Suboxone was FDA approved in 2002 and is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Suboxone acts in a way that is similar to heroin and other opiate medications, but does not cause euphoria and reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms effectively for 24 hours. Suboxone Treatment has been clinically shown to significantly reduce the physical reasons for continued use of other opiates and is free of contaminated substances that illicit opiates may contain. It is a safe, legal, and effective medication that is prescribed or approved by a physician. In this treatment program, Suboxone will be provided in a film or tablet form, both of which must be dissolved under the tongue.
How Effective is it?
Approved for clinical use in October 2002 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Suboxone represents the latest advance in medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Medications such as Suboxone, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of opioid dependency. When taken as prescribed, Suboxone is safe and effective, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
When will I start feeling better?
You will feel some relief from withdrawal symptoms within an hour of dosing. Complete relief can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks however, most people report feeling much better within hours. Our medical team will work diligently to ensure your safety and comfort.
How long will I need to be in treatment?
As opiate dependence is a medical condition that requires proper healing for a successful recovery, there is no set time. Your treatment is individualized through the use of medication, education, and counseling. Ultimately, you with the aid of our treatment team will decide when you are ready to discontinue treatment.
What is Suboxone Maintenance?
Suboxone Maintenance is the long-term use of Suboxone to treat addiction to opioids. When used in maintenance, Suboxone is dissolved under the tongue daily at a steady dose. This will assist you in living a normal life, one that is not influenced by fear of cravings or withdrawal. By participating in this program, achieving a stable dose, and participating in counseling, life should become more manageable, likely, exposure to communicable diseases will decrease, criminal activity will decrease, you will be more likely to get or maintain a job or go to school and the health and well-being of you and your family will improve. Being stable in a treatment program can be the foundation on which people build a way of life away from drugs.
Am I just substituting one drug for another?
Opiate addictions, like most any other addiction, functions as a disease that grows progressively worse with time. Considering the type of damage opiate abuse causes, opiate addiction requires a targeted treatment approach that gives the body time to heal while weaning itself off opiate effects. In a sense, Suboxone Maintenance Treatment works in much the same way insulin therapy treatments for diabetes help to restore a person’s blood-sugar metabolism functions. Insulin doses essentially compensate for low levels of insulin in the bloodstream. Likewise, Suboxone compensates for the body’s inability to produce its own natural opiate-like chemicals. Without this replacement/substitution function, recovering addicts are left to fend off persistent drug cravings and withdrawal effects through sheer force of will. From a therapeutic standpoint, Suboxone produces long-acting effects while drugs like heroin and opiate pain-relief medications have short-acting effects. When administered at the proper dosage levels, those in recovery from addiction gain relief from cravings and withdrawal effects for up to 36 hours at a time. Compared to the emotional ups and downs experienced from short-acting, addictive opiates, a person can lead a stable productive life while participating in Suboxone Maintenance Treatment. This in turn allows persons recovering from addiction to take an active part in their recovery process while at the same time participating in work, family and social activities.
Are there side effects?
Side effects may vary from person to person and generally last between 2-3 weeks. Not everyone will have side effects from Suboxone; however, it is not unusual to experience one of more of the following: constipation, sweating, upset stomach, sedation, aching muscles and joints, irregular menstrual cycles, decreased libido, or other sexual side effects. All of the above side effects may vary from person to person and according to the size of your dose and length of treatment. Speak to your counselor or medical staff if one or more of these side effects is interfering with your activities of daily living, ability to attend work or schooling, interfere with your ability to attend your clinic dosing / appointments, or cause you concern.
Note: Suboxone has not been proven to cause weight gain. People on Suboxone often begin Suboxone Maintenance Treatment at a low weight; appetites are often suppressed by the use of heroin or other opiates. During Suboxone Treatment, your appetite will return, which may in turn cause weight gain, thus it is important to exercise and eat a healthy balanced diet.
Suboxone and Pregnancy
The use of Suboxone in pregnancy is relatively new in comparison to the use of Methadone in pregnancy. Information presented at the AATOD (American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence) in 2016 showed that practitioners were utilizing Suboxone at increased rates in pregnant women however, the use of Suboxone in pregnant women and associated long term outcome studies are still in the early stages.
Suboxone, may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to her outweigh any possible risks to her unborn child. At RTB, we prefer to use Methadone or Buprenorphine (which is a component of Suboxone) to treat opioid dependence during pregnancy, however, we recognize that each patient is an individual and a treatment regimen will be discussed and agreed upon on an individual case by case basis.