Suboxone – Designer Drug To Help Treat Opioid Dependency

Suboxone is the trade name for a combination drug formula of buprenorphine and naloxone. The primary purpose of this drug is to treat opioid addictions, including heroin and most prescription pain meds. As a schedule III drug, it may only be purchased with a prescription and should only be taken as specifically directed by a consulting physician.

It helps treat opioid addiction via the interaction of the two drugs buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid and naloxone is a drug that blocks the major effects of opioids, including pain relief and feelings associated with being high. This drug is taken during the detoxification process in place of the opioid the patient is addicted to. The presence of an opioid in the patient’s system helps lessen withdrawal effects. The lesser quantity of the drug and the blocked effects help wean the patient from their addiction.

Since this drug is by prescription only, a patient will always be under a doctor’s care while receiving this drug as treatment. Every doctor treats every patient differently, however most commonly it is only prescribed in conjunction with counseling, potentially in a controlled setting like a rehabilitation facility.

This drug comes in tablet form and is taken sublingually. The tablets should never be swallowed or crushed. The tablet is simply placed under the tongue and dissolves slowly.

Suboxone is a sublingual film containing buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone is used to treat opiate addictions in combination with comprehensive psychotherapy, counseling and life skills programs.

A partial agonist and opioid receptor activator, Suboxone treatment has the ability to push heroin and other opioids out of opioid receptors, stick to these receptors and prevent users from experiencing the addicting effects of opioids. Suboxone is used for the treatment of opioid dependence in combination with psychosocial support and counseling. Although buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone, activates opioid receptors, it does not stimulate them enough to produce euphoria, drowsiness or analgesic sensations. Instead, the buprenorphine in Suboxone triggers receptor activity just enough to stop recovering addicts from feeling sick.

Suboxone treatment is now done by placing a “film-like” tablet under the tongue. These Suboxone film strips are taken by recovering opioid addicts as part of their treatment plan to help reduce cravings and opioid withdrawal symptoms. Containing both naloxone and buprenorphine (unlike Subutex which contains only buprenorphine), In addition to passing clinical trial expectations, Suboxone has also been found to be high effective at treating prescription pain pill addiction in a primary care setting.

The Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) codified at 21 U.S.C. 823(g) limits prescription of Suboxone for opiate addiction to doctors meeting specific requirements. These doctors must also notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about their intention to prescribe Suboxone to patients addicted to opiates/opioids.

  • Suboxone tablets were discontinued in 2012 to further reduce the risk of abuse by recovering addicts.

Suboxone Side Effects

Like every chemical substance that exists, whether natural or created in a lab, it can cause side effects in some patients. Because some of the side effects are potentially fatal, it is absolutely critical that you are completely honest with your doctor if this drug is being considered. And if you are uncertain about your medical history or condition, be sure to get a complete physical before being prescribed. Its side effects can include;

  • Respiratory ailments
  • Liver problems
  • Alcoholism

DO NOT take it if you have ever experienced;

  • Brain injuries or tumors
  • Seizures
  • Mental illness
  • Thyroid problems
  • Urination problems
  • Adrenal gland problems
  • Gall bladder problems

Complete honesty with your doctor is important during any drug treatment program, but it is especially important when dishonesty can potentially result in life threatening results.

Suboxone’s Potential For Addiction

Another major concern for treating with this drug is that it can be addictive. Treatment programs are designed to limit doses in such a way as to minimize the likelihood of addiction, but the potential is still there. Because of the danger of addiction, you need to follow dosage instructions precisely and should never take greater doses or more doses per day than prescribed.

Addiction can be hard to identify during the treatment, because patients are in treatment for another addiction. However if the you are taking Suboxone in any quantity greater than what is prescribed or your are lying about any of the contraindicated medical conditions, this is an almost sure sign that you have become addicted.

