What is Suboxone?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Opioid Treatments – What is Suboxone?

The opioid epidemic that has gripped the country claims as many as 115 American lives each day that opioid abuse continues, a CDC report reveals. The amount of people that die from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses is five times higher in 2016 than it was in 1999. Suboxone is among the drugs that can help in the fight against the epidemic. But what is Suboxone?

This article will delve into Suboxone treatment programs and Suboxone side effects.

What is Suboxone?

To answer the question “what is Suboxone” we must first understand what opioid-replacement therapy is. Since opioids are among the hardest drugs to give up because of how addictive they are, replacement therapies have been created to rather wean the person off opioids as opposed to going cold turkey.

What is Suboxone as far as compounds are concerned? Suboxone combines two main drugs to create its effects: naloxone and buprenorphine. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. This means that it counteracts some of the effects of opioids. By lessening some of the effects, it helps to prevent certain overdose symptoms such as respiratory depression, making it very difficult overdose on.

Buprenorphine can be used as a weak replacement to opioids. By replacing the opioid with a weaker version, withdrawal symptoms can be managed and cravings are reduced.

Types of Suboxone Treatment

The substance is used medically for several purposes that are outlined by the United States Food and Drug Administration. They are as follows:

  • Treatment for Methadone Addictions – Generally, Suboxone is prescribed once the initial withdrawal symptoms have been managed to help reduce the chance of relapse and long-term withdrawal symptoms.
  • Detox – In an addiction to classic prescription opioids or heroin, Suboxone is often used to reduce withdrawal symptoms as well as make the detox safer.
  • Opioid replacement therapy/Maintenance therapy – Addiction can be difficult to get under control in some patients, especially an addiction to opioids. Suboxone can be used as a replacement for the abused drug, and then the patient can be slowed weaned off it.

Suboxone Side Effects

As with all prescribed medications, there can adverse side effects, especially when the substance is taken in a recreational way. When abused in such a manner, Suboxone side effects include the following:

  • Fever
  • Heavy sweating
  • Urination pain
  • A hoarse voice
  • Constant coughing
  • Red skin around the neck and facial area
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Back pain
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Headaches

Suboxone also has adverse effects on a person when it is combined with other medications. A mixture can cause fatal results. A doctor should be consulted before combining any other drug with Suboxone.

Medications that should not be used with Suboxone include sleeping aids, sedatives, antipsychotic drugs and muscle relaxers. Opioid pain relievers and prescription cough medicine should not be combined with Suboxone either. Alcohol is another substance to avoid when using any form of opioids as they both work as a central nervous system depressant.

Women who are pregnant are advised not to use Suboxone during certain stages of the pregnancy to avoid dependence to opioids forming in the baby.

While it is difficult to overdose on Suboxone due to the opioid antagonist properties, it can still happen if too much of the drug is taken. It can be accompanied by difficulty breathing, blurred vision, constricted pupils and excessive drowsiness.

Suboxone abuse is not as common as certain other opioids, but it can still occur. If you need help for Suboxone abuse or would like to enquire about your eligibility for treatment involving the drug, call Better Addiction Care at 1-800-429-7690.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/organization/cctn/ctn/research-studies/suboxone%C2%AE-buprenorphinenaloxone-taper-comparison-two-schedules