Suboxone is a combination of two drugs generally marketed for opioid addiction therapy. The main ingredient is buprenorphine, which is a synthetic opioid that is only partially activating. The partial activation quality of buprenorphine means that Suboxone does not generally cause its users to feel as euphoric as most other opioids, although they may experience slight effects. Buprenorphine can help an opiate addict by continuing to give them the opioid that their body craves without giving them a high. The second ingredient that makes up Suboxone is naloxone. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which causes the user to not receive a high from taking opioids. Naloxone has proven to be effective in aiding the addict quit using drugs, as while on it, the user experiences no effects from abusing drugs.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
Most opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, heroin, and morphine cause extremely uncomfortable withdrawal effects, often resulting in high rates of relapse. Common withdrawal effects include fever, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and nausea. More severe users may experience restless leg syndrome, irregular heart rate, and lung depression. Symptoms generally last for 5-10 days, with a few weeks of weakness and fatigue after. The withdrawal symptoms produce an extremely uncomfortable situation for the addict, and due to the physical and psychological pain, relapse is quite common, as it seems the only way to stop the pain.
Suboxone for Addiction Therapy
During the phase in which an opioid addict is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, Suboxone is sometimes prescribed. Generally, doctors ask that the individual has been clean for a few days before taking it, as the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone can cause rapid withdrawal for those who still have high levels of opioid in their system, ultimately resulting in a more painful detox. Suboxone gives the withdrawing individual the opioid that their brain and body crave without providing euphoric effects. Although Suboxone does have slight euphoric qualities, it is minimal in comparison with heroin, morphine, oxycodone, and other opioids. While taking Suboxone, the user does not experience any withdrawal symptoms. However, as the person begins to taper off of it, they may experience some negative side effects.
Suboxone withdrawal is a large issue for some users, as the withdrawal symptoms may seem unbearable. However, Suboxone withdrawal is generally far less severe than withdrawal from other opiates. Withdrawal symptoms from Suboxone mirror those from other opioids, but less severe. Users usually experience fevers, anxiety, slight depression, and insomnia. As Suboxone contains short acting opioids, it is substantially easier to withdraw from than longer acting opioids such as methadone. This is one of the main reasons that Suboxone has overtaken methadone as the medication of choice for addiction therapy. Because of the slight potential for abuse, and the withdrawal symptoms, Suboxone should only be taken under medical supervision.
Suboxone has been proven to be most effective when coupled with a form of psychological treatment, such as a rehabilitation facility, transitional living, or individual therapy. Although Suboxone may cure the cravings for drugs, and may ease the detox process, the cause of the person’s addiction must be dealt with in order to abstain from future drug use.