Suboxone: An Effective Recovery Tool

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Suboxone is prescription medication given to ease symptoms of withdrawal from addiction to heroin and other opiates.

The medication is a mixture of naloxone and buprenorphine, and is taken as a sub-lingual (under the tongue) film. A tablet form may still be available, but production is being discontinued.

Suboxone is considered a replacement therapy, or medication-assisted treatment. It allows patients to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms so that they can concentrate on addiction counseling, education, and taking care of personal business. People who use it typically report feeling normal or energized by the medication.

Unfortunately, Suboxone does not help everyone. Addicts who have used frequently, intravenously, or for more than a year may not respond well to Suboxone. Should this be the case, a methadone treatment program may be recommended.

About the Ingredients

Buprenorphine, a partial or weak opiate, plugs into the brain’s opiate receptors but without resulting in an extreme high or causing opiate side effects, so it gives relief from withdrawal discomfort and reduces craving.

Buprenorphine has a strong affinity for opiate receptors and can bump-off other opiates that may already be clinging there. It is also long-lasting and sticks to the receptors for about 24 hours. An addict will not become euphoric while on Suboxone by taking another opiate.

Another plus for buprenorphine is its ceiling effect. If a patient takes more Suboxone than prescribed, it will not lead to a stronger or more pleasurable experience.

The ingredient naloxone is an opiate antagonist and will cause nasty withdrawal symptoms if the Suboxone film is melted down and injected or the tablets crushed and snorted.

Key to Suboxone Success

Taking Suboxone does not require inpatient care or constant monitoring. After an initial doctor visit, Suboxone is taken at home. However, recovery is not something most people can accomplish on their own.

Suboxone is an effective tool when used as part of a comprehensive recovery plan. The key to Suboxone success is to receive counseling and utilize support groups such as NA. Since many doctors do not provide these support services, patients and their families will need to seek them out.

The Suboxone website has a “Here to Help” guide that offers support, motivation, answers to patient questions, and assistance creating and maintaining a recovery action plan.

Cautions

Suboxone is a treatment aid that is also addictive and should only be taken as prescribed and under the supervision of a physician. Taking Suboxone while still experiencing the effects of other opiates may cause withdrawal symptoms. Suddenly stopping the use of Suboxone can also cause withdrawal discomfort.

Possible side effects of Suboxone use are headache, chills, sweating, nausea, mood swings, problems sleeping, and diminished breathing.

Treatment Guide: Suboxone “Here to Help”

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