Butorphanol Detox

Almost 2 million Americans are dependent on opioids such as butorphanol. An opioid-dependent person suffers uncomfortable and protracted withdrawal symptoms when he stops using butorphanol, as his body struggles to recover from a drastic drop in opioid levels. Doctors refer to this as detoxification.

Without medical intervention, butorphanol detoxification occurs by itself. Withdrawal symptoms begin a few hours after the last dose of butorphanol and continue for several days. These symptoms eventually fade and do not return unless the individual once again becomes dependent on opioids. Overpowering and persistent withdrawal symptoms prevent many people from discontinuing butorphanol when they no longer need it to control pain; these patients are at high risk for relapse.

Detoxification can also refer to the medical procedure doctors use to help opioid-dependent people overcome withdrawal symptoms. Physicians use a variety of medications to modify the detoxification experience to make withdrawal easier to withstand; this medical-assisted detoxification improves the patient’s chances of completing the detoxification process and entering into a rehabilitation program that reduces the risk for relapse.

Medical-assisted detoxification also:

  • Helps patients remain in rehabilitation
  • Promotes abstinence or reduces drug use
  • Reduces the severity and frequency of drug use episodes
  • Improves cognitive functioning as well as his social and psychological well-being
  • Reduces relapse to butorphanol use

Types of Detox

There are several ways to detoxify a body physically dependent on butorphanol, including self-detoxification, drug replacement therapy, medical assisted detoxification and rapid detox. All are viable choices, each with its own benefits and risks. The treatment choice depends largely on the patient’s needs.

In 2010, more than 23 million Americans needed treatment for drug and alcohol problems; about 6 percent of these individuals needed help for opioid problems. Of all those who needed help, only about 2 percent got it in a specialty facility; the rest went to a general hospital or psychiatric unit without trained staff.

Self Detox

Countless individuals attempt butorphanol detoxification alone, without medical help. Doctors refer to this as self-detoxification.

Cold turkey

A person who quits “cold turkey” stops using butorphanol abruptly, hoping for enough self-discipline to outlast withdrawal symptoms. Cold turkey refers to the skin’s appearance during self-detoxification: cold, pale and clammy with goose bumps, resembling a frozen turkey.

Natural remedies

Some people try acupuncture, meditation, yoga or massage to ease the butorphanol detoxification process while others use a nutritional approach, consuming only certain herbs, vegetables, fruits, soups and juices to control symptoms and bolster the body’s endurance. Ginger and peppermint relieve nausea, for example, while chamomile and cayenne curb diarrhea.

Many people create homemade treatment plans designed to ease withdrawal symptoms in hopes of improving the outcome of self-detoxification. One such remedy is The Thomas Recipe, which calls for a benzodiazepine such as Valium, Librium, Ativan or Xanax to relieve anxiety and insomnia. The Thomas Recipes also includes Imodium for diarrhea, L-Tyrosine for malaise, Vitamin B6 and supplements along with hot baths to ease muscle aches and restless leg syndrome.

Medical Detox

To address the growing numbers of people who need help with butorphanol detoxification, many hospitals and local healthcare institutions offer medical detoxification services. Patients may choose between outpatient and inpatient care, depending on personal needs. Both inpatient and outpatient programs typically include medications that reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms or prevent these symptoms from occurring along with psychotherapy that teaches the patient how to identify and avoid situations that may lead to relapse.

Outpatient Butorphanol Detoxification

Outpatient detoxification is appropriate for people who have been dependent on butorphanol for more than a year and who require little supervision. Outpatient detoxification is for those who need to work or take care of family responsibilities while they learn how to live butorphanol-free. As with other types of care, healthcare providers take a comprehensive approach including medicines and psychotherapy including behavior modification.

Outpatient care programs often incorporate Drug Replacement Therapy, or DRT. The drugs used in DRT mimic the effects of butorphanol in a way that prevents detoxification and withdrawal. Methadone is the most famous example of DRT drugs, but many physicians now prescribe buprenorphine products, such as Suboxone and Subutex to delay the onset of detoxification. Many of these drugs are opioids but produce weak euphoric effect as compared to butorphanol and other opioids.

DRT allows the patient to engage in rehabilitation before addressing detoxification and withdrawal. Once the patient gains the tools he needs to avoid relapse, he weans himself from the DRT drug by taking successively smaller doses further apart.


