Suboxone is FDA approved to treat pain for opioid withdrawal as well as mental and physical pain management. Suboxone is one of the most popular withdrawal drugs used in the United States. It is a safe alternative to other treatments, such as methadone, and is not addictive in any way.
Withdrawal and Pain
Physical and psychological pain can be the root of opioid dependency. Opioids are narcotics, such as pain pills, morphine, and illicit drugs, like heroin. Opioids mimic the body’s release of endorphins by attaching themselves to sites called opioid receptors, which are located on the outside of neurons. By doing so, they block pain signals and depress the nervous system. When the opioids are removed from the receptors, a rush of pain follows withdrawal because the opioids had attached themselves to numerous sites and canceled out all pain. Without them, a massive amount of pain returns to the user because the sites begin to experience pain again without the dulling effect of the opioid. One medical approach to dealing with the constant pain is to replace the abused substance with a prescription opioid agonist, or antagonist like buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone.
How It Works
Suboxone is a fairly new breakthrough in pain treatment. Now, it is finally available in prescription tablet form, which dissolves under the tongue. In prior years, it was injected by doctors during clinical use. Suboxone is a partial agonist, meaning that, while it is an opioid because it contains buprenorphine which creates euphoria and respiratory depression, it does not do so to the extent that full agonists, like heroin or methadone, do. This is one of the reasons that it is a much safer option.
Another reason it is safe is that it has a “ceiling effect,” which means that after reaching a certain dosage point, the opioid will not increase with the dosage; meaning that a user cannot get a more potent “high” by abusing it. It is safe also because, along with the buprenorphine, it contains naloxone. Naloxone prevents users from mixing Suboxone with another opioid to get a more potent high. Instead of an increased “high,” users experience a painful withdrawal as soon as the naloxone interacts with the second opioid. The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment claim that the U.S. version of Suboxone, which has users place the pill under the tongue, fails to trigger such a pronounced withdrawal effect as the injected version does. It is also non-habit forming.
Suboxone is supposed to be tapered down after users become accustomed to the medicine and feel ready to fully withdrawal from opioids. It is not uncommon for people to be on pain management schedules where they are prescribed opioid agonists or antagonists for years. To ease the pain, Suboxone is tapered down slowly until it is no longer needed. Another factor in wanting to detox and become sober is the individual expense of withdrawal medications like Suboxone over a long period of time.
There is no set recovery time for opioid addiction. Suboxone is the most successful drug used to treat addiction; however, it should be used in conjunction with therapy for the best results. Talk therapy allows the user to identify the problems and situations that led him to become addicted to illicit drugs in the first place. A user should be allowed to vent frustrations with care and medicine as well; if treatment is successful, this will push the individual to want to try living a sober life again.
Suboxone helps make sobriety a step closer to the user along with therapy and family support. With all of these positive motivators in place, the addict should soon be sober. Suboxone is a new wave of medicines, taking the addiction out of treatment, which methadone and many other treatment drugs fail to do.