Suboxone is one of the most common drugs prescribed to help treat opioid addiction. Who is it for? What does it consist of? Are there side effects? These are some of things we’ll look at and more.
To start, Suboxone is the name of the prescription drug itself. This prescription drug consists of two parts: buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone helps ease the symptoms of withdrawal, particularly the harsh and violent symptoms caused by short-acting opioids like heroin and painkillers.
The first part of Suboxone is buprenorphine, which is a opioid partial agonist. As a partial agonist, it still activates opioid receptors in the brain, producing effects similar to other stronger opioids, like euphoria and respiratory depression – but to a much lesser degree than a full agonist. This helps to keep a person physically and emotionally stable as they begin the addiction recovery process.
Some side effects of buprenorphine include constipation, headache, sweating, drowsiness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, skin rashes and hives.
The other part of Suboxone is naloxone. While buprenorphine is an opioid agonist, naloxone is an opioid antagonist.
As an antagonist, it attaches to opioid receptors in the brain and then blocks and reverses the effects of opioids on a person’s nervous system.
Naloxone is primarily used to help prevent the person from becoming addicted to Suboxone itself.
There are three main benefits to Suboxone compared to other medication-assisted treatments:
It has been found that with Suboxone, patients are more likely to continue treatment after started, as well as finish the program they started. Both of these lead to greater overall outcomes.
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Suboxone is the brand name prescription drug that contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone is used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that it produces relatively weak opioid effects. This helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings without producing the full effects of other opioids – such as heroin, oxycodone, or methadone.
Suboxone is generally used in two ways: as an FDA-approved drug to treat opioid dependence as part of a comprehensive outpatient program (what IHAT does); and with inpatient detoxification programs. It is not approved to treat pain or depression but some studies have shown that patients treated with buprenorphine have exhibited some improvements in both.
According to the manufacturer, some common side effects of Suboxone may include nausea and vomiting, headache, sweating, constipation, numbness in the mouth, dizziness and fainting, concentration problems, insomnia, back pain, and drowsiness.
As a partial opioid agonist, Suboxone can cause respiratory depression – just like regular opioids. Respiratory depression is a condition where breathing becomes more shallow and slow, causing a lack of oxygen in the body. This is considered one of the more severe side effects of Suboxone, but is less common in lower doses and those under 60.
Suboxone may lead to nervousness, anxiety, or depression, and these effects should be monitored as they can potentially lead to an opioid relapse.
People going through opioid dependence are generally treated in two phases: induction and maintenance. Induction begins when the effects of other opioids have begun to wear off and withdrawal symptoms present themselves. Maintenance is when Suboxone is used at a stable dosage for an extended period.
While treatment may vary for each individual, generally it may last anywhere from a few months to a year, largely depending on the severity of opioid addiction as well as individual factors.
IHAT helps people overcome addiction and substance dependency with personalized care alongside traditional and non-traditional treatments.
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