About 100,000 Americans use methadone as part of a maintenance program. These patients come to an outpatient clinic for a drink containing methadone. The effects of one dose of methadone last for 24 to 36 hours. Some methadone clinics offer services including vocational and educational aid, referrals to other services, along with support for family members and treatment for co-existing substance abuse problems.


Many patients choose buprenorphine treatments, now available for home use with a prescription from a specially licensed physician. Patients usually take buprenorphine three times a week. The patient places buprenorphine under the tongue where it dissolves quickly. Outpatient care providers will monitor the patient closely, as some people abuse buprenorphine by dissolving and injecting it.

Suboxone and Subutex

Suboxone and Subutex are brand name preparations of buprenorphine that also contain naloxone, sometimes referred to as Narcan, that reduce the risk for buprenorphine abuse. When injected, naloxone interferes with the action of buprenorphine and causes withdrawal symptoms. In contrast, naloxone has little effect when taken as directed by dissolving under the tongue.

Many patients admit themselves to a hospital for inpatient butorphanol detoxification. Inpatient treatment allows the individual to address detoxification and withdrawal before engaging in rehabilitation. The benefits of inpatient care are that it reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms and does not prolong opioid dependence.

Inpatient butorphanol detoxification is appropriate for a wide variety of individuals, including those who have suffered an overdose and cannot receive treatment safely in an outpatient setting and for patients at high risk for severe withdrawal symptoms or complications. Inpatient care is best for those that have co-existing conditions that make self-detoxification and outpatient detoxification unsafe. This type of care is also appropriate for those with a documented history of not engaging in or benefiting from less restrictive programs, like DRT and self-detoxification. Those with psychiatric problems, including depression with suicidal thoughts or acute psychosis should seek inpatient care for butorphanol detoxification, as should those that exhibit behaviors that may cause a danger to themselves or to others.

During inpatient butorphanol detoxification, physicians administer multiple non-opioid medications to ease the variety of symptoms commonly associated with butorphanol withdrawal. Physicians may order one drug to calm anxiety, another to soothe nausea, one to curb diarrhea and a handful of other medications to deal with other uncomfortable symptoms.

Rapid Opiate Detox

Rapid opiate detox is appropriate for those who cannot tolerate the severity of withdrawal symptoms associated with self-detoxification or the lengthy procedure offered by inpatient institutions. Rapid opiate detox is a safe and effective procedure that rids the body of butorphanol while the patient rests in a comfortable “twilight sleep.”

During rapid opiate detox, anesthesiologists sedate and anesthetize the patient before administering the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs. The patient remains in the twilight sleep for one to two hours, unaware of the difficult and uncomfortable detoxification process. The rapid detox patient awakens feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Our detox center: Who we are and what we do

We are a full-accredited hospital, staffed by board-certified anesthesiologists. We take a humane approach to detoxification. Our staff takes an all-encompassing approach to fulfilling the patient’s needs, from careful prescreening in an accredited facility to follow-up in an after-care facility.

Butorphanol Detox Comparisons

Our treatment center offers complete detoxification, not merely replacement therapy. Our highly trained staff treats patients as people, not as drug addicts. Dependence on butorphanol is a complex medication condition that requires an equally complex approach. Our physicians are compassionate and do not condone patient suffering as a form of punishment; our treatment plans are comprehensive and designed to meet the patient’s individual needs.

We accept patients into an accredited, full-service hospital for assessment and treatment before discharging patients to our special after-care center. Nurses and doctors screen patients carefully for pre-existing conditions and special needs that may complicate butorphanol detoxification. Specially trained and board-certified anesthesiologists administer proven medications to manage withdrawal symptoms. After detoxification and stabilization, patients are ready to move to our after-care facilities for monitoring and follow-up care.

Our methods are safe, proven over more than a decade. Our rapid detox procedure helps thousands of people overcome the withdrawal symptoms that hold them in the grips of butorphanol dependence.

Butorphanol Detox Possible Complications

Anyone who attempts butorphanol detoxification can suffer complications. Pre-existing medical conditions, severe and prolonged withdrawal symptoms, personal tolerance levels and chronic butorphanol dependence increase the risk for complications in patients undergoing any form of butorphanol detoxification.

Relapse is one of the major complications to outpatient butorphanol detoxification; even with professional treatment, relapse rates for drug addiction are 40 to 60 percent.

