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 (DATA 2000).

The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine, which itself is a partial opioid agonist. This means the the opioid effects (the physical “high” of pain relief) and withdrawal symptoms from buprenorphine are less than other full opioid agonists such as heroin, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and others. Suboxone contains naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioids. Doctors add naloxone to Suboxone to prevent people from improperly using Suboxone to get high.

Suboxone, taken as sublingual (“under the tongue”) tablets, has been shown to help suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms and decrease opioid cravings and use. Not to mention, Suboxone under medical supervision can help overcome opioid dependence. Suboxone’s sublingual tablet form comes in either 2 mg or 8 mg sizes.

Suboxone is the most commonly prescribed anti-opioid medication and given to patients during the maintenance phase of treatment. Subutex is typically given during the first couple days of treatment. Because Suboxone has a lower potential for overdose and abuse, certified doctors are able to prescribe take home supplies of Suboxone in certain circumstances.

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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 works a little like opioids do (it reaches the same brain receptors), but because it’s only a partial opioid agonist, it doesn’t produce the same euphoric “high.” This makes it easier to stop taking.

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

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Suboxone Side Effects

Suboxone can cause a dependency just like an opioid can. If you are not weaned off of it properly, you will experience the same withdrawal symptoms as you would from opioid withdrawal. So sure to not stop your dosages suddenly. Speak to your doctor about how to gradually reduce the dose. (Feel free to learn more about Suboxone withdrawal symptoms if you begin taking the medicine.)

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.

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Suboxone Rehab

Suboxone is a drug that is used for rehab treatment for individuals that are addicted to opioids. If you want to use the Suboxone, first make an appointment with a qualified doctor in a Suboxone rehab center. During this intake meeting, the doctor will ask questions about your addiction and personal history. Honest answers are crucial to help the doctor plan the best Suboxone treatment plan. You’ll begin Suboxone treatment after your intake, if the doctor deems it safe.

Many clinics and rehab centers using Suboxone require residential treatment clinic in the first two or three days, to make sure the medication doesn’t bring any unwanted side effects. Many rehab clinics using Suboxone will offer the treatment from thirty days to several years (through outpatient treatment plans). Treatment also includes counseling sessions, to address your underlying emotional states as well. During this time, the patient will very gradually decrease the Suboxone dose. This decrease has to be gradual to allow the patient’s body to adjust without withdrawal 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. This kind of Suboxone treatment allows you to keep working and being present with family and friends, while still receiving your treatment.

Suboxone Treatment Centers

Here’s our rundown of Suboxone treatment centers, specifically inpatient (residential) treatment plans.

Suboxone treatment begins to ease withdrawal, in a process called “detox.” This detox isn’t a permanent cure, just the chance to flush your body of opioids so you can begin therapy and continued Suboxone. Many facilities also have physical rehab because the opioid addictions destroy both physical and mental systems. As part of the treatment, you are expected to participate in the nutritional and fitness parts of the program. Treatment centers also like to get the family involved, because the family-patient relationship becomes more important during continuing recovery. You can’t maintain opioid-free living without a social support system.

Treatment facilities often structure their treatment in phases to prepare you for continuing recovery after inpatient treatment ends. A common structure involves three phases, with thirty days in each phase. The first phase is made up what we’ve already discussed (detox followed by individual and group therapies). The second phase is extended care, which entitles you to leave the facility for a day or weekend (either to visit family or complete sober activities). The third phase is a sober group home, where you will participate in chores and responsibilities of the home as part of your reintegration. As part of this phase, you report to the house manager. This phase prepares you to return to a sober society, making it a crucial last step.

Suboxone Summed Up

Suboxone is an important anti-opioid medication, both in early opioid recovery and often for continuing recovery. Note that it is medically supervised and paired with therapies, to monitor its effects and to address the larger reality of opioid addictions.

Feel free to learn more about Suboxone at Buprenorphine Doctors, where we have plenty of opioid education content for you to consider. And if you or your loved ones need opioid addiction help, find a Suboxone doctor or a Suboxone clinic near you, so that you can begin as soon as possible.


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