Anyone struggling with an addiction to oxycodone, heroin or other opiates may find that Suboxone for addiction treatment is the key to a sober future. A personalized treatment plan involves five distinct recovery phases that begin during the initial intake process.
The ultimate goal is reaching the recovery phase where Suboxone is no longer necessary. If you or a loved one is currently addicted to illegal or prescription opioids, this may be a crucial part of your treatment.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a medication often prescribed by medical professionals in a drug rehab program. The combined ingredients of buprenorphine and naloxone work to prevent withdrawal symptoms that you may experience during treatment.
Specifically, buprenorphine is responsible for blocking opiate receptors while reducing urges. Simultaneously, naloxone is responsible for reversing the effects that opioids have on you.
A Preferred Method for Opioid Addiction Treatment
Suboxone is used more than methadone, its synthetic counterpart that has the potential for abuse. Although you typically receive opioid replacement medications with a prescription from a treatment facility, your doctor can also prescribe this medication.
Quitting opioids is a brave decision that is not without challenges. Taking Suboxone for addiction treatment helps you manage the withdrawal symptoms once you stop. However, it is only one part of a comprehensive treatment program.
You will also need therapy and counseling to help you deal with underlying issues that led to extended opioid use. The right treatment plan will help you discover healthy ways to cope with stress and pain.
Uses of Suboxone for Addiction Treatment
Suboxone is usually prescribed if you have a dependence on prescription painkillers, heroin, or other short-acting opioids. This addiction treatment drug is not recommended if you are dependent on long-acting opioids such as fentanyl or oxycodone. During the initial phase of treatment, you are likely to experience uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone may help alleviate what you are feeling. Taking Suboxone properly during these crucial phases of treatment helps to reduce your cravings for the addictive drug that once consumed your life.
Your doctor will closely monitor your progress until it is time to move to the maintenance phase. Once this phase of Suboxone for addiction treatment is complete, your doctor may prescribe reduced doses of the drug until you no longer need it.
How Suboxone Helps During Addiction Treatment
Suboxone is a depressant that starts working soon after you take the first dose. While taking this medication, you may experience:
- Relief from pain
- Reduced levels of stress
One purpose for using Suboxone during different treatment phases is to provide a long-term solution for your addiction. However, receiving the drug is not the only part of your successful recovery.
In addition to easing early withdrawal symptoms, you also need comprehensive care that is based on an individualized treatment plan. Your addiction team may determine that combining individual therapy with inpatient or outpatient care works best for your circumstances.
How Suboxone is Administered
A licensed doctor is the only one who can prescribe Suboxone, which can be administered in film or tablet form. If you are not under direct supervision in an inpatient facility, you will need to follow the specific directions of your prescription.
Generally, your first day of being treated with Suboxone starts with a dose no greater than 8 milligrams. Adjustments by your licensed doctor or other certified addiction care provider may occur as necessary to find the dose that is safest and most effective for you.
The Suboxone film is taken sublingually, which means that it is taken by placing it underneath either the left or right side of your tongue. This ensures that the right amount of prescribed medicine gets into your system. If it requires two films, each film goes on opposite sides of your tongue.
If you’re taking sublingual Suboxone, here are some important things to remember:
- Moisten your mouth by drinking water before taking the Suboxone film. This can help it dissolve better.
- Never cut, chew or swallow the film to avoid not getting the full effects of what the medicine is supposed to do.
- Let the film stay in the same place as it dissolves.
- Talking before the film has fully dissolved may impede how your body absorbs the medicine. Wait at least 5 to 10 minutes for it to dissolve completely.
- After a few days, you can place the films inside your cheek instead of under the tongue.
The tablet form of Suboxone is not the type of tablet that you swallow. Similar to the film form, you will need to dissolve the tablet underneath your tongue if your doctor prescribes it for addiction treatment.
Suboxone in Tablet Form
Some important things to remember about the Suboxone tablet include:
- Do not eat or drink before the tablet dissolves completely.
- When you are taking more than one, place each in different places at the same time.
- Never self-prescribe and switch medications without the advice of your doctor.
- Consider using a cellphone, calendar or pillbox reminder to remember when to take Suboxone.
As you progress through treatment, your doctor may decide to change your dose whether it is the film or tablet form of Suboxone.
Side Effects of Suboxone
Suboxone has proven to be effective in managing an opioid addiction treatment. Yet like most drugs, it has its own set of side effects. In some people, dependence on the drug is possible if they have a history of abusing narcotics, are unaware of the potential side effects, or are looking for a way to avoid a heroin withdrawal.
Stopping Suboxone addiction treatment without prior approval from your doctor can lead to adverse side effects such as:
- Dilated pupils
- Jittery feelings and jerky movement
- Pain in muscles or joints
Your doctor should know if you are having any negative side effects from taking Suboxone. Watch carefully and let him or her know if you experience the following symptoms:
- Low energy
- Stomach pain
- Flu-like symptoms
Medication Interactions With Suboxone
You may also have side effects when Suboxone interacts with other medications. Supplements and herbal remedies may also be the cause of negative symptoms. Make note of any current medications that you are taking, and let your doctor know about each of them.
It might be best to stop using some of your daily medications while you are on Suboxone. These include:
- Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Valium or Xanax)
- HIV treatment drugs (Crixivan, Fortovase, Invirase, Kaletra or Norvir)
- Medications to lower cholesterol
- Oral contraceptives
Some medications may increase the effects of Suboxone. These drugs include some antidepressants such as Nardil and Prozac, some antifungals such as Diflucan, Nizoral and Sporanox, and a variety of antibiotics. Conversely, medications that may decrease the effects of Suboxone include some opioid blockers such as Revia and Vivitrol, seizure medication including Dilantin and Tegretol, and some antibiotics like Rifadin.
Important Information to Know about Suboxone
As part of your addiction treatment program, your doctor decides when it is best to start taking Suboxone. Taking this drug too soon after opioid use could lead to drastic withdrawal symptoms. Once Suboxone becomes part of your treatment plan, do not stop taking it before consuming all of the prescribed amounts even if you begin feeling better. Withdrawal symptoms may also occur if you abruptly stop taking the medication.
In addition, missing a prescribed dose increases your risk of relapsing. You have come too far for this to happen. Take advantage of whatever support systems are at your disposal to keep you on track to full recovery.
Although rare, slowed breathing and death may occur in some people even when Suboxone as the prescription directs. These risks increase if the medication is mixed with other depressants like alcohol or if it’s injected into a person’s body.
Never take Suboxone as a way to relieve pain. Seek medical attention immediately if you or a loved one begins experiencing extreme sleepiness, shows lightheadedness or becomes unresponsive. Never operate heavy machinery or attempt to drive before knowing how your body will respond to the medication.
Risks with Long-term Use
Without proper guidance and Suboxone addiction treatment, you may face becoming physically dependent on the medication after a long time of use. Still, stopping the medication abruptly is not easy or advisable. Be sure to stay under the watchful care of an addiction specialist and a medical doctor.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
When used properly for acute pain, opioids can be an effective method. Using these drugs over an extended period of time could do more harm than good, however. Fortunately, you do not have to suffer through this condition alone.
Going through a recovery program is not without risks of relapse, but with compassionate, targeted treatment from Granite Recovery Centers, you or a loved one can begin a new life free from addiction.
We provide compassionate care with a continuum of services such as detox, residential treatment, therapies and intensive outpatient services during your Suboxone addiction treatment. Contact us today to speak with one of our specialists and begin your path to recovery.