What is Suboxone Treatment for Opiate Addiction?
Suboxone is a brand name prescription medicine that contains the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. It is used to treat adults who are dependent on opioids. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Suboxone tablets for treatment of opiate addiction and have since approved Suboxone sublingual film from generic brands.
A 2015 study conducted by Harvard University determined that Suboxone with counseling at least triples the probability an individual will achieve opioid abstinence during active treatment versus counseling alone.
Impact of Heroin and Opiates on the Brain
When someone is abusing opioids, the opioids are binding to the neuroreceptors in the brain and providing euphoria and pain relief to the body. But, as a person continues to abuse the opioids their brain becomes more and more tolerant to opioids. Thus, they need more and more of the opioids to get the same feeling. When someone that is dependent or addicted to opioids stops using opiates and those neuroreceptors are not receiving the opioid, people will feel severe withdrawal symptoms.
What Does Suboxone (Buprenorphine) Do?
Suboxone (Buprenorphine) treatment inhibits people from craving opiates and reduces the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with opioid abuse.
Buprenorphine competes with the abused opioid to attach to the same neuroreceptors in the brain. Since they have a stronger binding ability to the neuroreceptors, they are able to bind and block out the abused opioid. In addition, since it is a partial agonist and provides a limited opioid effect, Buprenorphine is able to suppress withdrawal symptoms without euphoria.
Some Buprenorphine medications also have Naloxone. Naloxone, which is similar the the medication used in Naltrexone, is a full inhibitor of the brains neuroreceptors—not allowing any opioid or Buprenorphine to the brain. Thus, while Naloxone will have little effect if taken as directed, it will inhibit the brain from receiving any opioid or Buprenorphine if injected, putting patients into full withdrawal.
Benefits of Suboxone (Buprenorphine)
At the appropriate dose Buprenorphine treatment may:
– Decrease cravings for opioids with a relatively mild withdrawal profile
– Reduce illicit opioid use
– Block the effects of other opioids
– Help patients stay in treatment
– Lower potential for misuse
– Ceiling on medication effect
Brands of Buprenorphine on the Market:
Is Suboxone (Buprenorphine) Treatment Trading One Addiction for Another?
No. Successful use of Buprenorphine reduces compulsive behavior, loss of control and cravings —all symptoms present in opioid addiction. When all symptoms of addiction cease, remission begins. Buprenorphine treatment is not switching one addiction for another.
The most important factor is the difference between physical dependence and addiction. Buprenorphine maintains some of the preexisting physical dependence, but is easily managed medically and eventually allows for tapering off of Buprenorphine. Physical dependence, unlike addiction, is not a medical condition requiring treatment and is a normal physical discomfort when a person has consumed large doses of opiates for a long period of time.
Comparing Suboxone (Buprenorphine) to Methadone
For many years doctors have used Methadone to treat heroin addiction; however, people who take Methadone are required to visit their Methadone clinic to obtain medicine. This can be a barrier to treatment for some individuals. Also, many communities do not have Methadone clinics, so Methadone is not easy or convenient to acquire. Suboxone (Buprenorphine) is also used for addiction treatment, but instead of getting it at a special clinic, a physician prescribes it in the office for the person to take home—making treatment and recovery easier. Methadone users also may require more and more Methadone over time as it does not have diversion technology, such as Naloxone.
We understand that making the decision to get help for your opiate addiction is difficult. BRIGHTSIDE Clinic wants to help you, and we are currently taking patients.
BRIGHTSIDE Suboxone Clinics
If you are in immediate need of assistance, please do not hesitate to call us.
View our comprehensive list of frequently asked questions for more information about types of opioids and answers to common addiction treatment questions.