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Is Suboxone A Good Treatment for Opiate Addiction?

Suboxone treatment works to help reverse the negative effects of short-acting opioids like prescription painkillers. 

What is Suboxone?

It's crucial to take into account all of the options available to you when attempting to aid a loved one in recovering from the harm opiate addiction has created. It is generally true that adding Suboxone treatment to someone's treatment regimen considerably increases the likelihood of making a long-lasting recovery.

Suboxone, also known as buprenorphine, is the first oral medicine allowed for use by doctors in the United States for patients who have a substance abuse disorder with opioid drugs such as heroin, prescription painkillers, or methadone. This substance is an effective therapy for opioid addiction that does not require daily or weekly medical appointments.

How Does Suboxone Work?

Suboxone functions as an opioid antagonist, meaning that it works to block opioid receptors without activating them to cause a “high.” Blocking opioid receptors stops the brain from producing signals that contribute to withdrawal symptoms, while also helping the brain to reduce the desire for opioids. When opioid receptors are obstructed, drugs like heroin or addictive pain drugs fail to deliver the expected "high" that the body has become accustomed to.  

Is Suboxone Treatment Good for Opiate Addiction?

Although Suboxone's components have euphoria-like side effects, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, they are significantly less intense than those brought on by opiates like heroin.1

Is Suboxone Treatment Effective?

The FDA approved buprenorphine, the main ingredient in Suboxone, for clinical use in 2002. The availability of Suboxone treatment as opposed to methadone therapy in non-specialized settings meant that a greater number of people could obtain the help the drug provided.

One study found that even when Suboxone was administered even in unsupervised settings, it was well tolerated and promoted the cessation of opiate use.2 Another investigation published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine found that the vast majority of patients were also able to stop using opioids while taking Suboxone.3

How Does Suboxone Help Addiction Treatment?

Suboxone can be administered at different phases of therapy and offers a long-term option for controlling opioid usage. When incorporated as part of a complete treatment program, the treatment reduces opioid cravings completely. As a depressive, Suboxone acts as a calming agent rather than a stimulant. People who use the prescription may experience the following:

  • A reduction in discomfort or pain
  • Relaxation
  • Calmness and general well-being
  • Decreased stress levels

When using Suboxone for opioid addiction, it's critical to keep in touch with your prescribing doctor for regular checkups.

Suboxone Dosage

The dosage of Suboxone treatment for drug addiction will vary depending on a number of factors. Among them are:

  • the specific kind and degree of opioid dependence that a person has
  • the stage of treatment that they are in
  • any other health difficulties that they may be experiencing

Prescription Suboxone

In general, the doctor will begin the patient on a lower dose and gradually increase it to the optimal level. This is so that they don’t end up overprescribing any amount of the drug. 

The following is a list of dosages that are often administered or suggested. Nevertheless, be sure to take the dosage medically prescribed, even if it varies from this list. Your physician will determine the best dose for your requirements.

Drug Types and Strengths

One of the few ways to get Suboxone is by an oral film, which is placed in the cheek or underneath the tongue (sublingual). It’s available in 4 strengths:4

  • 12 mg buprenorphine / 3 mg naloxone
  • 8 mg buprenorphine / 2 mg naloxone
  • 4 mg buprenorphine / 1 mg naloxone
  • 2 mg buprenorphine / 0.5 mg naloxone

There is also a generic version of Suboxone that is accessible, and it is available in various formats. These also include a film or tablet that is placed under the tongue.

Alternative Medications to Suboxone

Similar to other medications, Suboxone does run the risk of misuse and potential dependency. As such, there are other medications that are considered safer alternatives to Suboxone.

One such medication is Sublocade. Sublocade is a form of buprenorphine used to help people overcome opioid withdrawal. Sublocade is used on a monthly basis to continuously release buprenorphine into a person's system at a sustained level.

Vivitrol is a form of naltrexone and is also used to help people overcome opioid withdrawal symptoms. It reduces opioid cravings so an individual can get past the need to use opioids. Vivitrol injections can also be used to help a person overcome alcohol addiction.

Myths Concerning the Effectiveness of Suboxone Treatment in Opioid Dependence

Sadly, there are still some misconceptions about Suboxone drugs, both in the recovery community and in the general public, and these falsehoods provide an additional barrier of care for those who are struggling with opioid use disorder. These myths will be detailed below

Suboxone is Not Actually Effective in Recovery

It is essential to recognize that addiction is increasingly viewed as a medical condition with several treatment alternatives. Suboxone medication is seen as a workable option for chronic opioid addiction, just the way insulin is effective for diabetics. 

Suboxone users are frequently stigmatized by the notion that they are not truly in recovery if they use it, which does not reflect the medical reality of effective, time-tested addiction therapy.

Suboxone is Easily Misused

Suboxone and pain medications are not entirely safe. It is true that suboxone medication, like other opiates and a wide range of other drugs, can be abused. However, due to its inability to "fully activate" the opiate receptor, which is the most common receptor that gets activated in those who abuse drugs, it is less potent than the other opioids.

Overdosing on Suboxone Is Just As Easy As Other Drugs

Suboxone overdoses and addiction are quite hard to occur. This is because prescribed suboxone, unlike other opiates, is a partial receptor agonist.

When someone takes an overdose of Suboxone, it is almost often the case that they are also under the influence of other sedatives or benzodiazepines, both of which make it difficult for them to maintain regular breathing patterns.

Suboxone Doesn’t Work Without Counseling

Realistically, addiction treatment should involve medications as well as counseling, relapse prevention training and groups as well as financial aid for housing and work placement, all of which are essential components. However, this does not rule out the possibility of effective treatment for addiction if only one of the components is present

Suboxone Should Only Be Used For a Short Period

The fact that there is no data to backup suggestions that Suboxone programs should only be a brief intervention makes this myth void, as there is no one-size-fits-all answer for each patient.

Suboxone Treatment

Benefits of Suboxone in Addiction Treatment Medications

Buprenorphine may assist people with mild to severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings to overcome their opioid dependence. In fact, the World Health Organization classifies this substance as an "essential medication.”  

Advantages of Suboxone During Treatment

Suboxone use offers the following advantages in the treatment of addiction: 

  • Greater protection against overdosing
  • The danger of misuse is reduced
  • Dosing on alternate days may be possible due to the medication's long-acting effects

Suboxone Addiction: Side Effects to Watch Out For

Prescribed Suboxone, like any other medication, has certain side effects even when taken as directed. Unfortunately, those on a Suboxone program and other drugs that slow breathing, such as benzos, sedatives, or tranquilizers have a higher risk of dying from respiratory depression. Some of the less rare adverse effects of being on a Suboxone program include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Swelling of the legs and arms
  • Vomiting

If you're using orally dissolvable films, you may experience burning, numbness, and redness in your tongue and mouth as well.

Less Common Impacts of Suboxone

Side effects of Suboxone use that are less prevalent but still serious include: 

  • Low blood pressure
  • Impaired liver performance.
  • Adrenal alterations
  • Respiratory problems while asleep
  • Allergic responses

Get Suboxone Treatment at Soledad House

An overdose and other adverse health effects are possible if this drug is used in large doses. Fortunately, Suboxone treatments are still highly controlled. Suboxone pills, on the other hand, can be a successful therapy for opioid addiction for someone who attends a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program.

Get in touch with us at Soledad House right away to find out more information about our inpatient and outpatient suboxone detox services and find out how you may begin the first steps of your road to recovery as soon as possible.

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