Suboxone taper or maintenance? Which is better?
Is it best to stay on Suboxone long-term or to just do a Suboxone taper for a week or two? This is a good question and there are a lot of opinions out there on the topic.
What does Suboxone taper mean?
When your doctor gives you a plan to reduce the dose of a medication over time, this is known as tapering. So, to taper off of suboxone usually means to take a smaller dose each day and then stop. Many detox programs will do the tapering within one to two weeks. They may use subutex as an alternative in tapering.
What is the reason for only using Suboxone treatment for such a short time?
If Suboxone helps to keep people clean, why only use it for such a short time? Suboxone works very well to keep people clean from opioids, however, there is a catch. Suboxone is also a form of an opioid. Therefore, if you take Suboxone long enough, it may also be hard to quit. If you do a short Suboxone taper, you can be done with it before your body becomes too dependent.
Why, then, would it be a good idea to stay on Suboxone longer?
While tapering sounds great, there is a serious drawback. Opiates such as heroin are very physically and psychologically addicting. If you do a Suboxone taper, you may be happy that you have finished with medical treatment in such a short time. However, the risk of relapse is high. Cravings start to come back and triggers for relapse are everywhere.
The evidence shows that Suboxone maintenance works better
Suboxone maintenance is proven to be the better, safer option. Researchers continue to study various options and Suboxone tapering has a far lower rate of success. By staying on a stable dose of Suboxone for at least several months to a year, you have time to work on yourself. You can work with your therapist and attend group sessions. You will have time to distance yourself from those dangerous drugs that threatened your life. Maintenance gives you time to heal. As described by SAMHSA, it is the proper way to treat opioid and opiate dependence and addiction.
When you follow the directions, you are clean
There are spiritual fellowships that help people to get clean from drugs that have opinions on Suboxone maintenance. While these groups do not get involved in any other form of medical therapy, when it comes to Suboxone, they feel they have a right to make medical decisions on your behalf. However, this is very dangerous, when unlicensed individuals or organizations make medical decisions for people who being treated by a doctor for a medical condition.
Talk to your doctor
Do not let people on the street tell you that you are not clean because you take medication. If you are prescribed medication for a medical condition and you take it as directed, you are clean. You don’t have to prove or explain that to anyone. Talk to your doctor. Don’t quit your treatment because street “experts” think you should. They are welcome to an opinion but not to practicing medicine on the streets without a license.
In conclusion, it is clear that maintenance is best. You need time to heal. The risks of relapse and going back to deadly opioids are far to dangerous. Suboxone maintenance may save your life.