- Fighting an opioid addiction is one of the toughest battles a person can face, and it’s important for people to know that an opioid dependency can be alleviated with a variety of treatment plans and with the help of experienced addiction counselors and doctors. One of the most common ways to treat an opioid dependence is through the use of a drug called “Suboxone,” and here are just a few of the most common questions that people have about the drug:
What exactly is Suboxone? Suboxone is comprised of two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone is considered a controlled substance and is only available with a doctor’s prescription. This drug has been available in the U.S. since 2003.
- What specific drug addictions can suboxone help treat? Suboxone is used to treat a variety of opioid addictions, including both prescription opioid abuse and illegal drug abuse. This includes prescription pain medications like hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone, and it also includes heroin sold illegally on the street.
- What does suboxone actually do in the brain? Both of the active ingredients play an important role in how suboxone helps treat an opioid addiction.
- Buprenorphine is technically an opioid itself but it acts as an opioid inhibitor in the brain. If a person consumes an opioid while taking buprenorphine, he/she will not experience the normal “high.”
- Naloxone is used as a deterrent to prevent suboxone abuse from occurring, and it can produce unpleasant effects, similar to withdrawal symptoms, if a patient tries to consume a higher amount of suboxone than is prescribed.
- How can an opioid like buprenorphine treat an opioid addiction? Buprenorphine doesn’t act like a normal opioid, because it attaches to the same receptors in the brain as a normal opioid would but its bond is so strong that a subsequent opioid won’t be able to squeeze past and attach. while it does produce a sense of euphoria, this is much more mild than the euphoria produced by heroin or prescription pills.
- Does suboxone lead to dependency? This is where it’s very important to work with a trained medical professional, because suboxone is a drug and it needs to monitored carefully in a suboxone treatment center. Many patients find that the psychological pull of an opioid dependence, such as the constant cravings, virtually disappear with continued suboxone treatments, and the physical effects of dependency can be mitigated with other medical treatment as the dosages of suboxone become smaller.
Suboxone isn’t a miracle drug, and it needs to be part of a rigorous treatment program in order to work, but it can make opioid dependence less frightening and easier to fight off. Considering that around 24 million people across the globe experience some form of an opioid addiction at any given time, even the smallest improvement can make a very big difference.