Suboxone – Its Down Side

This drug can replace one addiction for another. The period of time that a patient must take it is different for every patient, but generally on the longer side when it comes to drug treatment schedules. Eventually, like with other drugs, the patient can wean off of it, though this is likely to take months at the very least. Simply going cold turkey is not recommended since doing such often results in acute withdrawal symptoms.

Opiate Addiction

Today, opiate addiction is an out of control epidemic in America. Opiates refer to a group of drugs that are used to treat pain. They are usually derived from opium from the poppy plant. Opiates are usually legitimately used to treat pain. They produce a sense of well being, euphoria, which can be very addictive to some people. They change the way the brain responds to pain. They disrupt the pleasure center of the brain causing a high feeling. When used to relieve pain, some patients develop a tolerance. They therefore need more of the drug to get the same effect. This for some people goes on and becomes an addiction.

Prescription drug abuse is the biggest addiction problem in the U.S. today. The medications are surprisingly easy to obtain. There are a number of factors that have contributes to how sever the prescription drug abuse is in the country. They are;

  • Increase in the number of prescriptions dispensed and written
  • Greater acceptability by the society of using medications for different purposes
  • Aggressive marketing by the pharmaceutical companies

Studies show that prescription opiate abusers are more likely to develop heroin addiction that those who do not abuse opiates. This is because heroin offers the same high but at a cheaper price.

Long Term Effects

Here is a list of the long term effects of opiate addiction;

  • Weakened Functioning of the Immune System
  • Gastric problem that ranges from constipation and severe intestinal ileus and bowel perforation
  • A plethora of medical issues that are secondary to the intravenous administration such as; systematic infection, contracting blood borne illnesses, localized abscesses and embolic events.
  • Significant respiratory depression

Physical Signs Of An Opiate Addiction

The major indicator of an addiction is the continued use of a substance even when it has negative repercussions. An addict will start doctor shopping which is getting multiple prescriptions from various doctors. They will start to suddenly experience financial difficulties and extra pill bottles will start turning up in the trash. There are a number of physical signs that you should look out for if you suspect that a person has an opiate addiction. They include;

  • Noticeable euphoria
  • Marked drowsiness or sedation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Confusion
  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Constipation
  • Dramatically changing moods
  • Social isolation

Early Withdrawal Symptoms

Opiate withdrawal can be quite uncomfortable and successful treatment should include supervised detox to maximize comfort and also ensure safety during the withdrawal process. Withdrawal is not fatal but supervision is requires so as to minimize the risk of relapse. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on the level of dependency. Dependency is directly tied to the duration of abuse, the dosage amount, how the drug was taken and other underlying medical conditions.

The early withdrawal signs start in 6- 12 hours after the last dose for short acting opiates or in 30 hours of long acting opiates, including;

  • Muscle aches
  • Agitation
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety running nose
  • Racing heart
  • Fever and hypertension

Late Withdrawal Symptoms

Some psychological withdrawal symptoms and cravings may continue for weeks. To decrease the symptoms and side effects of withdrawal, the mental health professionals provide therapy and psychological support the patient needs.The latter withdrawal symptoms peak after 72 hours and last a week, including;

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Drug craving
  • Stomach cramps

Suboxone is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone in film form. A partial agonist and opioid receptor activator, Suboxone treatment has the ability to push heroin and other opioids out of opioid receptors, stick to these receptors and prevent users from experiencing the addicting effects of opioids.

Suboxone is used for the treatment of opioid dependence in combination with psychosocial support and counseling. Although buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone, activates opioid receptors, it does not stimulate them enough to produce euphoria, drowsiness or analgesic sensations.

  • Instead, the buprenorphine in Suboxone triggers receptor activity just enough to stop recovering addicts from feeling sick.

