Frequently Asked Questions about Suboxone Treatment

In this growing opioid crisis, medication-assisted treatment is becoming increasingly popular. Yet, many myths about Suboxone continue to persist. Suboxone is a combination of 80% buprenorphine and 20% naloxone. It’s a partial opioid agonist that activates opioid receptors in the brain but doesn’t cause a high.

How Does Suboxone Work?

Suboxone is a combination medication approved to treat opioid addiction. It contains buprenorphine, which binds to opioid receptors in the brain and diminishes withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It also includes naloxone, which reverses opioid overdose. A person must receive a prescription from an approved prescribing physician to use this drug. Many advocates and doctors are pushing to lighten the requirements for getting waivered so that more physicians can prescribe Suboxone to help reduce overdose deaths. Some people who misuse this medication abuse it recreationally to experience an opiate high. The medication is most often abused by snorting or dissolving the film strips and injecting them. This form of abuse is especially common in places that experience high rates of heroin and opioid painkiller abuse. For those struggling with opioid use disorder, this medication can be a game-changer in the long run. It corrects imbalances in the brain’s chemistry and helps you focus on recovery. However, it should be part of an integrated treatment plan combining carefully monitored medication with therapy sessions and other addiction recovery tools.

Can Suboxone Help With Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a major issue in the US, and opioids are often prescribed to manage it. However, these medications can cause several side effects, including addiction and overdose. Suboxone, which combines buprenorphine and naloxone, is a secure substitute for opiate painkillers. It is not FDA-approved as a pain medication, but many doctors prescribe it for this purpose “off-label.”

Studies have shown that Suboxone can help people with chronic pain and opioid use disorder simultaneously. It is because it eases withdrawal symptoms and manages compulsive addictive behaviors while relieving pain. For this reason, it is a key component of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. If you are dealing with chronic pain and have an opioid use disorder, talk to Suboxone doctors about possibly using Suboxone for both conditions.

What Are the Side Effects of Suboxone?

When combined with counseling, Suboxone is a successful treatment for opioid addiction. But, just like any other medication, it has side effects that you should be aware of. Buprenorphine, the first ingredient in Suboxone, can cause sedation. It can make it difficult to focus or concentrate, impacting your ability to complete tasks at work or school. Naloxone, the second ingredient in Suboxone, helps to prevent overdoses by blocking opioid receptors and reversing the effects of opioid overdose. This feature of the drug makes it more difficult to abuse than full opioids like methadone.

Suboxone comes in tablet form or as a dissolvable sublingual film that you place under your tongue. It can take up to 30 minutes for the film to dissolve completely. You should not eat, drink or move around while the medicine is in your mouth. Some people who use Suboxone experience dry mouth, drowsiness, stomach upset or constipation. Other serious side effects include respiratory depression (slow and shallow breathing), which can lead to coma or death. It would help if you did not take alcohol while on Suboxone because it can increase your risk of respiratory depression.

How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?

Many factors influence how long Suboxone remains in the body. These factors include a person’s age, weight and metabolism. It also depends on whether the medication is taken with other drugs or substances. The main drug in Suboxone, buprenorphine, has a long elimination half-life. It means it takes the body almost two days to excrete half a dose. Likewise, it can take seven to nine days for the chemicals in Suboxone to leave your system completely. Despite being a prescription drug, some people use Suboxone illicitly to get high or relieve pain. Often, they do so in places with increased rates of opioid and heroin abuse. These individuals typically need legitimate medical and psychiatric care that can help them confront the underlying problems that led to their substance use disorders. Taking Suboxone for longer than prescribed can be dangerous. It can cause withdrawal symptoms and lead to dependence on the drug. For this reason, most experts recommend that MAT patients stick with their treatment program for months or years.

How Can Suboxone Help With Addiction?

The opioid epidemic has devastated many communities. The drugs are highly addictive; if a person isn’t treated, they can experience severe withdrawal symptoms and even death. Thankfully, prescription medications like Suboxone can help people break their addiction to opioids and heroin by binding to the brain’s opioid receptors. It also has a ceiling effect, which means that it only activates the opioid receptors to a certain point so that if a person does relapse and takes an opioid, it won’t cause them to feel high. Suboxone is available as a sublingual film that dissolves beneath the tongue or as an oral tablet. Some patients prefer the film, as it’s easier to taper their dose than with a tablet. However, it is important to note that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) should not be used as a standalone solution. Individuals suffering from drug addiction must undergo a comprehensive recovery plan that combines carefully-monitored medication with counseling and support services. It will help them address the underlying causes of their addiction and find long-term sobriety.

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