Self Detox Possible Complications

Many people try butorphanol detoxification at home, without the help of modern medicine, thinking detoxification is as simple as having enough willpower. While going cold turkey works for some people, self-detoxification is risky. Without a treatment plan and medications, the individual will suffer uncontrolled withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms could worsen undetected pre-existing health conditions associated with drug abuse.

The patient may suffer from complications resulting from symptoms. Severe and prolonged vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration and imbalances of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. The patient may vomit and inhale stomach contents, a condition known as aspiration. Aspiration may result in fluid in the lungs and lung infections.

A patient who suffers severe withdrawal symptoms without the help and guidance of a trained professional faces an increased risk for relapse back to butorphanol abuse. Relapse may lead to toxic overdose, as detoxification lowers the body’s tolerance to opioids and makes the patient more sensitive to the effects of butorphanol. It is possible for a relapse victim to overdose on a smaller dose than he used to take before experiencing even moderate withdrawal symptoms.

Outpatient Detox Possible Complications

Medications and professional care make outpatient butorphanol detoxification vastly superior to self-detoxification, but outpatients still face a risk for complications. Methadone and buprenorphine each produce unique complications.

Some recreational users dissolve and inject buprenorphine to get high. Drug manufacturers add naloxone to reduce the risk for this complication.

Many DRT patients have trouble quitting the replacement drug. Harvard Medical School Publications estimate 25 percent of methadone users eventually abstain from drug abuse, another 25 percent continue to take the drug while 50 percent go on and off methadone forever.

Methadone is not completely safe and is associated with a rising number of overdose deaths. Prescription painkiller overdose kill more than 15,500 people every year in the United States, and nearly one-third of those overdoses included methadone.

Inpatient Detox Possible Complications

Inpatient care provides a more complete and structured care than outpatient or self-detoxification methods but inpatient detoxification can still result in dangerous complications. Many individuals who seek inpatient care are dependent on butorphanol and another substance such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs; withdrawal from multiple substances presents a complex medical challenge requiring the attention of a well-qualified physician and hospital staff.

Even with inpatient care, patients may become dependent on the drugs used for treatment. These patients may also suffer complications such as dehydration and aspiration; nurses will monitor patients for signs of these complications.

Rapid Detox Possible Complications

Despite being the most efficient and humane approach to butorphanol detoxification, some patients may experience complications after rapid detox. Rarely, a patient will have an allergic reaction to the medications used during the rapid detox procedure. Anesthesia and sedatives are each associated with complications. Anesthesia injections can cause infection, bruising or swelling at the injection site. At high doses, sedatives can cause problems with breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.

Careful administration and close patient monitoring reduces the risk for complications during rapid detox. Our highly trained, professional staff adheres to the highest standards in patient care to reduce this risk even further.

Butorphanol Detox Myths

Despite the wealth of information scientists have about butorphanol detoxification, there are still plenty of butorphanol detox myths to go around. While many of these myths are harmless, some are quite dangerous or prevent people from seeking proper medical care.

Self Detox Myths

Myth: It is safe to do a butorphanol detox at home.
Fact: Self-detoxification can lead to dehydration, aspiration, relapse and death from overdose.

Myth: Home remedies like The Thomas Recipe are safe and effective.
Fact: Home remedies lack the effective drugs and scientific knowledge available to professional detoxification specialists. Patients attempting The Thomas Recipe not only face dehydration, aspiration, relapse and toxic overdose but may also experience complications resulting from the drugs used in home remedies.

Outpatient Detox Myths

Myth: DRT drugs get the patient in an opioid-free state quickly.
Fact: Outpatient care usually includes opioid medications to manage the symptoms dependence; the DRT patient is still opioid-dependent and must someday attempt detoxification.

Myth: Outpatient care for butorphanol detox is as safe and effective as inpatient care.
Fact: Methadone is associated with a large number of overdose deaths in recent years. Furthermore, outpatient programs do not supervise patients as closely as inpatient programs do, increasing the risk the outpatient will relapse or take DRT drugs improperly.

Inpatient Detox Myths

Myth: The only option to outpatient or self-detox is a costly hospital stay that lasts weeks or months.
Fact: Rapid detox offers patients a more efficient solution. Rapid detox patients spend just a few days in treatment before moving on to an after-care facility.

