Generic Suboxone

Suboxone is the high-dosage form of Buprenorphine paired with Naloxone, a drug that counteracts opioids’ risk of addiction. Opioid doctors prescribe Suboxone to treat opioid addiction, as the medication is one part of medically-assisted treatment (MAT).

Suboxone’s History

Buprenorphine hydrochloride was produced in the 1980s by the manufacturer Reckitt and Colman, first in low doses as painkillers. They later discovered a high-dose formulation which combined buprenorphine with naloxone, this time named Suboxone. In 2002, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Suboxone (along with Subutex) as a treatment for opioid addiction, and since then, it has primarily been primarily used for that purpose.

Suboxone proved to be more effective for opioid addiction treatment, when compared to other opioid treatments like methadone. But many consumers disliked its high cost, since only one manufacturer (Reckitt Benckiser) held its exclusive distribution. In 2009, the rights expired. In an attempt to fight for the rights, Reckitt appealed to FDA and said that allowing other companies to produce Suboxone for pain would place risks on children, as they could easily get hold of the drugs and swallow them. Reckitt volunteered to stop selling the pills and then created the sublingual film, assuring the FDA that this new form was safer. Their fight for exclusive production of Suboxone revolved around one fact: sales. Reckitt himself stated that allowing other companies to sell generics would’ve cost the company up to 80% of its income from Suboxone.

Either way, this fight paved way for new manufacturers to produce the generic version of the drug. In the first quarter of 2013, Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Actavis Pharma consecutively secured approval from the FDA to produce Suboxone. Although Reckitt Benckiser alone has the rights to manufacture the sublingual film strip until the year 2022, consumers may now access the cheaper medications sold by these two other pharmaceutical companies.

Suboxone’s Formulations

Due to its fast metabolic absorption, Suboxone cannot be taken orally and is only available in these forms:

  • 2 mg and 8 mg Sublingual Pills
  • 2 mg and 8 mg Sublingual Films
  • 8 mg IM injection Solution

How Suboxone Works

Suboxone works by the following pharmacologic action:

  1. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist, meaning that it mimics some of the pain relief of stronger opioids. However, it tricks your brain into thinking that its cravings have been fully satisfied. The “partial” action supplies the receptors with opioids without eliciting unwanted, dangerous effects (like euphoria and respiratory depression). It also sticks long with the brain receptors until such a time that a “ceiling effect” is formed with the continued use. No matter how many pills or films the patient will take, he/she will not be euphoric and therefore will not develop an addiction.
  2. Naloxone, on the other hand, blocks the effects of opioids that relieve pain and produce euphoria. This way, naloxone also prevents craving for more of the drug. As a result, if the patient attempts to get high on the drug, crushing it or injecting it rapidly will produce uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Suboxone Precautions

The patient has to follow his/her doctor’s instructions in taking Suboxone exactly. Thirty minutes before taking a dosage, eating, drinking, or smoking isn’t allowed (these things may hinder the drug’s action). In using the sublingual film, the patient may take a small amount of water just to facilitate absorption. The use of injectable solutions is highly discouraged, as the rapid action of naloxone will knock down or “loosen” opioids in the brain, causing adverse withdrawal symptoms. Also, taking another drug as well as Suboxone medication might cause them to y to  interact negatively (so the patient should consult his/her doctor).

Suboxone’s Side Effects

Individuals taking Suboxone may experience:

  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of sensation
  • Redness in the mouth

More serious drug reactions include allergic reactions like closing of the throat, hives, difficulty and/or slowness in breathing, and swelling. Others may experience symptoms associated with liver problems like light-colored stools, dark-colored urine, and jaundice.

The “lock” of the opioid addiction problem has been unlocked by the “key” found in the family of the selfsame drug, thanks to careful science and inventive medical care from opioid doctors. If you wish to know more about Suboxone, feel free to visit Buprenorphine Doctors, where you can learn more about Suboxone, opioid addiction, and opioid recovery resources. And if you need help in your addiction recovery, we have opioid treatment clinics and opioid doctors waiting to get you on the road to your opioid addiction recovery.

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