Can You Take Kratom and Suboxone at the Same Time?
Opioid addiction is an increasingly concerning problem in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids were responsible for 80,411 overdose deaths in 2021.
While addiction treatment programs can help individuals detox safely, many people are hesitant to go to rehab, and they try to detox themselves using at-home remedies. One of the substances people have been using to attempt to cope with opioid withdrawal is an herbal substance known as kratom. While kratom can relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms, it is not FDA-approved and can be addictive.
Instead of using kratom, addiction treatment experts recommend an FDA-approved medication known as Suboxone. This medication partially binds to opioid receptors to relieve withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings while ensuring you do not experience a high.
Since kratom has been rumored to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms, people might be tempted to use it in combination with Suboxone. Unfortunately, doing so could cause precipitated withdrawal, making this combination painful and even dangerous.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is an FDA-approved medication used to treat opioid use disorder. This medication includes two substances: buprenorphine and naloxone. While buprenorphine binds to opioid receptors to relieve withdrawal and cravings, naloxone prevents other opioids from causing a high.
In other words, Suboxone treats opioid withdrawal in two ways, by preventing withdrawal symptoms and cravings while ensuring the patient cannot relapse. However, this means taking any substance that affects opioid receptors in the brain can lead to a condition known as precipitated withdrawal.
Precipitated withdrawal is a rapid and intense onset of withdrawal symptoms that can occur when a substance that counteracts the effects of another substance is introduced. This phenomenon is commonly associated with medications used to treat opioid dependence. Precipitated withdrawal can be more severe and dangerous than typical opioid withdrawal.
As a result, people taking Suboxone should avoid abusing any opioid substance, including kratom, while they are on the medication.
What is Kratom?
Kratom is an herbal substance that is native to Southeast Asia. Different strains of kratom can cause varying effects, as some people report feeling as if they are on a stimulant and others experience effects similar to opioids.
In the United States, kratom has become popular as an alternative method of treating opioid use disorder among individuals who are not attending professional treatment. This is because Kratom acts on opioid receptors in the brain, allowing it to lessen symptoms of opioid withdrawal. It is important to note that this use is not approved by the FDA or any medical institution.
Despite the reasons people abuse kratom, the substance can lead to addiction. Additionally, mixing it with other drugs can lead to a wide variety of complications.
Can You Mix Kratom and Suboxone?
Because kratom acts on opioid receptors in the brain, it should never be mixed with Suboxone. Compared to kratom, buprenorphine has a higher binding affinity for opioid receptors, meaning it can potentially displace other opioids or substances that also bind to these receptors, like Kratom. If someone were to consume kratom while on Suboxone, this would lead to precipitated withdrawal. This sudden onset of withdrawal symptoms can be intense and uncomfortable, similar to the experience of rapidly quitting opioids.
The symptoms of precipitated withdrawal may include:
- Muscle aches and pain
- Excessive sweating
- Dilated pupils
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
Precipitated withdrawal comes on suddenly and can cause symptoms such as high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat, so you should never combine Suboxone and kratom.
What Should You Do if Kratom Causes Precipitated Withdrawal?
Without professional intervention, precipitated withdrawal can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. The exact timeline of this phenomenon depends on a variety of personal factors, such as your metabolism, history of opioid use, and general health. However, the symptoms can become severe, making it vital that you seek professional help immediately.
If you experience precipitated withdrawal from taking kratom and Suboxone at the same time, you should stop all use of kratom while contacting the doctor who is prescribing you Suboxone. They can give you a dose of buprenorphine that will relieve your symptoms.
If you are addicted to kratom, you must disclose this information to your medical provider. They can help you get into a treatment program that will provide you with the tools you need to overcome your addiction.
Find Help for Kratom Abuse and Addiction
If you or a loved one suffers from kratom addiction, it’s time to seek professional help. Whether you have been using kratom to treat opioid withdrawal or to simply experience a high, addiction treatment programs can offer you the tools and support you need to regain control over your life.
To learn more about how to find treatment for kratom abuse and addiction, contact New Jersey Interventions today.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Drug Overdose Death Rates, Retrieved January 2024 From https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Kratom, Retrieved January 2024 From https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/kratom
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Suboxone Label, Retrieved January 2024 From https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2021/022410s042lbl.pdf
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Operational definition of precipitated opioid withdrawal, Retrieved January 2024 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10162012/
Medically Reviewed: January 10, 2024
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.