Address:

1729 Wildwood Dr., Virginia Beach

Clinic Hours:

9am – 7pm (Mon-Fri), Closed (Sat & Sun)

Clinic Number:

(757) 938-3654

Buprenorphine / Naloxone (Suboxone) FAQ

Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center (IHAT) is a premier outpatient addiction center with clinics across Virginia. Read our extensive Suboxone frequently asked questions page.

Will buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) help me feel better immediately?

  1. Opioid addictions are physically and emotionally draining and make life very difficult in every regard. When a person takes buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) as prescribed by a Suboxone doctor or qualified provider, they will feel better after the first couple of doses. 
  2. Research, studies, and our experience at Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center show that after a person’s at-home induction, which involves the initiation of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) medication, they feel like a “new person” who is capable of meeting their responsibilities.
  3. It is important to take the medication as prescribed to avoid precipitated withdrawals that can happen if a person decides to misuse the prescription, self-medicate, or initiate recovery on their own.

What is the typical dose of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), and how is it taken?

  1. Every person is different, and prescriptions written by Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center DEA-waivered qualified buprenorphine practitioners are individualized for each person based on the person’s feedback regarding their reduction of withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  2. Most people start buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) at a dose of 2–4mg, and that dose is slowly increased until withdrawal symptoms stop.
  3. The recommended therapeutic dose of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is 16–24 mg.
  4. A typical maximum dose is 24 mg per day, although some people may require more to manage their withdrawal symptoms.
  5. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) comes in two forms:
    • Film (buccal): placed in cheek to dissolve
    • Tablet (sublingual): placed under tongue to dissolve

How does a patient know when buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is working?

  1. A person will stop feeling withdrawal symptoms when the drug is working properly.
  2. A person will have fewer cravings to use opioids, and the intensity of cravings will go down. It should be noted that the cravings may not completely go away.
    • Someone taking buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) may still have cravings to use other substances such as methamphetamines, cocaine, benzodiazepines, alcohol, and other drugs.
  3. A person should know all the characteristics of cravings and monitor how the cravings change over time with Medication-Assisted Treatment using buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone).
    • Frequency – number of separate times a person starts to experience a craving during the day
    • Duration – once the craving starts, the person should note how long it lasts at a high level
    • Severity – cravings can range in intensity, from overwhelming and painful to moderate or low

How long does an individual take buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone)?

  1. The duration of time a person takes buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) depends on their individual circumstances. However, much of the research shows that individuals who stop buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) have a higher risk for relapse, overdose, and death.
  2. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) should be continued for as long as the individual finds it helpful in recovery.
  3. A common misconception is the belief that you must stop using buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) to be truly in recovery, but that is not accurate. Opiates can cause lasting changes to a person’s brain function. That means medications such as buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) are often necessary long-term so a person can live a happy, productive, and prosperous life.
  4. Sadly, due to stigma and misinformation, some healthcare providers, family members, and friends, and even the person suffering from an Opioid Use Disorder may believe that a person in treatment must lower their buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) dosage or come off the medication after a period of time in order to progress in recovery. However, this misconception is not backed by current research. Current and ongoing research has shown that the longer people continue buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) treatment, their risk for relapse and overdose compared to individuals who stop taking buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is dramatically reduced.
  5. It is important that you and your healthcare provider have continuing conversations about buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) treatment and evaluate the risks and benefits of changing dosages or stopping the medication over time.

Why is naloxone added to buprenorphine under the brand name Suboxone?

  1. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it connects to opioid receptors in the brain and blocks opioids from having an effect. Naloxone is added to buprenorphine and sold under the brand name Suboxone. Suboxone prescriptions have two numbers: 8mg/2mg.
    • The first number is the amount of buprenorphine; the second number is the amount of naloxone.
  2. Naloxone is added to buprenorphine to discourage individuals from misuse.
  3. Naloxone is meant to block persons from experiencing a high/euphoric feeling that can be caused when buprenorphine it not used properly on its own.
  4. When Suboxone is taken as directed by the Suboxone doctor or qualified treatment practitioner by letting it dissolve under the tongue (tablet) or in the cheek (film), then naloxone is not absorbed into the bloodstream. However, if a person doesn’t dissolve Suboxone in their mouth as directed and instead attempts to inject Suboxone, the naloxone will be absorbed in the bloodstream, and its active ingredients will travel to the brain faster than buprenorphine, in turn blocking the opioid receptors and blocking any high/euphoric sensations.

What does precipitated withdrawal mean?

  1. Precipitated withdrawal occurs when a person takes buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) when they have a large amount of opioids in their system.
  2. In precipitated withdrawal, withdrawal symptoms come on suddenly and intensely and are very unpleasant.
  3. That is why it is important to be in the beginning stages of withdrawal and have abstained from opioids before starting buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) treatment in order to avoid precipitated withdrawals.    

