The current opioid epidemic in the United States has many mental health professionals and addicts alike seeking effective treatment options for opioid addiction. Many have turned to treatment options like methadone and suboxone to help curb withdrawal symptoms and provide pain management throughout the process.
While suboxone treatment methods help with pain management, they are most notably helpful in treating opioid dependence.
Suboxone can be prescribed by a doctor and is often done to treat chronic pain, but it is not recommended to turn to suboxone like you might use other over-the-counter medication used for pain management. If you consider using suboxone to treat your opioid addiction, first learn about the effects of suboxone, how to use it to treat opiate addiction, and why it’s best to do so in a medically assisted detox center.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is commonly regarded as a safer alternative to methadone, but it certainly has its dark side. Just five years ago, sales of suboxone reached over $1.55 billion, selling more units than Adderall or Viagra.
So what is this formidable drug?
It is a combination of two drugs, buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that it binds to opiate receptors in the brain to mimic somewhat the pleasant relief that opioids provide. Naloxone, however, is a pure opioid antagonist and perhaps a crucial component to the success of this drug as a detox method.
Naloxone blocks opiate receptors so that you do not experience the opioid high that many addicts are constantly chasing.
This combination of buprenorphine and naloxone allows for a smoother opioid detox by softening the withdrawal symptoms without allowing for an accidental suboxone addiction.
Suboxone For Pain Management
Because Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist that locks into the opioid receptors, many patients experience mild euphoric feelings. Understandably, this is experienced as pain management for patients dealing with chronic pain.
For recovering addicts or people battling an opioid addiction, suboxone is not best used as pain management. Instead, it is most commonly used in medication-assisted treatment.
The Suboxone High
The positive effects of suboxone are often described as a mild high. Because of this, many people struggling with opiate addiction turn to suboxone for an alternative high.
To deter a physical dependence on the substance, suboxone is made with both buprenorphine and naloxone. The combination of the partial agonist and antagonist on the opioid receptors helps make suboxone a safer alternative to other detox drugs, like methadone.
Suboxone Side Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms
While naloxone plays an essential role in the safety of suboxone, it can also cause significant withdrawal symptoms for people who still have opioids in the system. These side effects often include:
- volatile mood swings
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle aches and cramping
For patients will a more severe and long-term opioid dependence, seizures and respiratory depression are also possible and can be fatal.
Suboxone for a Medically Assisted Detox
While it is counterintuitive to treat opioid addiction with more opioid drugs, it has proven highly effective. However, it is only effective in a medication-assisted treatment facility and with ongoing addiction treatment after that.
If you would like to break your opioid addiction, contact us to learn more about our medically-assisted suboxone treatment programs. We are here for you.