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What is Suboxone?

How Can it Help Me Treat My Opioid Addiction?

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About Suboxone Opiod Addiction Treatment

Physicians who treat opioid addiction also have the option of utilizing medication-assisted treatment, and the most common medications used in the treatment of opioid dependence today are buprenorphine and naltrexone.

Most people cannot just walk away from opioid addiction. They need help to change their thinking, behavior, and environment. Unfortunately, “quitting cold turkey” has a poor success rate – fewer than 25 percent of patients are able to remain abstinent for a full year. This is where medication-assisted treatment options like buprenorphine, naltrexone, and Suboxone benefit patients in staying sober while reducing the side effects of withdrawal and curbing cravings which can lead to relapse.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is actually the combination of two different drugs: buprenorphine (a partial opioid agonist) and naloxone (a pure opioid antagonist).As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine’s job is to deliver very diminished opioid doses to a patient who is addicted to a stronger opioid. It provides a way for the client to be gradually weaned off their pre-existing addiction, while minimizing the opioid withdrawal symptoms that would come from the process. Success rates, as measured by retention in treatment and one-year sobriety, have been reported as high as 40 to 60 percent in some studies.

What Is a ‘Partial Opioid Agonist’?

A “partial opioid agonist’ such as buprenorphine is an opioid that produces less of an effect than a full opioid when it attaches to an opioid receptor in the brain. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin and methadone are examples of ‘full opioid agonists.”

People who are opioid dependent do not get a euphoric effect or feel high when they take buprenorphine properly.If they are having pain they will notice some partial pain relief. Buprenorphine tricks the brain into thinking that a full opioid like oxycodone or heroin is in the lock, and this suppresses the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with that problem opioid.

If a full opioid is taken within 24 hours of Suboxone, then the patient will quickly discover that the full opioid is not working – they will not get high and will not get pain relief (if pain was the reason it was taken). Another benefit of buprenorphine in treating opioid addiction is something called the ‘ceiling effect.’ This means that taking more Suboxone than prescribed does not result in a full opioid effect. Taking extra Suboxone will not get the patient high. This is a distinct advantage over methadone. Patients can get high on methadone because it is a full opioid.

How to Take Suboxone/Subutex?

Suboxone is actually the combination of two different drugs: buprenorphine (a partial opioid agonist) and naloxone (a pure opioid antagonist).As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine’s job is to deliver very diminished opioid doses to a patient who is addicted to a stronger opioid. It provides a way for the client to be gradually weaned off their pre-existing addiction, while minimizing the opioid withdrawal symptoms that would come from the process. Success rates, as measured by retention in treatment and one-year sobriety, have been reported as high as 40 to 60 percent in some studies.

What is Suboxone?

 An opioid antagonist like naloxone is a medication-assisted treatment option for opioid addiction that also fits perfectly into opioid receptors in the brain. Naloxone is not absorbed into the bloodstream to any significant degree when Suboxone is taken correctly by allowing it to dissolve under the tongue.

However, if a Suboxone tablet is crushed and then snorted or injected the naloxone component will travel rapidly to the brain and knock opioids already sitting there out of their receptors. This can trigger a rapid and quite severe withdrawal syndrome. Naloxone has been added to Suboxone for only one purpose – to discourage people from trying to snort or inject Suboxone.

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Accredited by the Joint Commission

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