What Does Suboxone Do In Recovery?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

So, what does Suboxone do? Find out more about this drug here.

If you’re seeking treatment for opiate drug addiction, it’s likely your addiction specialist at the rehab facility has recommended prescribing either methadone or Suboxone. Most people are aware of the methadone maintenance program, but it’s common for many to ask “What does Suboxone do?” and find out what is suboxone used for.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the trade name for medication created from buprenorphine with naloxone in a 4 to 1 combination ratio. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, while naloxone is an antagonist. In combination, the two medications together as the drug Suboxone is designed to deter opiate drug abuse.

Suboxone is available in 2 forms: as a tablet or as a dissolvable film that is placed under the tongue.

Who Needs Suboxone Treatment?

Anyone struggling to break free from the grip of opiate drug addiction should consider the benefits of Suboxone treatment. Prescription treatment medications such as methadone and Suboxone have been highly successful in helping tens of thousands of recovering addicts get through the detox process and begin the journey to recovery form addiction.

What Does Suboxone Do?

Suboxone is a prescription treatment medication used to treat opiate dependence and works in much that same was as methadone to block the body’s opioid receptors. If a recovering addict has taken a prescribed dose of Suboxone and then decides to also use heroin or other opiate painkiller drugs, the effects are drastically reduced.

As Suboxone blocks the opioid receptors, the user doesn’t experience the expected ‘high’ they wanted to achieve by taking the opiate drug. When the desired effects aren’t achieved, the user is less likely to continue abusing the drug of addiction.

At the same time, the recovering person is detoxing from the opiate drug of addiction without experiencing any of the uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms associated with withdrawal. The intention is to reduce cravings and other withdrawal symptoms that often drive users back to heroin after a period of detoxing.

How Does Suboxone Treatment Work for Treating Opiate Addiction?

When a person struggling with addiction to opiate drugs such as heroin or OxyContin enters into a rehab treatment center, addiction specialists may prescribe Suboxone as a replacement medication. The recovering person stops taking the drug of addiction and remains on Suboxone for the duration of treatment.

Over the course of the treatment program, the dosage of Suboxone is carefully tapered down under medical supervision. By the end of the course of treatment, the person should be free from both drugs.

What Is the Difference between Suboxone and Methadone?

Methadone is a longer-acting opioid medication that is more gradual in its effects as compared to Suboxone. By comparison, Suboxone is less potent and poses a much lower overdose risk than methadone.

How Long Does Suboxone Treatment Last?

The actual length of Suboxone treatment will vary dramatically, depending on a number of factors. An addiction specialist in a rehab treatment center will assess each person to determine the severity of addiction and length of use, as well as taking into account the type of drug being taken prior to treatment.

If Suboxone is being used to help a person get through the detox process with minimal symptoms, the length of treatment can be as short as 7 days. However, people with more severe addictions may be advised to continue treatment for much longer periods of time, as long as 6 months or 12 months, or even longer in certain cases.

Side Effects of Suboxone

As with most opiate drugs, Suboxone can cause unwanted side effects in some people. Some common side effects of Suboxone might include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach and abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness and loss of strength
  • Impaired concentration
  • Dependence and addiction

As Suboxone is an opioid medication, it is still possible for some people to develop a dependence or addiction to the drug. However, the formulation of the medication is such that it is far less addictive than other opioid drugs, such as methadone.