Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone is a prescription-only substance that contains a balanced blend of two main ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. The combination of these two ingredients makes the medication a common choice for medication-assisted treatment (MAT), an evidence-based technique with far-reaching benefits for people dealing with the effects of opioid use disorder. By providing effective Suboxone treatment near you, Transformations Treatment Center plays a vital role in the recovery from serious opioid problems.

What is Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine belongs to a diverse group of opioid medications that also includes morphine and fentanyl. Like all opioids, it uses built-in receptors in the human nervous system to gain access to the brain. However, compared to most of its related substances, buprenorphine has a relatively mild impact. For this reason, it does not produce feelings of euphoria in someone accustomed to consuming more powerful opioid drugs or medications. Still, it produces enough of an effect to ease the physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal in a person in treatment.

What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a member of a group of substances called anti-opioids or opioid antagonists. When given to someone with opioids in their system, it blocks the pathway to the brain. In so doing, the medication disrupts feelings of euphoria and reverses physical changes in the heart, lungs and other organs under the control of the central nervous system. These properties make naloxone a crucial emergency remedy for people who experience an opioid overdose.

How Does Suboxone Work?

Suboxone combines buprenorphine and naloxone into a sublingual film designed to dissolve under the tongue. The medication’s buprenorphine content provides several important benefits, including:

  • Reduced severity of withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduced cravings for opioids during the treatment process
  • Reduced odds of life-threatening outcomes in people who overdose

Even when used by itself, buprenorphine has a ceiling effect that caps the intensity of the “high” it produces inside the brain. The naloxone content in Suboxone provides an additional safeguard by limiting the time during which the medication remains effective. The presence of naloxone also helps prevent the withdrawal symptoms that often drive uncontrolled opioid use. 

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment is a comprehensive approach that combines medication use with participation in counseling or behavioral psychotherapy. Today, it serves as a primary option for addressing the effects of opioid use disorder. MAT programs are structured to address all factors in the lives of people with opioid problems, not just addiction itself. In line with this holistic approach, current law requires all such programs to provide vocational training, educational opportunities and other secondary services.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that people enrolled in medication-assisted treatment reduce their chances of dying from opioid-related causes by roughly 50 percent. Other crucial benefits of MAT participation include:

  • Higher chances of completing substance treatment
  • Higher chances of avoiding an opioid relapse
  • Higher chances of avoiding involvement in crime
  • Higher chances of avoiding pregnancy-related issues triggered by opioid use
  • Higher chances of avoiding hepatitis infection, HIV/AIDS infection and other opioid-related health problems

Some people think that any addiction treatment that substitutes one opioid for another just continues the problem. However, real-world evidence disproves this belief. The proper use of opioid-based MAT does not contribute to ongoing addiction. In fact, the combined effects of medication and counseling/therapy help correct the underlying physical and behavioral issues that support uncontrolled substance use. Importantly, people who follow their prescribed treatments never get high. They also avoid the general dysfunction and life disruption associated with serious substance problems.

Suboxone, MAT and Opioid Treatment Programs

By federal law, all medication-assisted treatment facilities in the U.S. must receive accreditation from an organization approved by SAMHSA. This process officially designates a facility as an opioid treatment program, or OTP. OTPs that provide Suboxone must have specific permission to do so. As a rule, Suboxone-based programs provide greater client access than programs that offer methadone-based treatment.

How is Suboxone Used in MAT?

Suboxone is a common MAT option for people who have undergone a thorough review, have no health problems that make use of buprenorphine a health risk and also show a willingness to stick to the medication’s established safety precautions. Treatment begins with an induction phase, during which doctors provide medical monitoring and look for any signs of complications. This is followed by a stabilization phase, during which uncontrolled opioid use drops sharply or stops altogether. During the final phase of Suboxone-based treatment, clients lower their intake of the medication and start the transition to full sobriety.

Suboxone Warnings and Side Effects

While buprenorphine won’t trigger euphoria in a person accustomed to using heroin or other powerful opioid substances, it will produce euphoric feelings in a person not accustomed to opioid use. For this reason, consumption of the medication is limited to people taking part in MAT or some other form of opioid treatment. The addition of naloxone helps limit the odds that a person in treatment will attempt to use buprenorphine to get high. However, some people still try to misuse Suboxone by altering it into an injectable form.

In addition to its potential to produce addiction in inexperienced users, buprenorphine has known possible side effects that include insomnia, aching or cramping muscles, nausea, vomiting, a distressed or irritable mental state, spikes in normal body temperature and opioid cravings.  To reduce the risks associated with the medication, all users should avoid the simultaneous consumption of any other substance that slows down the central nervous system. They should also inform their doctors of all other medication use and receive ongoing monitoring for any existing liver problems.

Naloxone is a low-risk medication that has no effect on people who don’t have opioids in their system. When given on its own in high amounts, it can potentially produce the onset of withdrawal in opioid users. However, the formulation of Suboxone helps eliminate this possibility. Still, people who misuse the combined medication may develop withdrawal symptoms such as muscle tremors, headaches, an accelerated heartbeat, blood pressure alterations, nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating. Additional possible side effects of Suboxone include mouth numbness and painful or inflamed oral tissue.

Certified Suboxone treatment near you can make all the difference when combating the effects of opioid use disorder. Transformations Treatment Center serves as a proven source for expert care. Contact us today for more information on how our staff of accredited specialists can assist you.

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