Suboxone is the brand name for a prescription medication used in treating those addicted to opioids, illegal or prescription. It contains the ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, blocks the opiate receptors and reduces a person’s urges. The second ingredient, naloxone, helps reverse the effects of opioids. Together, these drugs work to prevent withdrawal symptoms associated with an opioid addiction.
Suboxone has become the preferred treatment medication for opioid addiction. It is now used more than methadone, which can be habit-forming.
Unlike other opioid replacement medications that require a prescription from a specialized treatment center, Suboxone can be prescribed by your doctor. Many people use Suboxone at the start of treatment, as well as in continuing treatment and recovery. Your doctor or addiction counselor can help you come up with a personalized treatment plan.
While Suboxone can help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal that come from quitting opioids, it’s important to find a comprehensive treatment program. Counseling and therapy can help you target your underlying reason for opioid use, and find new ways to cope with pain and stress. Call a rehab professional to find an addiction treatment center near you.
Your doctor may prescribe Suboxone for dependence on short-acting opioids including heroin and prescription painkillers. Suboxone is typically not recommended for long-acting opioids. Instead, many people use a buprenorphine-only medication.
The first phase of Suboxone use is the withdrawal phase, where symptoms are most uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. Suboxone helps alleviate and potentially eliminate opioid withdrawal symptoms. Under the supervision of your doctor, you will move from the withdrawal phase to the maintenance phase. Once treatment has been completed, your doctor may begin reducing your doses until you no longer need the medication.
“When taken properly, individuals on Suboxone will have no cravings, have no withdrawal, and will feel ‘normal’…that’s why it’s so effective.”- Dr. Adam Bisaga, professor of psychiatry at CUMC and researcher at New York State Psychiatric Institute
Suboxone can be used during different stages of treatment and offers a long-term solution for managing an opioid addiction. When included as part of a comprehensive recovery plan, the medication eliminates opioid cravings altogether.
Since Suboxone is a depressant, it slows you down rather than speeding you up like a stimulant. Those who take the medication may experience:
Follow-up appointments with your prescribing physician is important in ensuring a successful recovery while on Suboxone.
Only a doctor can write scripts for Suboxone. Be sure to follow your doctor’s specific directions during each dose. Medication can be administered through the Suboxone Film or a tablet form.
If you’re using the Suboxone Film, you will need to place it under your tongue in order for it to deliver the right amount of medicine. While the film is dissolving, it’s important to remember:
As time moves on, your doctor may change the dose to help wean you off medications altogether.
Get the best results with Suboxone by using it as part of a comprehensive recovery program.