What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription medication FDA-approved to help treat opioid addiction. It combines buprenorphine (a partial opioid) with naloxone (an opioid blocker).
What is Suboxone Used For?
Suboxone is used as a much safer substitute for those addicted to opioid drugs like heroin or prescription pain medications like Vicodin.
- Alleviating withdrawal symptoms – so patients feel physically much better
- Fighting cravings – so the brain isn’t constantly signaling for drugs
- Preventing other opioids from interacting with opioid receptors – so opioids don’t produce the high if taken and lose appeal
Suboxone is not used for pain relief.
The pain relief function is dulled with the Naloxone to prevent abuse.
Is Suboxone an Opiate?
Suboxone is an opioid, but technically not an opiate because it is man-made and not from the natural poppy plant.
- Opiates refer to natural opioids such as heroin, morphine and codeine.
- Opioids describes all natural, semisynthetic and synthetic opioids.
Suboxone is in a different category than all other opioids like oxycodone or heroin.
Suboxone can not be taken right away because the Naloxone ingredient can make withdrawal symptoms worse. Subutex is Buprenorphine only (Suboxone without the Naloxone). This is used instead to help withdrawal symptoms for the first day or two.
- Suboxone is started after early withdrawal symptoms already set in, usually between 12-48 hours.
- Dosages on day one and two are fairly standardized when withdrawal symptoms are worst.
- Day 3 and onward the dosage is adjusted to a level that keeps the patient in treatment. Suboxone can be taken over days, weeks, months or even years, though we recommend less than 12 months.
- To stop Suboxone, a taper is used to slower decrease the dose over time to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
|Generic Suboxone||Cheaper|| |
Half the price of brand-name Suboxone
|Zubsolv||More potent and easier for the body to absorb||More expensive|
|Bunavail||Lower dose options||Discontinued in US|
Buprenorphine without the Naloxone blocker is too addictive to be prescribed for long-term home use, but there are options administered at clinics that are great alternatives to Suboxone.
|Sublocade||Shot given at a clinic||One month|
|Probuphine||One-inch rod implanted under the skin on the arm||Six months|
|Subutex||Tablet placed under the tongue, usually only given at a clinic or for 3 days maximum for at-home detox||1 day|
Naltrexone is a great alternative to Suboxone because there is no opioid at all, meaning no risk of abuse or withdrawals.
The brand Vivitrol comes in the form of a shot, given once a month to ensure compliance. Since Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids, patients may stop taking Naltrexone in daily pill form (Revia or Depade).
Suboxone Side Effects
Patients starting Suboxone are going through opioid withdrawal, which involves unpleasant symptoms. Distinguishing between side effects and withdrawal symptoms is complex.
Side effects listed by the manufacture:
- Numb mouth/pain in tongue
- Feeling faint or blurry vision
- Lower back or side pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems with concentration
- Feeling warm or sweating
- Fever or chills
- Flushing or redness of the skin, especially on the face and neck
Generally, people feel better and more energetic right after taking Suboxone because it’s curbing withdrawal symptoms. This is true even when used for months.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
Stopping Suboxone abruptly will cause withdrawal symptoms. The effects of Suboxone withdrawal are the same as other opioids.
- Muscle Aches
- Drug Cravings
Suboxone withdrawal is less severe than full opioids. In fact, the main ingredient of Suboxone is used to treat withdrawal symptoms for painkillers or heroin.
Stopping Suboxone cold turkey will make withdrawal symptoms much worse. Instead, make a plan with your doctor to taper down instead.
Suboxone is a Schedule III controlled substance. It can only be prescribed by certified doctors as regulated by the federal government.
JourneyPure has Suboxone treatment clinics across Tennessee and Kentucky.
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