The FDA approved Suboxone treatment for opioid drug addiction in 2002 following successful clinical trials. With about 60 percent assured success rate, the medication-assisted detox treatment has been a more convenient and effective alternative to methadone and naltrexone therapies since then. It works by reducing dependence on opiates, preventing craving for those drugs and eliminating withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone is the brand name of buprenorphine, a narcotic drug used to treat addiction to opioid drugs. It contains buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone. The former reduces excessive dependence on opiates while the latter blocks opiate reception by the nervous system.
What is Suboxone treatment?
Suboxone treatment involves controlled use of buprenorphine, the generic name of Suboxone, to reduce dependence and strong carving for oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin and other opiate drugs and substances.
Opioids used as pain medication and other treatment purposes are known to cause dependence and significant cravings in patients to have these drugs. This translates into addiction in the long term. Suboxone detox therapy is used to gradually alleviate dependency on opioids by eliminating cravings for those drugs and inhibiting withdrawal symptoms.
When is Suboxone treatment used?
Suboxone detox treatment is for those with opiate drug addiction problems. It inhibits strong cravings for opioids, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and heroin, and withdrawal syndrome associated with their non-use. When combined with counseling, support, and relapse prevention guidance, the medication helps complete recovery from opiate drug addiction. Most de-addiction centers use the treatment for detoxification and inpatient rehabilitation.
How does it work?
Unlike other opioids, Suboxone has two chemical compounds – buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone. The first one is a “semi-synthetic mixed partial agonist opioid receptor modulator” that can work both as “agonist and antagonist for different opioid receptors.” Naloxone, the second one, is a pure antagonist that inhibits overdose effects of opioids and block receptors.
The combination replaces the use of opiate drugs and stops dependence on them by inhibiting nervous system from experiencing these drug effects. As a result, patients fail to feel the opiate drugs. Simultaneously, buprenorphine replaces the opioid as the pain killer while naloxone preventing any withdrawal symptoms. The drug also creates a pharmacological response that helps subside the urge for opioids.
How does is Suboxone administered?
Suboxone treatment is available in various forms, such as pill, oral liquid, injection or patch. Patients may chew, ingest or use them in injections.
When is a Suboxone treatment prescribed?
A patient is prescribed Suboxone treatment when he or she is medically certified for developing a dependency to an opioid. Those developing withdrawal symptoms when not taking opiate drugs are also prescribed the treatment. The therapy is also useful in de-addiction of drug addicts.
How is Suboxone treatment done?
- Patients need to consult doctors and discuss about opiate drug used, issues related to the drug addiction, life issues and objective of potential Suboxone treatment. The doctor is the appropriate authority to make a decision if you need the treatment.
- If a patient is found suitable for Suboxone treatment, a plan is made as per his or her individual condition. Those at the initial stage or moderate withdrawal stage are administered the medication at the initial meeting.
- The dose is adjusted in the next two weeks and a stable regimen is ensured.
- Patients are encouraged to have psychological counseling.
What precautions should be taken while getting Suboxone treatment?
Patients must check if
- the dose is exceeding their requirement leading to Suboxone addiction
- there are opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as abnormal sweating, temperature sensation, muscle pain, shaking, etc.
- there is any side effect
How long do I need to have Suboxone treatment take?
A patient may need Suboxone treatment from a week to three months depending on his or her condition.
What results may I expect?
When the treatment is initiated, patients may experience no benefit from opiates. Doctors may replace them with Suboxone. There may be initial inconveniences and mild unpleasant symptoms. But gradually patients feel comfortable and achieve detox.
How quickly can I get a result?
Patients may experience result within a week, subject to their conditions. A longer maintenance therapy prevents relapse. The complete detox is achieved in 10 to 12 weeks, as suggested by various studies.
Is there any risk of Suboxone addiction?
Buprenorphine replaces opioids in the central nervous system receptors, but its controlled administration does not lead to addiction. It reduces excessive dependence or addiction to a normal level, restores control, ends constant carvings and ensures remission and detoxification. Also, the same high level of addiction associated with opiates is not possible while using buprenorphine. It does not cause any mental disorientation.
Though most signs and symptoms of addiction disappear, some pre-existing dependence continues even after Suboxone treatment. This dependence is not problematic and is managed easily with support and consulting.
How do I know if Suboxone detox is right for me?
Whether Suboxone detox is suitable for you or not is decided in consultation with medical and addiction experts.
Is it possible to switch from methadone to Suboxone?
Yes, a patient can switch to Suboxone detox treatment. However, it is essential to consult your doctor first.
What are side effects of Suboxone treatment?
Unless the treatment plan and dosage are designed by expert medical or detox professionals, Suboxone treatment may lead to side effects, such as
- an uncontrolled abuse that may lead to dependency
- respiratory distress
- motor coordination dysfunction
- hypotension, hepatic syndrome, allergy, constipation and neurological problems
- withdrawal syndrome
- insomnia and sleep disorder
How effective is Suboxone treatment?
- The medication prevents obsession, opiate drug craving and withdrawal symptoms in the opioid-dependent patient.
- Studies have indicated about 60 percent success rate in ensuring relapse prevention and continued sobriety over one-year time.
- The medication also discourages use of opioids by blocking brain receptors for those drugs.
- Compared to methadone detox, Suboxone is easy and convenient to use, as there is no regulations, no intense addiction fears and patients don’t need to join any rehab program.