Medications to help treat opioid use disorder have become widely used, especially as the rate of opioid addiction has skyrocketed. Many people want to quit using opioids but are afraid of the symptoms of withdrawal, which can be quite severe and uncomfortable. Suboxone is one of the medications often used to help people manage withdrawal from more dangerous opioids such as heroin or oxycodone. Even though it is a highly useful medication that can be life-changing for some people, it also carries a moderate risk of addiction. Learning more about a Suboxone treatment program can help you make informed choices about treatment for opioid use disorder.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a combination of two medications:
- Buprenorphine – This is a partial agonist that works by attaching to the same receptors in the brain as opioids. It activates these receptors, but not to the same degree as other opioids.
- Naloxone – This is an antagonist. It works by binding to the receptors in the brain and blocking them. It also reverses the effects of opioids.
It works to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms by binding to the same receptors in the brain that opioids do. This blunts the high effects of taking opioids, which acts as a deterrent to their use. Also, since Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, it does not have the same sedating and euphoric effects as other opioids, making it less attractive as a drug of abuse. Furthermore, studies have shown that Suboxone use can drastically reduce the rate of opioid overdose, which is a major concern for users who are newly in recovery.
Is Suboxone Safe to Use?
As a controlled substance, an opioid, and prescription medication, Suboxone is not safe across the board. However, as part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or a Suboxone treatment program, Suboxone is relatively safe to use under the care of a medical professional. However, illegal Suboxone does find its way onto the black market. Usually, people who acquire Suboxone this way are interested in managing opioid withdrawal symptoms, not abusing the Suboxone. That being said, any drug that is acquired from the black market should be considered potentially dangerous and avoided.
What Are the Dangers of Suboxone?
Even though it is far less attractive as a drug of abuse than other opioids, Suboxone addiction does sometimes happen. It is, however, far less likely to cause intense withdrawal than other opioids. Also, as mentioned previously, any drug that is not acquired from a medical prescription filled at a licensed pharmacy should be considered potentially dangerous. Also, even though overdose is unlikely if taken as prescribed, it is still possible to overdose on Suboxone if a person takes far more than they should.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder?
During medication-assisted treatment (MAT), clients are transitioned onto a drug like Suboxone which will help them quit the more dangerous opioid they have been using without going through full withdrawal symptoms. Then, over time and as the client is able to participate in therapeutic treatment, the care team will decide how and when to reduce the Suboxone dosage gradually. Suboxone is not the only medication available for this kind of treatment, but it is one of the more commonly-used drugs to help clients with opioid use disorder. MAT is often used in combination with a residential or intensive outpatient program in order to allow clients to more comfortably stop using their opioid drug of choice while receiving psychiatric and behavioral treatment for addiction.
Lotus Recovery Centers Can Help With Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
At our treatment centers in West Virginia and Delaware, our clients receive the help they need at a cost they can afford. We firmly believe that cost should not stand in the way of our clients getting the care they need, so we are happy to work with Medicaid and other forms of public insurance. If you or someone you care about have been struggling with opioid abuse or addiction, reach out to us today at 833.922.1615.