Suboxone is a medication used to treat drug abuse and opioid withdrawal symptoms. It’s an opioid used to treat people who are addicted to opioids such as heroin or prescription pain medications such as OxyContin or Vicodin. This medication comes as a tablet placed under the tongue. It is also available as an oral lozenge.
While its long-term effects are still being studied, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved suboxone for the following:
Suboxone is a drug of abuse and should be used carefully and under the supervision of a licensed medical professional. Not everyone should take suboxone. Before taking this medication, make sure you know if it’s right for you and discuss your other treatment options.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is an opioid medication. It contains an opioid called buprenorphine, which is a synthetic version of the drug found in the plant called kratom. Buprenorphine is approved to treat drug and alcohol dependence and opioid withdrawal symptoms in patients who have already been through opioid detox.
Suboxone is available as a generic medication and is often referred to by the brand name Suboxone-SlowMist. The original brand name of this medication is Buprenex.
How Does Suboxone Work?
Like many opioids, suboxone affects the Central Nervous System. It binds to receptors in the brain and spinal cord that affect feelings of pain and pleasure. When you take this medication, it inhibits the reuptake of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. This results in a low pain threshold and feelings of euphoria. Meanwhile, the opioid receptors are unaffected.
Suboxone does not act as an opioid itself. It does not produce morphine-like effects in the brain. Rather, it works as an opioid analgesic, which means that it provides pain relief while balancing out the opioid receptors in the brain.
How to Take Suboxone
There are many different ways to take suboxone. The most common way is to place a suboxone tablet under your tongue. You can also place a suboxone tablet in your cheek pouch (where you would keep a lozenge). You can let the tablet dissolve under your tongue or you can chew and swallow it.
You can also spray the tablet in your mouth and swallow it. When suboxone is administered as a spray, it takes effect almost immediately. The lozenge and tablet form of suboxone takes about 30 minutes to take effect.
Common Side Effects of Suboxone
The most common side effects of suboxone are nausea, sleepiness, dry mouth, and drowsiness. Other side effects may include:
- Stomach cramps
- Weight loss
- Mood changes
These side effects are almost always mild and should fade after a few weeks of treatment. But some people may experience a more severe side effect called suboxone withdrawal.
Risks of Taking Suboxone
Although suboxone has been FDA-approved to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, it has not been fully tested for safety and effectiveness in the treatment of opioid addiction in humans. Therefore, there are some risks involved with taking this medication.
There is currently no approved form of treatment for opioid addiction. Therefore, suboxone is only used as a bridge to help get a patient clean and sober.
If you don’t want to be on suboxone long-term, you need to be careful not to abuse this medication. Abusing suboxone can lead to a false sense of security, which can make you more likely to relapse.
Also, be aware that your insurance may not cover the full cost of suboxone. Medicaid and many insurance companies cover a limited amount, which could make this medication unaffordable for some.
Tips for Taking Suboxone
Follow the directions on your prescription carefully. Do not take more medication or take it more frequently than prescribed. Doing so can be dangerous and increase the risk of side effects.
When taking suboxone, it’s important to balance out your dose with healthy habits. For example, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and limit your use of recreational drugs.
It may take a few weeks of treatment before you start to see results. Keep in mind that the earlier you start taking suboxone, the better. Therefore, if you are just starting opioid withdrawal, it’s a good idea to start taking suboxone as soon as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to speak with your doctor.
Suboxone is a medication that comes with a lot of baggage. It’s a drug of abuse, a pharmaceutical opioid, and it has not been tested for safety and effectiveness in the treatment of opioid addiction. These are all reasons why many treatment providers and researchers are against the use of suboxone in the treatment of opioid addiction.
While suboxone has been FDA-approved to treat drug and alcohol dependence, there are many other medications currently available that can treat this condition and have a lower risk of side effects. However, some patients may benefit from the use of suboxone, particularly those who have no other options. Be sure to discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor and make the best decision for your specific circumstances.
Oasis Recovery Can Help
Addiction can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with addiction on your own. We are here to help.