Suboxone has been called a treatment for opioid addiction. While this medication keeps people from withdrawal symptoms, it is another opioid drug. It has a dark side, and Suboxone addiction is a real problem. An effective medical detox is the first step in a Suboxone addiction treatment program. An Opioid Detoxification in conjunction with psychotherapy or emotional support is the best treatment option.
- 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. Patients take tablets sublingually (under the tongue).
Suboxone has been considered to be a beneficial drug in opioid addiction replacement treatment protocols. However, it is an opioid which can cause abuse and addiction. It is widely prescribed as a long-term maintenance medication to reduce the risk of harm of more dangerous substances. Although it should only be available by prescription, people can purchase it illegally and they may become dependent. Furthermore, this medication 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
Physicians prescribe this drug to manage addiction or to 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. Also, it is marketed in strengths of 2 mg and 8 mg and comes in an orange color and flavor. Additionally, buprenorphine is said to be 25 to 40 times more potent than morphine and works by attaching to receptors in the brain and nervous system.
According to a published study in the American Journal of Addiction, prescriptions of this drug and other Buprenorphine-based drugs have increased substantially in the last decade. Unfortunately, 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 just exchanging one addiction for another.
Lastly, 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 eventually come off the replacement drug. Sadly, patients often report feeling discouraged or hopeless because they end up in the same situation.
Warnings and Risks
One of the primary adverse side effects of this drug is respiratory suppression (a common opiate effect). Secondly, an accidental ingestion can be fatal to a child or even a fetus if a pregnant woman passes it along to her unborn child. However, the actual level of harm to an unborn child is unknown. Nursing mothers should be aware the drug is passing 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 when compared to stronger opiates. Chronic use produces an opioid-type physical dependence. Therefore, if a user suddenly stops taking the drug opioid withdrawal symptoms can set in. So, doctors try to lower doses gradually to prevent or lessen these symptoms.
The risk of overdose increases when there are additional substances present, 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 some 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.
Also, it can cause breathing problems, especially in those who combine this drug with other depressants.
Most importantly, 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, it can cause feelings of euphoria and increased verbal communication.
A Suboxone abuser has likely had issues with other opiates for an extended period. Moreover, they may use the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms from heroin or other opiates, or merely seek to get high.
Desired effects are usually:
- Feelings of euphoria.
- Physical pain management.
- Opioid cravings reduction.
It is essential to understand that when it comes to any opiates, there is a big difference between dependence and addiction. Patients might become physically dependent, even when taking medications as prescribed. Dependence makes quitting the opioid very difficult and even painful.
Especially relevant, addiction is the psychological cravings that may manifest as physical symptoms while the user struggles with obsessive and compulsive behavior regardless of consequences.
The symptoms of withdrawal can be severe and extremely lengthy. Additionally, some patients report 3 to 4 weeks of unbearable withdrawal symptoms, which makes Suboxone addiction one of the hardest habits to overcome. Besides all the physical symptoms patients have to endure, there are intense psychological cravings that accompany the withdrawal phase. Also, 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. Lastly, The New York Times has continuous reports on how this drug has abuse and addiction risks and in some cases, causing fatal 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 extraordinarily irritated and lash out at anyone who may be trying to help. They might start bargaining to get any opiate medication. The process can be incredibly frustrating and exhausting to all the ones involved. It’s important to understand, 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 are a number of inpatient detoxification centers that can provide adequate care and support during the detox process. In conclusion, choosing the right treatment center allows you to detox safely in a caring atmosphere and, more importantly, with immediate access to medical care should any problems arise.
We are continually 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 mainly challenging for the majority. Patients who attempt to wean off this medication 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 to overcome this difficult phase in a safe, private and medical environment.
We created this unique detox program, to help those people whose previous treatment has not given them a fair opportunity to be genuinely opiate free. Patients have a private room of our accredited hospital before, during and after medical detoxification for a total of 2-4 days. After the hospital, patients remain a few more days in our private recovery center. At the Recovery Center, they receive around the clock assistance through the regulation and adaptation period. This additional support is crucial for stability and success.
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