Treating Opiate Addiction With Suboxone

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Suboxone Treatment

Opiate addiction is a growing problem in the United States, as evidenced by the 2015 Indiana outbreak of HIV infection that was fueled by the abuse of the drug OxyContin. In the face of a growing epidemic, a prescription drug called Suboxone Clinic (buprenorphine + naloxone) is increasingly being used to treat opioid dependence.

Understanding Opiates

Opiates are a family of drugs derived naturally or synthetically from the seeds of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) plant. They act as sedatives to suppress activity in the central nervous system, thereby reducing pain and inducing sleep.

Long-term use of opiates can lead to increased tolerance to the drug. When this happens, the user needs to increase the dose to achieve the same effect. This can cause growing addiction, which we have come to call addiction. In some cases, this can lead to accidental overdose and even death.

Some of the more commonly used opiates include:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine
  • Vicodin (hydrocodone)
  • Oxycontin
  • Oxycodone
  • Codeine
  • Methadone

Treatment of opioid dependence with Suboxone Clinic

Suboxone is a prescription drug that was obtained from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for the treatment of opioid dependence. Prescribed as a sublingual tablet or film, it contains two active drugs:

  • Buprenorphine, a partial opioid antagonist that helps relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms by blocking opiate receptors in the brain
  • Naloxone , an opiate antagonist that blocks the effects of the opiate drug itself

The combined use overcomes some of the disadvantages of the individual drugs. For example, buprenorphine is addictive, but to a lesser extent because naloxone suppresses the effects of opiates.

In contrast, naloxone acts as a background inhibitor, acting only when opiates are introduced into the system. When this happens, naloxone can cause withdrawal symptoms including nausea, headache, sweating, anxiety, vomiting, and tremors.

Efficiency

Suboxone has been found to be effective in the sense that it reduces cravings associated with long-term opiate use while providing containment for current use. Compared to methadone, Suboxone is less addictive and quicker to act (it takes about a week to detoxify compared to weeks or even months with methadone).

Suboxone Clinic also seems to work better when used for longer periods of time. One study found that opiate-addicted youth who used Suboxone for 12 weeks were more likely to remain with withdrawal symptoms compared to peers who received only two weeks of detoxification therapy.

How it is written

Suboxone Clinic is prescribed as part of a structured drug detoxification program and for maintenance therapy as needed. It is available as a generic (under the brand names Bunavail and Zubsolve) and is offered in a variety of formulations to provide phasing out:

  • 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

Treatment plans

While approaches may vary from treatment center to treatment, there are generally four steps for any Suboxone Clinic treatment plan:

  • consumption, which includes a medical and psychosocial assessment, urinalysis for drugs, and blood tests so you can take the drug safely
  • encouragement to switch from the opiates you are currently using to suboxone in order to minimize cold turkey withdrawal symptoms
  • stabilization, in which suboxone is set at the lowest dose to suppress withdrawal symptoms, allowing for the eventual narrowing and discontinuation of treatment
  • support for people with severe addiction who may require ongoing treatment and supervised medical care (including attending a drug anonymous or non-admission support group)

Considerations

Suboxone does have the potential to be misused when administered. In such a case, the relatively low dose of naloxone does not appear to mitigate the “high” achieved from the buprenorphine component. Therefore, Suboxone can only be prescribed as part of a treatment or care program under the supervision of a physician.

Because opioid dependence is both a physical and a psychological disorder, treatment requires a multidisciplinary team to meet both of these needs. If you feel you can use Suboxone Clinic, contact hospitals or mental health agencies in your area for referrals to nearby addiction treatment centers.

Looking for a Suboxone Clinic near you? 

Here’s everything you need to know about how to find a Suboxone Clinic treatment provider near you.

Different medical providers prescribe Suboxone and other buprenorphine products to treat opioid addiction in and out of Suboxone clinic settings.

All providers who prescribe buprenorphine products like Suboxone must have special training and be registered with the DEA, and Suboxone providers can only take on a certain number of patients at a time. These regulations mean it can be frustrating to find a Suboxone Clinic accepting new patients.

But there is hope! Here are strategies for finding a Suboxone Clinic, or doctor who will prescribe Suboxone Clinic in an office setting, near you:

Be prepared when you call Suboxone Clinics.

Suboxone Clinic offered a directory at one time of providers, but sadly they’ve stopped offering this resource. There are other directories on this list, ranked in order of accuracy. Sometimes, it’s simpler to do an online Google search for Suboxone Clinic doctors and look for local results. Keep in mind that many centers will offer information on this topic, but not all will be in your area.

Prepare questions and call each location near you, or get the names of providers near you and do further research online.

Check-in with your primary care doctor and see if they’re able to prescribe Suboxone, or willing to get the waiver required to prescribe it.

There is no shame in letting your general practitioner know you’re struggling with opioid addiction. You can ask them to help you with medication-assisted treatment like Suboxone. The more those of us who are personally affected by addiction speak up, the more medical providers will understand they need to make treatment readily available. Our doctors don’t know we need treatment until we tell them.

Although it’s commonly assumed that you must seek addiction treatment apart from primary care, there is a push to have primary care doctors get the waiver and be able to prescribe Suboxone and other buprenorphine medications. Some primary care physicians, in response to the opioid crisis, are choosing to treat opioid addiction. And if your primary care doc won’t personally prescribe Suboxone, they may know another doctor who will be able to help.