Suboxone Treatment – How does is work?
Suboxone, also none as Subutex, is used in the treatment of opioid dependency. The Food and Drug Administration approved Buprenorphine (Suboxone and Naloxone) in October 2002 for the treatment of opioid dependency.
Medication Assisted Treatment
Suboxone falls into the category of Medication Assisted Treatment. For most people addicted to opiates quitting “cold turkey” is not an option due to the withdraw symptoms. Less than 25% of users who try to quit without additional help will relapse within a year. Often those individuals will find recovery with the help of medication to stop the withdraw. Suboxone will relieve cravings for opiates, and suppresses the withdraw symptoms. Other medication used to treat opioid addiction include, Naltrexone, Buprenorphine, and Methadone.
In addition to receiving medication, most patients benefit from additional counseling, and therapy during a treatment program. While the medication can relieve the withdrawal symptoms, a patient needs help to change their thinking, environment, and behavior that led to their addiction.
What is Suboxone
In each dose of Suboxone, there are two active medications. Buprenorphine and Naloxone. The Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist and Naloxone is an opioid blocker also known as an opioid antagonist. A partial opioid agonist is an opioid that produces a much lower effect than an opioid as it attaches to the opiate receptor in the brain. Opioid dependent people do not get a euphoric feeling or “high” when taking the Suboxone properly. Many opioid dependent patients receiving Suboxone report feeling “normal” while taking Suboxone.
The opioid antagonist, Naloxone, is added to Suboxone for one reason, to prevent patients from trying to get high from using the Suboxone in ways other than prescribed. If taken as prescribed the opioid antagonist barely enters the bloodstream and no effect is felt. However should a patient try to snort or inject the Suboxone, the opioid antagonist will basically kick start withdrawl symptoms as the Naloxone rapidly strips away the opiates from the opiate receptors in the brain.
Some signs and symptoms of Opiate withdraw include:
Nausea and vomiting
Mood Swings/ irritability
How is Suboxone Taken?
Suboxone is only taken once daily because it is long acting (24 hours or more). It is given in both pill (2mg or 8 mg) form or a film strip (2mg or 8mg) form. Both are dissolved under the patient’s tongue. The strip is rapidly becoming the preferred method of dispensing Suboxone. It dissolves faster and has less potential for abuse (the film cannot be crushed).
How to Help an Opioid Dependent Person
If you, or a family member is struggling with opioid dependency the first step is to reach out for help. There are many programs around the country that will help set up a treatment plan to help step you out of addiction and into recovery. You can search our directory of Suboxone doctors Here.
If you need additional information you can find Suboxone Doctors by State in the list below.