Suboxone is a combination of two medications, Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Suboxone is used to help adults with opiate dependence stop using opiates and is a man-made class CIII Narcotic. This means it comes with a high risk of addiction and dependence and is best meant as a short-term treatment, in conjunction with psychosocial and emotional support therapies.
How Suboxone Works
You can take Suboxone three ways: sublingual, buccal, and transdermal. Each of these has its own dosage recommendations.
This combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone works by binding to and then blocking the opiate receptors in the brain. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, this means that it binds to the opiate receptors, producing a similar effect as an opiate, without the feeling of euphoria, when taken as prescribed. Naloxone is an opiate blocker. It blocks the receptors so that a high cannot be achieved. When taken as prescribed, along with therapy, this medication can help treat opioid dependence.
Suboxone has been shown to be an effective treatment option. When individuals in a study conducted by Richard D. Blondell, MD, and colleagues were enrolled in either an opioid discontinuation program or an opioid replacement program, use of buprenorphine in the replacement program predicted better adherence to the treatment protocol.
Overall, the benefits of Suboxone are:
- Lower potential for abuse
- Greater accessibility
- High success rate in the treatment of opiate dependence
The buprenorphine in Suboxone has both major and minor side effects.
Common minor side effects include:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Fever or chills
- Back pain
- Painful urination
Major side effects of buprenorphine include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Drowsiness and unusual fatigue
- Blurred vision
Can Suboxone Be Abused?
The short of it, unfortunately, is – yes. Suboxone is classified as a CIII narcotic and can be abused if not taken explicitly as prescribed by your doctor. Suboxone is a very highly regulated drug, and there are things in place to attempt to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, nothing is failsafe, and Suboxone is commonly abused.
As with any medication taken for a prolonged period of time, taking Suboxone for longer than the recommended short-term treatment time, causes the body and brain to become dependent on the drug. If stopped abruptly, opiate withdrawal will begin almost immediately. Typically, suffering from these withdrawal symptoms can worsen underlying issues such as anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Often, Suboxone withdrawal can be overwhelming, which can send those suffering back into a tailspin of Suboxone use, often abusing it and creating dependency. It is best to speak with the prescribing physician about any dosage changes you would like to make before making them.
Suboxone, if used correctly, can be a very efficient way to assist opiate dependent adults to wean off, and eventually stop opiate use altogether. This is medication is a regulated class CIII narcotic, and because of this, there is an increased risk of dependence and misuse. Suboxone is a temporary, short-term treatment for opioid dependence and as such, works well for many people. If you or someone you know is struggling with Suboxone addiction, call Sober Nation today at: 866-651-7889
3 responses to “Suboxone: What You Need To Know”
As a family member of one who suffers sud and as a community pharmacist, I feel as if I’m in a unique position to comment on Suboxone. Yes, it has it’s place in treatment but many patients are being prescribed this mat medication without proper counseling and follow up by their providers. It is as if our nation is at a loss on how to combat this national devastation. I love someone who suffers but I thank God for the 12 step program that my loved one chooses to follow. However I see the hope that emerges when a family or friend of a sufferer gains when Suboxone comes into play. I don’t think that we as a country have enough trained and educated providers to manage correctly the thousands of people who start a.new prescription for Suboxone for the first time. How do I know? Because I practice pharmacy in a somewhat rural area without adequate resources to counsel and follow up patients. We only have a state contracted facility that is not managing folks as intended. It’s as if the Suboxone “band-aid” is enough. Well Im here say that it is not. My heart breaks when patients can’t afford their strips and have no insurance or prescription payment assistance. They get very little counseling or follow-up. We have substituted one dependence for another. As a nation, we can and must do better. No one should suffer as these people do, it is criminal and despicable. There are alternatives. We are a nation awash in Suboxone and sadness. My thoughts. Finally just know that I truly care and love these beautiful suffering Americans. Let’s do better for us all because we can and should.
I was given suboxone when I went into inpatient and outpatient therapy. Though I wanted to quit my biggest problem was withdrawal and living by myself. It worked so well for me and I haven’t picked up since. That was 4 yrs ago. Never want to be in that situation again. When I left rehab I continued with therapy. I never had a script outside of rehab. I think it is crazy for doctors to prescribe it on an ongoing basis. That is not what it is for.
Catherine Chitty Thank you for your educated perspective… I wish the conversation would gain traction with the mainstream media…but it won’t until the reality of the failed “Suboxone” bandaid is evident. I believe the saddest part about recovery is that the most effective “treatment” for long term success is free and unregulated…any kind of 12 Step, peer to peer, support groups, sponsorship, etc. I’m not against medicated assistance to get past the withdrawals if they eventually get tappered off and not exchanged…but that said, the “therapy” that’s supposed to go with the medication appears to be minimal and ineffective…in my opinion. Eventually, the lack of successful results will prove that once again, it’s all about the money… How sad…