Opiate addiction has become a serious issue in the United States. Suboxone, a prescription drug is being increasingly used to opioid addiction, but there is a lot of confusion about the treatment. So, here in this blog, we are discussing opiate and role of Suboxone in treating Opiate addiction in detail.

Opiate: Get An Insight

Opiate is a narcotic drug, derived naturally or synthetically from the opium poppy plant (Papaver Somniferum). It works as a sedative to slow down activity in the central nervous system, so it helps in reducing pain and inducing sleep. However, long-term opiate use can result in enhanced tolerance to the drug. So, the patient needs to increase the dose to get the same results, which can cause addiction or dependence. In fact, an accidental overdose can result in even death.

Using Suboxone to Treat Opioid Addiction

Suboxone, an oral prescription drug, got approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 to treat opioid addiction. it consists of two active drugs, namely-

  • Buprenorphine- It’s a partial opioid antagonist that provides relief from withdrawal symptoms by blocking opiate receptors in your brain
  • Naloxone- It is an opiate antagonist, which reduces the effects of the opiate drug itself. This drug works in the background and only takes effect when opiates are injected into the body. It can cause withdrawal systems such as nausea, headache, sweating, vomiting and more.

Effectiveness of Suboxone

It is found to be very effective to reduce the cravings related to long-term opiate use while providing deterrence to current use.  As compared to methadone, Suboxone is less addictive and acts fast.

Suboxone is prescribed as part of a structured detoxification program. However, it is also available as a generic and also offered in various formulations to ensure the gradual discontinuance of use:

  • 12 mg buprenorphine with 3 mg naloxone
  • 8 mg buprenorphine with 2 mg naloxone
  • 4 mg buprenorphine with 1 mg naloxone
  • 2 mg buprenorphine with 0.5 mg naloxone

Suboxone Treatment Plan

Although the approach of treatment vary depending on the treatment centers, the following are common four steps that you will find in any Suboxone treatment plan-

  • Intake: It includes a medical and psychosocial evaluation, a urine and blood tests to make sure that the drug is not harming your system
  • Induction: it the transition phase from the opiate to Suboxone with the aim of reducing “cold turkey” withdrawal symptoms.
  • Stabilization: It is the phase where Suboxone is given to the lowest dose to reduce withdrawal symptoms to facilitate eventual discontinuation of treatment
  • Maintenance: It’s for those people with severe addiction who may need an on-going, medically supervised treatment program.

Things You Should Considerations

You should not use Suboxone in case you have moderate to severe liver dysfunction. It is because it will be worsening the symptoms. Some common side effects that you might experience are headache, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, constipation, insomnia, pain and sometimes peripheral edema- the accumulation of fluids in legs.

Suboxone can be used for addiction if injected. In such a case, the relatively low dose of naloxone doesn’t give the high which otherwise can be achieved from the buprenorphine component. it should be prescribed under a doctor-supervised treatment or maintenance program.