does Suboxone Help With Opiate Withdrawal?

Suboxone is a form of help with opiate addiction by preventing symptoms of withdrawal from drugs such as heroin or other opiates. Suboxone is prescribed during the maintenance phase of treatment following acute opiate withdrawal resolution. Learn about Suboxone and how it helps with opiate withdrawal.

What is Opiate Withdrawal?

Opiate class of drugs including natural derivatives of opium such as heroin, morphine and codeine are highly addictive. Addiction is reported after just one use. The body goes through withdrawal when a person stops using drugs. Stopping or reducing opiate drugs following heavy or prolonged use can feel like a challenge. Symptoms are known as opiate withdrawal. When the person stops taking opiates, the body needs an adjustment period to find homeostasis and this brings discomfort known as withdrawal.

How Suboxone Helps

Suboxone is prescribed to help those dependent on the drugs. It is not a magic pill and is part of a complete treatment program, not used in isolation. Counseling, therapy and other parts of a opiate addiction treatment program should be used in order to fully integrate concepts into a person’s brain and body regarding ways to avoid drug use in the future. Suboxone works in the brain by engaging opioid receptors usually triggered by opiates. It occupies parts of the nerve cells suppressing withdrawal. It occupies the same nerve receptors opiates formerly occupied by tricking the brain into delaying withdrawal onset. Suboxone is not a way to get high, it is used during the maintenance phase of treatment.

When Not to Use Suboxone

The drug Suboxone should not be used if a person is allergic to buprenorphine or naloxone. Suboxone may not be right for a person in this case. Tell a doctor if the following have happened before taking Suboxone:

  • Breastfeeding a baby as it can pass into the milk
  • Pregnancy or plans to become pregnant are possible or have happened
  • Curvature of the spine affecting breathing
  • Head injuries or brain problems
  • History of alcoholism
  • Diagnosis of Addison’s disease
  • Adrenal gland issues
  • Enlarged prostate gland (men)
  • Medical condition
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Low thyroid
  • Hallucinations or mental health concerns
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Trouble breathing or lung issues


Suboxone is not a panacea and may form part of an addiction treatment program. The Villa supports individuals in finding the program that is right for you. Call to let us know how we can help support your personal goals of finding your way to recovery from addiction.