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Is Suboxone A Good Treatment for Opiate Addiction?

July 21, 2021

On your journey to recovery, you have likely been bombarded by information telling you to take this drug, use this method, try this therapy, etc., etc. It can be overwhelming, confusing, and probably feels like you’ll never find a way out. With the proliferation of information and “fake news,” you want to make sure you’re getting the best information suited for you and your circumstances. If you are looking for an easy place to start and a guarantee of relevant information for you, you should talk to your doctor. They know you and your medical history, and can help you find the right treatment plan that will lead to lasting sobriety.

One part of the first things they will probably suggest is for you to start taking Suboxone. What is Suboxone you ask? Well, Suboxone one of the most common drugs prescribed to help treat opioid addiction. It is commonly prescribed at the start of treatment and patients continue to take it until they have fully overcome their addictions. It helps ease the symptoms of withdrawal, particularly the harsh and violent symptoms caused by short-acting opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers. Suboxone is a combination of two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine blocks opiate receptors in the brain, helps to reduce urges, and staves off withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone helps reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose by blocking and reversing the effects of opioids on a person’s nervous system. Unlike other opioid replacement drugs which require a prescription from a special treatment center, Suboxone can be prescribed by your doctor but should be taken only after a consultation with a specialized addiction doctor.

Now perhaps you read buprenorphine and are questioning if it is possible to get addicted to Suboxone. It is a good question, since buprenorphine is an opioid, but worry not. Suboxone adds naloxone to negate the addictive nature of buprenorphine. Unlike other opioids, buprenorphine also has a “ceiling effect.” This means that you will eventually build up a tolerance to the drug, and will be unable to overcome this tolerance by taking it more often or in larger doses. This is great news for your journey to recovery!

If you are prescribed Suboxone, you can take it in pill form or as a film sheet that dissolves on your tongue, similar to the mouthwash film sheets you find at the store, once a day for as long as your doctor prescribes. Suboxone works as a depressant to help your brain redirect its pleasure centers away from the endorphin highs created by using opioids, helping you find a balance between euphoric highs and devastating lows. People who have taken Suboxone experience pain relief, a sense of calmness and overall well-being, reduced levels of stress, fewer worries, and relaxation. Studies have shown that Suboxone has led to increased and lasting sobriety among users.

There are minor side effects from starting Suboxone like fatigue, fever, headaches, nausea, and sweating, but these usually subside within a few days. People taking Suboxone should avoid alcohol. You should talk to your doctor if you are taking a Benzodiazepine before starting Suboxone or if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction such as swelling in the throat and difficulty breathing.  

Remember, Suboxone is only one step to overcoming opioid addiction and should be combined with in- or out-patient treatments, group support, and counseling.

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