Suboxone treatment typically references providing medication to assist in the detoxification of opioids during a comprehensive treatment program. To ensure that you are safe, providers of Suboxone treatment should only dispense the medication within the context of a comprehensive and structured medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program. Royal Life Centers offers MAT services using Suboxone to our guests struggling with opioid use disorders (OUDs) to assist in their recovery.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a brand-name medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. As a combination of buprenorphine/naloxone, Suboxone treatment assists in detoxifying opioid-dependent people who are physically dependent on opioids such as heroin and oxycodone. Suboxone can also be utilized in a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) approach during the extended stages of the recovery process, which includes treatment on an inpatient and outpatient basis. It is important to speak with a medical professional who has experience in addiction medicine when collaborating on a medication-assisted treatment approach to recovery. Using Suboxone or other medication like Suboxone during the treatment process should require management from both medical and clinical professionals to monitor progress, dosages, and reach clinical goals. Suboxone treatment, like any treatment method, is not optimal for everyone.
While buprenorphine is an opioid, the FDA-approved medication is safe and effective for those recovering in a rehabilitation program. According to SAMHSA, “buprenorphine is the first medication to treat OUD that can be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing access to treatment.” For this reason, buprenorphine prevents withdrawal and craving and lessens the effects of opioid withdrawal when taken as prescribed.
The other component of Suboxone is naltrexone, an FDA-approved medication used to treat opioid and alcohol use disorders. SAMHSA states that “naltrexone is not an opioid, is not addictive, and does not cause withdrawal symptoms.” Unlike other MAT medications, naltrexone does not pose the risk of abuse. In fact, the medication actually blocks the effects of opioids. As a result, Suboxone uses naltrexone’s ability to reduce opioid cravings to balance the opioid effects of buprenorphine while relieving you original withdrawal symptoms.
Entering suboxone treatment, also known also opioid replacement treatment, can be an intimidating process. However, it’s the first step towards reclaiming your life from the grasp of opioid dependence. While starting treatment is challenging, there are compassionate and knowledgeable professionals available to help you every step of the way.
Most often, treatment will begin with a period of medically supervised opioid detoxification to help manage withdrawal symptoms safely and comfortably. From there, suboxone can be used to aid in recovery by helping people stop using opioids without a return to addiction-related cravings and behaviors. No matter what brings a person into treatment, having an understanding doctor and support group is essential to making sure they have the best chance of recovering successfully and living fulfilling lives. With that being said, Suboxone treatment alone will not provide recovery— an individual seeking recovery should engage in therapy, psychoeducational courses to understand the impact of addiction on the brain and relapse prevention, among other forms of structure and support.
It’s important for you to know that seeking this kind of help and support can be a life-saving decision. You are not alone, and there are several treatment methods, including Suboxone, that can offer you a renewed sense of hope and a path toward recovery.
Opioid Abuse Recovery
Beginning opioid recovery is often substantially more difficult without Suboxone because Suboxone enables one to focus on recovery while the absence of Suboxone can result in continuous cravings for opioids.
If necessary, your detoxification prescriber may dispense buprenorphine only during the first few days of detoxification from a short-acting opioid. When transitioning from dependence on long‑acting opioids, like methadone, a buprenorphine‑only medication may be recommended.
Opioid detoxification schedules and plans vary from person to person. Your detoxification and rehabilitation provider will assess the specifics of your particular opioid dependence and will promptly generate a customized treatment plan tailored just for you.
There are three fundamental stages of Suboxone treatment that occur while you’re attending recovery-sensitive therapies and counseling:
The induction of Suboxone treatment includes:
- A licensed prescriber reviews your medical history, and substance abuse history, and determines your eligibility for Suboxone
- Begins after withdrawal symptoms start
- A moderate state of withdrawal must be reached to begin opioid detox
- Medical staff assess your opioid withdrawal symptoms and assist in identifying your ideal dose
Your medical staff will transition to the stabilization phase of treatment when you:
- No longer abuse opioids
- Lack withdrawal symptoms
- Few to no side effects of physical dependence
- No uncontrollable cravings
Best practices during the stabilization phase include:
- Continuing treatment in a OUD treatment program
- