- Addiction: Use, Effects, Withdrawal & Treatment
- Warnings and Risks
- Side Effects
- Addiction, Abuse, and Withdrawal
- Suboxone Addiction Treatment and Detox
Suboxone, Subutex or Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine / Naloxone
Suboxone ® is a medication approved for the treatment of opiate dependence. It contains both buprenorphine hydrochloride, which works to prevent withdrawal symptoms caused by opioid dependence and naloxone, to guard against misuse. The tablets are taken sublingually (under the tongue).
Suboxone has been considered to be a beneficial drug in opioid addiction replacement treatment protocols, however as an opioid itself, abuse and addiction can occur. It is widely prescribed as a long-term maintenance medication to reduce the risk of abuse of more dangerous substances. Although it should only be available by prescription, people can purchase it illegally and those prescribed the drug may still become dependent. This drug is not for occasional (“as needed”) use, because it contains a narcotic painkiller that can be a target for people who abuse prescription medicines or street drugs.
Suboxone Use for Opiate Addiction Treatment
This drug is used in the management of addiction or a substitute for other opiates including heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl. It was approved in October 2002 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an opioid treatment option. It is four parts buprenorphine and one part naloxone; an opioid antagonist that deters abuse of tablets by crushing, dissolving and intravenous injection. It is marketed in strengths of 2 mg and 8 mg and comes in an orange color and flavor. Buprenorphine is said to be 25 to 40 times as potent as morphine and works by attaching to receptors in the brain and nervous system.
According to a publish study in the American Journal on Addictions, prescriptions of this drug and other Buprenorphine-based drugs has increased substantially in the last decade. Some individuals who have been part of a Suboxone treatment program might feel tricked or frustrated by the drug because they feel like they’re simply exchanging one addiction for another.
The use of methadone to treat opiate addiction has been standard in the past, but the number of prescriptions for Buprenorphine based drugs in inpatient rehab settings is rising steadily. The problem with treating an opiate addiction with an opiate substitute is that patients must then be weaned from the replacement drug.
Warnings and Risks
One of the primary adverse side effects this drug can have is respiratory suppression (a common opiate effect). An accidental ingestion can be fatal to a child or even a fetus as a pregnant woman passes along to her unborn child. It is not known whether it could harm an unborn child. Nursing mothers should be aware the drug is being transferred to her baby in her breast milk. It can also make it dangerous for a person to drive a car or operate hazardous machinery because it causes drowsiness and slowed reaction times.
The potential for abuse exists but withdrawal is said to be milder with when compared to stronger opiates. Chronic administration produces opioid-type physical dependence. If a user suddenly stops taking the drug opioid withdrawal symptoms can set in, so doctors try to lower gradually doses to prevent these symptoms.
The risk of overdose increases when the drug is combined with other substances, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines. The mixture of these substances can cause a severe and widespread depression of some physiological processes including but not limited to slowed breathing and heart rate, coma or even death.
If you experience the following symptoms, please seek immediate medical assistance:
- Intense drowsiness.
- Intermittent loss of consciousness.
- Slurred and difficult speech.
- Vision issues.
- Slowed or labored breathing.
- Lack of coordination.
- Sluggish reflexes.
Side effects can depend on a number of factors including dosage, whether the drug is used in combination with other substances, patients metabolism and health condition.
The most common side effects are:
- Cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Sleep problems.
- Mood swings.
- Attention problems.
- Blurred vision.
- Hypotension (lowered blood pressure).
- Dizziness and fainting.
It can also cause breathing problems, especially in those who combine this drug with other depressants.
It is dangerous—potentially fatal—to mix this drug with drugs like benzodiazepines, alcohol, sleeping pills, antidepressants or other opiates. Mixing pills can lead to sedation, drowsiness, unconsciousness and death.
When used recreationally by addicts, it can cause feelings of euphoria and increased verbal communication.
A Suboxone abuser has likely been addicted to other opiates for an extended period. He may simply use to the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms from heroin or other opiates, or merely seek to get high.
Desired effects are usually:
- Some feelings of euphoria.
- Reduced physical pain.
- Reduced cravings for other opiates.
It is important to understand, that when it comes to any kind of opiates, there is a big difference between dependence and addiction. Opiate patients might become physically dependent, even when used as prescribed, yet id does not mean that you are addicted. However, it does mean that quitting the drugs might be difficult and even painful.
Addiction is more than just the physical need for the drug; it is also the psychological cravings that may manifest as physical symptoms while the user struggles with obsessive and compulsive behavior regardless of its consequences.
The symptoms of withdrawal can be severe and extremely lengthy. Some patients report 3 to 4 weeks of unbearable withdrawal symptoms, what makes Suboxone addiction one of the hardest habits to overcome. Besides, all the physical symptoms patients have to endure the intense psychological cravings that accompany the withdrawal phase. It is not uncommon for the abuser to go through a roller coaster of emotions while feeling a sense of desperation and feel that they might even die if they cannot obtain the drug. The New York times has reported how this drug is often abused and in some cases, even caused overdoses.
Because of the severity and length of the withdrawal symptoms, an early relapse in the detox phase is extremely common. The person might become extremely irritated and lash out at anyone who may be trying to help. They might start bargaining to get some kind of opiate or just a bit of the drug. The process can be extremely frustrating and exhausting to all the ones involved. Detoxing is not just unpleasant, but it can be risky.
Withdrawal Symptoms might include:
- No energy.
- Muscle cramps and pain.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Anxiety and agitation.
For some, these symptoms can leave you dehydrated and sick. It is always advisable to seek medical assistance and guidance.
There is a number of inpatient detoxification centers that can provide adequate care and support during the detox process. Choosing the right treatment center, allows you to detox safely in a caring atmosphere and more important, with immediate access to medical care should any problems arise.
We are constantly seeing more and more patients seeking treatment for Suboxone addiction. It is true that some people can detox off the drug successfully, but it seems to be particularly challenging for most. Patients who attempt to wean off this drug at home or as an outpatient might suffer from significant withdrawal symptoms for almost a month. Many end up relapsing because they just cannot endure the discomfort and do not have the proper clinical support needed.
Fortunately, the Waismann Method Medical Group offers a highly effective, quick and comfortable detoxification treatment. Our Anesthesia Assisted Detox program assists patients overcome this difficult phase in a safe, private and medical manner.
We created this unique detox program, to help those people whose previous treatment has not given them a fair opportunity to be truly opiate free. Patients are usually admitted to their private room of our accredited hospital for a few days to go through the medical detoxification, followed by a few more days in our exclusive recovery center. At the Recovery Center, patients receive around the clock assistance through the regulation and adaptation period.
Administered by one of the top authorities in rapid detox worldwide, the Waismann Method ® has been shown to be significantly more efficient and comfortable than any other course of Suboxone® addiction treatment available.
If you have any more questions about the Rapid Detox program, please contact our admissions department at 310-205-0808