What is Suboxone®? - Buprenorphine Doctors

What is Suboxone®?

Suboxone® is the first narcotic drug available for prescription from a doctor’s office for use in the treatment of opioid dependence under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 or DATA 2000.

The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is Buprenorphine, which itself is a partial opioid agonist. This means the the opioid effects and withdrawal symptoms from Buprenorphine are less than other full opioid agonists such as heroin, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and others.

Suboxone, taken as sublingual tablets or “under the tongue”, has been shown to help in suppressing opioid withdrawal symptoms, decrease illicit opioid cravings and use, and under the correct supervision can help with overcoming an opioid dependence. Suboxone comes in 2mg and 8mg sizes of sublingual tablet form.

Suboxone contains naloxone, which blocks the effects of medicines and drugs like methadone, morphine, and heroin. This is added to prevent people from injecting Suboxone and improper use of the medication. Injecting naloxone can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Suboxone is the most commonly prescribed medication and given to patients during the maintenance phase of treatment. Subutex is typically given during the first couple of treatment.

Because Suboxone has a lower potential for overdose and abuse, unlike methadone, Certified Doctors are able to prescribe take home supplies of Suboxone in certain circumstances.


Suboxone Treatment

The Food and Drug Administration approved Suboxone in October of 2002 for use in the treatment of opioid addiction. The generic name for Suboxone is buprenorphine and naloxone; it is a combined form of these two generic drugs.

Naloxone is used to block the effect of opioids. Buprenorphine is similar in make up as opioids (it works on the same receptors in the brain) but it does not produce a euphoric “high” effect. This makes it easier to stop taking. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist; it stimulates opioid receptors but does not produce the same effects as an opioid would.

This drug is most often taken sublingually (dissolved under the tongue). Taken properly it can reduce opioid use, help people stay in drug rehab treatment, and depress the symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

Suboxone must be prescribed by a certified doctor. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have lung, kidney, gallbladder, adrenal gland, thyroid, or prostate problems. Also, be sure to tell him if you have a history of a head injury, mental problems of any type, hallucinations or alcoholism. You may still be able to take Suboxone for your opioid addiction you just may require a dosage adjustment or extra monitoring. You should not under any circumstances take it if you are or think you may be pregnant. Do not take it if you are currently breastfeeding also.


Suboxone Side Effects

Suboxone can cause a dependency just like an opioid can. If you are not weaned off of it properly, (too quickly for example) you will experience the same withdrawal symptoms as you would from opioid withdrawal. There for do not suddenly stop taking it, speak to your doctor about how to gradually reduce the dose.

Suboxone can cause some serious side effects but they are very rare. If you notice any that you are experiencing dizziness, confusing, slowed breathing, allergic symptoms (itch, swelling of lips, tongue face or hives), or liver problem symptoms (yellowing of the skin/eyes, dark urine, light stools, nausea, stomach pain or decreased appetite) contact your doctor immediately.

Suboxone can cause some other mild side effects that are simpler to deal with such as headache, nausea, sweating, constipation or problems sleeping. Speak to your doctor if any of these become bothersome. He may recommend some over the counter medications to treat them.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Make sure you tell any medical professionals treating you for any reason you are on the drug and have a history of opioid dependence.

Some drugs may interact with Suboxone adversely. Be sure to speak to your doctor and/or pharmacist before taking any other drugs with your Suboxone.

Further information is available from your doctor and pharmacist. There is also a patient resource kit available from the manufacturer of the drug that contains educational material and more information about opioid dependence/addiction and treatment of it.

Suboxone is a registered trademark of and manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals.


Suboxone Rehab

Suboxone is a drug that is used for rehab treatment for individuals that are addicted to pain medication or opiates. Those wishing to use the Suboxone medication rehab plan will first need to make an appointment to be seen by the physician in the rehab center that uses this method. The individual will be checked for physical ailments that may prohibit them from using Suboxone as a treatment. If cleared by the physician the Suboxone rehab treatment will be started.