Suboxone treatment is now done by placing a “film-like” tablet under the tongue. These Suboxone film strips are taken by recovering opioid addicts as part of their treatment plan to help reduce cravings and opioid withdrawal symptoms. Containing both naloxone and buprenorphine (unlike Subutex which contains only buprenorphine), Suboxone is codified under DATA (Drug Addiction Treatment Act) as a prescription drug that can only be prescribed by qualifying physicians who have notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of their intent to treat opioid dependence with Suboxone. In addition to passing clinical trial expectations, Suboxone has also been found to be high effective at treating prescription pain pill addiction in a primary care setting. Suboxone tablets were discontinued in 2012 to further reduce the risk of abuse by recovering addicts.

Buprenorphine is responsible for Suboxone withdrawal symptoms, which vary in type and intensity according to individual factors. Initial doses of Suboxone require addicts to be in a state of moderate withdrawal. Dosage amounts are adjusted until the addict experiences optimal effects.

Drug tests will only detect Suboxone in a person’s system if the test is specifically searching for the presence of buprenorphine. This means that recovering addicts being treated with Suboxone do not have to worry about failing drugs tests when looking for employment.

Commonly Reported Withdrawal Symptoms include

  • anxiety, body aches
  • trouble concentrating
  • depression
  • insomnia

Withdrawal Timeline

These symptoms typically lessen within a 10 to 14 days of stopping Suboxone and may be treated with over the counter medications and counseling.

Suboxone Doctors and Clinics

The SAMSHA website provides a map for finding Suboxone doctors and clinics in each state. Additionally, most health insurances have lists of physicians certified to prescribe Suboxone for treating opioid addictions.

Naloxone

Naloxone is an opiate antagonist, not a partial agonist like buprenorphine. Instead of filling and activating receptors, Naloxone fills but does not activate receptors. When an addict’s opioid receptors are filled with Naloxone, the addict will experience rapid, intense withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and headache.

High

In the past, Suboxone users could crush tablets, mix the powder with water and inject the drug to get high. Now that only Suboxone sublingual film is available, the risk of recovering addicts abusing Suboxone has dramatically reduced. Only by ingesting large amounts of Suboxone film are addicts able to feel high.

Abuse

Suboxone abuse is uncommon today because Suboxone combines buprenorphine and naloxone into one medication. This also allows physicians to provide recovering opioid addicts with take-home doses of Suboxone for easier administration. Alternately, methadone must be given as one daily dose since it stimulates opioid receptors and increases the risk of addicts abusing the medication.

Side Effects

Commonly reported side effects of taking Suboxone sublingual film include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Sleep disturbances

More serious side effects may emerge from a rare allergic reaction and involve:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Tingling of feet and hands

Opiate Addiction Treatment: With an estimated 2.1 million people struggling with opioid addiction, the abuse of this dangerous class of drugs is at epidemic levels in the United States. As a pronounced problem among teens and adults alike, the need for effective treatment is paramount.

Opioid use in the United States is a serious problem, but treatment can make a difference. If you or a loved one is experiencing the negative effects of using opioid medications, seek medical help immediately.

While the term “opiate” refers to any substance derived from the plant opium, opioids are medications that use these properties to lessen pain throughout the body, usually after surgeries or serious injuries.

  • Hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl are common forms of opioids.

Opioid painkillers are part of a class of pharmaceuticals known as Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. It means that they bind to opioid receptors in the brain to eliminate sensations of pain and cause feelings of euphoria and release. Many people find this experience to quite be pleasurable, so they continue to take these drugs illicitly after all initial traces of pain have resolved.

Today, opiate addiction is an out of control epidemic in America. Opiates refer to a group of drugs that are used to treat pain. They are usually derived from opium from the poppy plant. Opiates are usually legitimately used to treat pain. They produce a sense of well being, euphoria, which can be very addictive to some people. They change the way the brain responds to pain. They disrupt the pleasure center of the brain causing a high feeling. When used to relieve pain, some patients develop a tolerance. They therefore need more of the drug to get the same effect. This for some people goes on and becomes an addiction.

Opiate Addiction Treatment

Treatment of opioids has long been problematic, largely due to the risks involved with the withdrawal and detox process. Luckily, there are several options to help substance abusers overcome their addictions.

