What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription medication that contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine belongs to a family of drugs called partial antagonists. These drugs, when administered correctly, help relieve the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Alternatively, naloxone is from another family of medications called opioid antagonists. Unlike partial antagonists, full antagonists reverse the ‘desirable’ effects that people strive for in opioid abuse.
Why Do People Use It?
Suboxone is a treatment option for opioid addiction, particularly addictions to heroin and narcotic painkillers. Opioid addiction is an unpleasant condition whereby an individual is addicted to the pleasurable feelings that opioids produce. The combination of buprenorphine and naloxone reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms and decreases the frequency and intensity of cravings. Those in opioid addiction recovery also tend to use Suboxone as a safer alternative to methadone. Unlike methadone, which is highly addictive, Suboxone more easily monitors opioid levels and safely reduces user intake. Over time and treatment, the addiction weakens and cravings vanish. Plus, Suboxone carries a low risk of abuse. It’s highly unlikely that it would take the place of the original opioid addiction.
Facts About Suboxone Addiction Treatment for Opioid Dependency
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) conducted the first large-scale study that looked at the effectiveness of Suboxone addiction treatment for prescription opioids. This study found that Suboxone, without complimentary intensive counseling, can be sufficient on its own for addiction therapy. NIDA examined 650 individuals who were all addicted to prescription painkillers. Every participant in the study received Suboxone, but only half of them also received intensive counseling sessions. Over the course of 12 weeks, the study concluded that 49% of patients were able to reduce their prescription painkiller abuse.
There are a wealth of other studies that support the argument that short-term Suboxone addiction treatment is the best detox method there is. Still, there are a lot of concerns regarding its viability as a long-term solution. As such, most professionals in the addiction treatment industry advise that patients fully cooperate with their health care providers to make the detox process as smooth and as fast as possible.
Suboxone and Opioid Withdrawal
When people are dependent on opiates, and they suddenly stop taking them, their opioid-tolerant central nervous system will go haywire. This elicits one of the most agonizing experiences that an individual could ever go through – withdrawal. Symptoms of opiate withdrawal include anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, diarrhea, aching muscles and limbs, hot and cold sweats and chills, irritability, gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, and Restless Legs Syndrome. A quick and dependable fix for stopping this withdrawal process is to Suboxone use to help combat the opiate dependency. After an opioid-addicted individual takes a dose of Suboxone, the buprenorphine binds to the opioid receptors. If the patient receives a strong enough dose, the withdrawal symptoms and the opiate cravings will either vanish altogether or, at least, weaken drastically.
Suboxone and the Detox Process
Timing is Everything
In order for Suboxone to be safe in the detox progress, professionals must adhere to a strict set of guidelines. Firstly, the patient should never receive a dose of Suboxone too soon after the last dose of narcotics. Taking Suboxone when drugs are still heavily present in the patient’s system can trigger precipitated withdrawal. Essentially, this creates the opposite effect that Suboxone should have— severe withdrawal. So, professionals should not administer Suboxone until all other opioid drugs have wholly left the patient’s body. This time frame will differ from person to person and is dependent on factors like genetic disposition and personal physiology.
Dosage is Critical
Secondly, the dosage of Suboxone is just as crucial as the timing of its use. The appropriate dosage will, of course, vary from person to person. It’s up to the healthcare professionals to determine what Suboxone dose would be appropriate. Again, the right dose depends on a variety of factors. The most important ones include how long an individual has been using opiates, the kind of opiates that they have been using, the frequency that they were taking opiates, whether it was on a daily basis, etc. Once healthcare professionals have determined these factors, they will be able to prescribe a sufficient dosage which should be strong enough to stop withdrawal and allow the patient to function normally.
Suboxone Therapy and Detox at Lumiere Healing Centers
There is always the risk that too high a dose of Suboxone will prolong the detox process. Some people who have been prescribed a high dose initially can often find it incredibly difficult to reduce their intake even with the assistance of healthcare professionals and as a result of this may find themselves on Suboxone for some years.