Myth: Butorphanol detoxification is too difficult because overpowering withdrawal symptoms prevent most patients from ever completing detoxification.
Fact: Inpatient care programs usually involve medications to ease withdrawal symptoms.

Rapid Detox Myths

Myth: Detox always involves suffering.
Fact: Rapid detox is a humane approach to butorphanol detoxification. Rapid detox patients enjoy a pleasant twilight sleep instead of enduring endless days of detoxification.

Myth: Butorphanol detoxification takes eight or more hours.
Fact: It takes a reputable expert one to two hours to perform rapid detox.

Butorphanol Detox and Pregnancy

Dependence on butorphanol or other opioids puts pregnant women and their unborn babies at special risk for complications and side effects. Long-term opioid use affects a woman’s health, making her more vulnerable to complications during pregnancy. Opioid dependence often forces people to live unhealthy lifestyles that can compromise the health of a pregnant woman and her baby. For example, an opioid-dependent woman might have to choose between purchasing a nutritious meal and buying more butorphanol to ward off withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid-dependent women face an increased risk for anemia, infections in the bloodstream, swelling, heart problems, depression and other mental disorders. These women are at higher risk for developing gestational diabetes, which is a condition marked by episodes of high and low blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Women dependent on butorphanol or other opioids have a higher incidence of hepatitis, high blood pressure, fast heartbeat, pneumonia, poor dental hygiene, urinary tract infections and other urinary problems. Opioid dependence increases the risk for contracting or spreading infectious diseases such as sexually transmitted diseases, herpes, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.

Women who are dependent on opioids may suffer complications during pregnancy, including inflammation of the membrane surrounding the baby, separation of the tissue between the placenta and uterine wall, hemorrhage, slow growth of the fetus, premature labor and delivery, spontaneous abortion and death of the fetus. Methadone reduces these complications.

Babies born to mothers who use butorphanol regularly during pregnancy are born dependent on opioids and suffer neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, after birth. A baby born with NAS suffers withdrawal symptoms during the first weeks or months of life. NAS babies also suffer from low birth weight, seizures, breathing problems, feeding difficulties and death.

Self Detox and Pregnancy

Self-detoxification is extremely risky for pregnant women. Opioid dependence increases the risk for serious complications in pregnant women that can have fatal consequences to the mother or child. Pregnant women should never attempt self-detoxification.

Outpatient and Pregnancy

Methadone maintenance is currently the only approved treatment plan for pregnant women dependent on butorphanol or other opioids. An opioid-dependent woman not already taking methadone when she becomes pregnant should begin methadone treatments in an inpatient setting where a doctor can properly evaluate and monitor her condition, and hospital staff can monitor fetal movement at regular intervals. This woman should expect her inpatient initiation to methadone treatments to last three days.

A pregnant woman may choose to start methadone treatments as an outpatient. Her outpatient clinic will likely start her on 10 mg to 20 mg of methadone each morning and ask her to return each evening for evaluation. Her next morning dose will depend on how well she tolerated methadone the day before. Her doctor may increase her dosage 5 - 10 mg, depending on her needs and response to treatment. The physician will continue to increase dosages until the patient’s condition is stabilized, usually within 48 to 72 hours of the first dose of methadone. Pregnant women who start methadone treatments as outpatients should seek outside testing for fetal movement.

Women using methadone to maintain opioid dependence may suffer withdrawal symptoms late in pregnancy and require larger doses of methadone.

Inpatient Care and Pregnancy

Medical scientists recommend pregnant women participate in drug replacement therapy using methadone as part of a drug maintenance program rather than attempt detoxification.

Opiate detox symptoms

Butorphanol withdrawal symptoms often occur in two phases, with the first set of symptoms appearing a few hours after the last dose of butorphanol. Initially, the opioid-dependent person feels agitated and anxious; he may experience muscle aches, watery eyes, insomnia, runny nose, sweating and yawning. Later, he may suffer stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. He may have wide pupils and goose bumps.

What is the best method to detox from Butorphanol? Choosing the best method for butorphanol detoxification depends largely on the individual’s personal needs. The patient should opt for the least restrictive setting that is still likely to be safe and effective. The choice in treatment centers should reflect the patient’s ability to cooperate and benefit from type of treatment offered, his ability to refrain from substance abuse and avoid high-risk behaviors, and his need for structure and support.



  • Butorphanol Detox