Opiate addiction treatment starts with medically managed and closely supervised detoxification. Detox is the management of the withdrawal symptoms as the body rids itself of all opiates. This should be done in a licensed detox facility. Detox is a specialty field and should only be done under the close care of a properly trained staff.

Detox refers to the process of breaking an addiction in a safe, secure place, often with medical intervention. The active ingredient found to be most effective in releasing users from their opioid dependence is a compound called buprenorphine, which is the key ingredient in two major treatment drugs.

  • Subutex – Subutex is a pharmaceutical containing only buprenorphine
  • Suboxone – Suboxone combines buprenorphine with another compound called naloxone. Naloxone can effectively minimize the effects of opioids, diminishing the pleasure users receive when taking doses.

Buprenorphine is what the medical community calls a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it mimics the effects of opioids to a lesser degree, making it easier for patients to wean off of their addiction. The chemical compounds in buprenorphine bind to the brain’s opioid receptors without producing the negative effects of the opioids themselves.

Counseling Therapy

In combination with these potentially life-saving detox medicines, substance abusers need a supportive environment in which to complete the process of overcoming addiction. Because relapses can come from stress in a person’s daily life, it’s important to find professional assistance to handle the pressures of substance dependency. Therapy can also help abusers to come to terms with the root causes of addiction and provide coping methods to address pain points and drivers for drug use.

Buprenorphine

Pharmacological properties provided by buprenorphine to support efficacy of Suboxone include its ability to reduce the potential for abuse by recovering addicts and less risk of overdose. In addition, buprenorphine diminishes the severity of cravings and physical dependency symptoms to help addicts avoid relapsing during recovery.

An opioid partial agonist that produces weakened effects of actual opiates (euphoria and slower respiratory rates, for example), buprenorphine’s effects increase slightly with each dose but eventually level off as the addict continues taking Suboxone. Called the “ceiling effect” by pharmacologists, this long-term action provided by buprenorphine works to reduce dependency and risk of abuse while also allowing most Suboxone users to gradually decrease dosing amounts.

Methadone

Methadone, (brand name Dolophine), has been used to treat opiate addictions for over 40 years. A Schedule II controlled substance, methadone can only be prescribed by doctors working for outpatient treatment programs that are registered by the U.S. DEA and certified by SAMHSA.

Due to the risk of recovering addicts becoming re-addicted to methadone, it is becoming less common for doctors to prescribe methadone for opiate addiction treatment. However, methadone is still being prescribed to non-addicts for chronic pain relief.

Naloxone For Treating Opiate Overdose

Better known by its brand name Narcan, naloxone is now widely used as an antidote for heroin overdoses. An opioid antagonist that effectively reverses the harmful effects of heroin or other opioids, naloxone is included in Suboxone to prevent it from being abused intravenously. If an addict were to inject naloxone, they would experience withdrawal symptoms instead of an opiate “high”.

The best opiate addiction treatment centers are shown on the map. Click on any red marker or use the drop down menu in the upper left hand corner. The detail screens will have the website address listed as well as reviews and phone number. For website, reviews and other information, click the drop down menu in the upper left corner of the map, and click on the facility’s listing.

Short Term Effects

Most people take these drugs for the short-term effects of pain and stress relief, a feeling of euphoria, and general sedation. The long term effects can cause serious problems with prolonged use, including:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Liver Damage
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Brain Damage
  • Dependence
  • Overdose and death

Opioid Withdrawal

When opioid dependence sets in, the ceasing use can lead to withdrawal. Withdrawal is an uncomfortable process with serious complications and side effects, including;

  • nausea
  • muscle cramping
  • depression
  • agitation
  • rage
  • anxiety
  • seizures
  • intense cravings

Because of these intense responses, many opioid users are unable to stop on their own and will relapse in the first few days or weeks of sobriety.

 

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