What is a buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) induction?

  1. A buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) induction involves slowly taking Suboxone and monitoring the effects.
  2. A buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) induction serves one primary purpose: it prevents precipitated withdrawals, which can be dangerous and very uncomfortable.
  3. At Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center, a buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) induction can happen at a person’s home following the guidance of our qualified prescribing Suboxone doctors and practitioners.
  4. How long into withdrawal does a person wait before they can take buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) and avoid precipitated withdrawal?
    1. It depends on the types of opioids a person is using and for how long, but generally it is 12–24 hours after the last use.
    2. Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center providers use the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS). Once a person reaches a score of approximately 5 or 6, then the first dose of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is directed to be taken.
    3. Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) doctors and qualified providers usually start a person at 4–8mg and increase the dosage during follow-up visits as warranted.

Who can prescribe buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone)?

  1. Qualified physicians of any specialty, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants can all prescribe buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone).
  2. Providers must complete 8–24 hours of training (depending on the type of practitioner) and receive a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which gives them a license and allows them to prescribe buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone).
  3. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is also prescribed in hospitals, emergency departments, and other healthcare settings as allowed by law.

Can someone overdose on buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone)?

  1. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) has a very low risk of overdose. 
  2. To overdose on opioids, the opioids must substantially activate the opioid receptor in the brain. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is meant to limit the receptors in the brain from reaching that point. That means that even if a person takes more than they are prescribed, they are much less likely to overdose than with something such as heroin, which does not have this protection built in. Heroin or other opiates will continue to affect the opioid receptors in the brain to the point where they can cause an overdose.
  3. Rarely a person may have buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) in their system when they overdose. That normally results when buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is combined with significant doses of other drugs that were not prescribed, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.

What is the cost of buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), and is it covered by insurance?

  1. The majority of health insurers cover the cost of Suboxone treatment.However, whether your Suboxone treatment will be covered depends on your specific insurance plan.
  2. Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center accepts many forms of health insurance that may offer full or partial coverage for Suboxone treatment. Health insurance companies that cover the cost of Suboxone treatment and are accepted by Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center include: Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, Optima, UnitedHealthcare, TriCare, Optima/Sentara, Medicaid, Medicare, Medcost, Virginia Premiere, Virginia Health Network
  3. Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center has affordable, self-pay options available. Please contact us for options and details.
  4. The cost for buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) treatment without insurance may vary, depending on whether it is the name brand or a generic and which pharmacy is chosen. Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center gives clients Rx coupons and other cost-saving options to fill their prescriptions. An average 30-day supply of medication costs between $75.00 and $150.00 with cost-saving coupons.

Does buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) help with pain?

  1. Buprenorphine products such as Suboxone (film/tablet) do, in fact, help treat pain in some instances, but buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is not FDA approved for the treatment of pain.
  2. The fact that many patients report a decrease in pain as a result of taking the medication is due to the fact that buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, so a person may still get pain relief in some fashion as a byproduct of their Substance Use Disorder treatment.

Can I take buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) when I am pregnant?

  1. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is recommended to treat Opioid Use Disorder in pregnant women. The combination of Medication-Assisted Treatment for pregnant women with behavioral therapy and care coordination has shown to be very beneficial. 
  2. Like buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), methadone is a recommended treatment for pregnant women with Opioid Use Disorder, but studies show that children born to pregnant women taking methadone have a higher incidence of developing neonatal abstinence syndrome where the child is born dependent on opioids than children born to pregnant women taking buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). 

Why is buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) a better choice than methadone?

  1. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) is relatively easy to dose in order to reach effective withdrawal control, whereas methadone can take weeks to achieve.
  2. Buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) can be prescribed in any treatment setting, including telehealth, whereas methadone is strictly regulated and can only be prescribed by federally licensed clinics.

Why should I consider switching from methadone to buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone)?

  1. In many instances, buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) may be more readily accessible than methadone, which is only dispensed in hospitals and certified clinic settings. It often involves getting up very early and waiting in long lines.  Inspiration Health Addiction Treatment Center can provide buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone) in the office by appointment or by telehealth.
  2. Overdoses for people on methadone far exceed overdoses of people taking buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). In fact, research shows that the risk of overdose on methadone is more than four times higher than on buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone).
  3. Research shows that there is less stigma, less time commitment to get medication, less travel to and from appointments, and often better tolerance when a person takes buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone).

Struggling With Addiction?

Get Help Today

If you or a family member are struggling with an addiction, come and meet us in person or online. Your recovery is just steps away.

 

Please fill your contact information and we will get back to you shortly.

 

You can also call us at (757) 938-3654 for immediate assistance.