Suboxone is a detox medication that is used to treat opiate addiction. It is made of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid, similar to codeine and heroin, but it does not produce intense euphoric feelings like other opioids. Part of the medication, naloxone's function is to block the effects of opioids. The balance of the buprenorphine and the naloxone allows opiate addicts to not experience a high but also avoid the pain of withdrawals.
Suboxone has a lower potential for abuse compared to methadone. It is taken orally and dissolves on the tongue. When it dissolves, the buprenorphine is absorbed right away and the naloxone stays on the tongue and enters the body in small doses. If a large quantity of naloxone enters the body, withdrawal symptoms and pains will be felt immediately.
Side Effects of Heroin Withdrawal
Addiction to heroin develops quickly and a tolerance is formed. Once addicted, withdrawal symptoms will appear when heroin use has stopped. Common side effects of heroin withdrawal are:
- Muscle and bone aches, muscle spasms, and cold sweats
- Yawning and sneezing
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Depression and anxiety
- Compulsive scratching
- Side Effects of Suboxone
When heroin addicts first transition from heroin use to suboxone, mild side effects are normal. Common side effects of suboxone are:
- Trouble sleeping
- Stomach pain, nausea, and constipation
Benefits of Suboxone
Although suboxone comes with its own side effects, there are also benefits to detoxing off of heroin with the use of suboxone. It is an effective maintenance program as a replacement to heroin. Suboxone is not addictive and it is difficult to abuse. It not only decreases heroin withdrawal symptoms but it also reduces cravings for opiates. Other benefits of suboxone as a detox medication are:
- Comfortability and convenience-there is no need to go to heroin detox clinics
- Accessibility-suboxone can be bought at a pharmacy with a prescription from a doctor
- Self Administration-suboxone can be taken in privacy
Suboxone helps break the heroin addiction much more easily than quitting cold turkey. The purpose of suboxone detox therapy is to safely and quickly eliminate the use of heroin by replacing it with suboxone. Suboxone is not meant to be taken for long term use. It is extremely effective in controlling cravings for opiates and reducing withdrawal symptoms.
Once the addict has been stabilized on a dose of suboxone, tapering off of suboxone begins slowly. The milligram is normally lowered every three or four days. Residential Treatment Centers do specialize in detoxification and can offer other supports once detox is complete. There are benefits from group therapy, individual therapy, and support from peers in a treatment center setting.