Suboxone, also known as Buprenorphine, is a synthetic opioid medication used in treatment for addiction disorder,  and it works as a partial antagonist of opioid receptors. Buprenorphine is used in medication-assisted treatment for Opioid Use Disorder.

Suboxone does not create similar to heroin effects such as sedation or euphoria, but instead it works to reduce withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings in conditions related to opioid dependence and addiction. As reported by the National Institute on Drug abuse, the patients who use buprenorphine dosages tend to remain in addiction treatment until its completion.

Suboxone is a formula containing buprenorphine and naloxone, the drug that blocks opioid receptors. This commonly prescribed formula works best due to its effects of preventing misuse or abuse.

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Suboxone or buprenorphine is commonly used during the addiction treatment phase of detoxification, to assist patients with painful withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The patient is monitored by medical professionals, and suboxone dosages are managed based on the patient’s needs and medical condition. If taken as prescribed by a medical professional, the medication is safe and effective. However, the addiction treatment for opioid use disorder must be combined with behavioral therapy and counseling to be successful and to ensure relapse prevention.

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Due to the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000, presented by SAMHSA,  Buprenorphine can be prescribed by physicians for opioid dependence in various medical settings. The medical settings for opioid addiction can be considered: in-patient addiction treatment centers, medical office, outpatient community hospital or health department. Because Suboxone is permitted to be prescribed by regular physicians, it may allow for wider access to opioid use disorder treatment.

How Suboxone works

Suboxone (or Buprenorphine) consists of specific chemical properties that allow the patient and recovering addict to curb and avoid potential issues:

  • lower the chance of possible misuse
  • reduce physiological and phycological effects of withdrawal symptoms and cravings
  • ensure safety to prevent overdose

Buprenorphine produces similar effects of other opioids, such as euphoria and respiratory depression, but it has much lesser risk and minimal reaction. Being a partial agonist, suboxone’s effects are less drastic than a full agonist, like heroin or methadone.

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The effects of Suboxone (buprenorphine)

The effects of this opioid agonist is similar to the effects of regular opioids, and may include:

  • insomnia
  • intense cravings
  • agitation and anxiety
  • muscle cramps and bone pains
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • fever

Bueprphine has a potential to be misused. However, due to its most adverse effects, the drug can not provide certain “high” effects like euphoria. Instead of possible pleasant effects, if the opioid is misused it will produce withdrawal effects. Thus diverting a person from using the substance again.

Addiction Treatment with Suboxone (buprenorphine)

Buprenorphine treatment for detoxification and maintenance may be performed in the office setting by a certified medical professional. This type of treatment is cost-effective and is more accessible to patients. A candidate for buprenorphine addiction treatment must be:

  • properly diagnosed with opioid dependency
  • be able to follow safety instructions
  • get medical clearance for any health conditions that may be affected by suboxone
  • identify and review other treatment options

Buprenorphine treatment has three stages:

The induction phase. This phase is usually performed during the detoxification process to combat withdrawal symptoms during addiction treatment. Or it can be done in a physician’s office to treat opioid dependence. The patient must abstain from any drugs or opioids and be in the first stages of withdrawals.

The stabilization phase. At this stage, the person experiencing fewer withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and the dosage is adjusted to a lower amount.

The maintenance phase. At this point, the patient has progressed to a steady dosage, and the duration of maintenance based on the patient’s individual needs. Most patients will transition to behavioral therapy and counseling, which is the most effective treatment option to ensure a successful recovery.