Many clinics and rehab centers using Suboxone require the individual to be near the clinic in the first two or three days of treatment to assure there are no unwanted side effects of beginning the medication. Many rehab clinics using Suboxone will offer the treatment from thirty days to several years. During this time the patient will very gradually have the dose of Suboxone lessened. This is done very gradually to allow the patient to adjust slowly. If withdrawal symptoms are present, other medications may be used to alleviate those symptoms.

Most clinics provide Suboxone on an outpatient basis as long as the patient keeps in touch with counselors and the physician on a regular basis. They normally provide counseling sessions as part of the rehabilitation treatment. The subject of relapse is addressed on a regular basis and the patient is prompted to call the clinic as soon as possible if relapse occurs.

Before beginning treatment with Suboxone the patient/client will be asked many questions not only about their physical health but also about all past drug addictions and emotional problems. It is very important that the patient be honest in order to receive the best care possible using Suboxone as a treatment for opiate addictions.

Some of the benefits of using Suboxone as a treatment for opiate addictions are that the patient will be able to continue working and retain privacy while being treated. In the beginning of the treatment daily visits with the doctor or nurse may be necessary. The patient may also be asked to give urine samples that will check for any medications not prescribed in their system.

Suboxone Treatment Centers

Suboxone is used for treatment for detox from other drugs. Suboxone is not a complete opiate, it is a partial opiate. It seems to be similar to the methadone treatment for heroin addiction. The suboxone treatment is used at a low dose to wean an addict off of the harder opiate or opiates for which he/she seeks treatment.

Suboxone treatment for withdrawal include a slow, controlled withdrawal with minimal discomfort. This detox may not be a permanent cure unless you participate in the additional therapy which consists of treating the psychological addiction. Many facilities also have physical rehab for suboxone addiction because the opiate addictions really can destroy the physical as well as the mental abilities. As part of the treatment, you are expected to participate in the nutritional part and the physical fitness part of the detox program. This is considered the whole treatment of the patient. Treatment centers also like to get the family involved, because addicts need support and encouragement. It is not an easy thing to maintain sobriety from drugs or any addiction.

Although, all treatment centers have their own way of doing things, one of the most popular and famous ones have a three phase, thirty day program for each phase. The first phase is detox and then individual and group therapy. The second phase is extended care, which entitles the patient to leave the facility for a day or weekend to visit family and sober activities away from the facility. The third phase is going to a sober group home, where you will participate in chores and responsibilities of the group home. During this phase of treatment, the patient will report to a house manager. This phase prepares you to return to a sober society. Sometime patients skip the last phase.

In today’s society, there are more and more addictions, be it food, alcohol, sex or drugs. Dont be ashamed! The first step is to admit you have a problem, and then get help.

Suboxone Outpatient Treatment Programs

Suboxone is frequently used in outpatient drug treatment programs now. It is very effective and helps greatly to allow the patient to have a more comfortable opiate detox and maintenance program. There are many of these programs in every state. There are a few things you should look for when choosing an outpatient program.

Make sure you get a visit with a physician who specializes in withdrawal. This should be mandatory, as it is necessary to speak to a doctor about your other health problems and medications you may be taking. This doctor will then decide on the appropriate dose for your case.

Some outpatient facilities like you to spend the first 24 – 72 hours on site, as this is the critical period of opiate withdrawal. This really is up to you. If you think, you will be able to go it alone, or with help at home while making daily visits to the outpatient facility speak to the doctor about trying this first.

Most outpatient programs want frequent visits during the period following this. Over the next 30 days programs will recommend you come in for medication management, group and individual therapy as much as 4 days a week to as few as one day a week. These programs usually decide on this on a case-by-case basis.

The next two to six month continues with physician visits for medication management, group, and individual therapy on a slowly decreasing basis.

Some programs recommend you stay active in their program for anywhere from a year to three years. Again, each patient is different and this decision is usually left up to the physician and patient.

All good outpatient programs should have and education portion to their program, one that teaches about addiction, prevention, causes etc. There also should be a relapse prevention portion to the program that teaches a patient the triggers that caused him to become addicted in the first place.




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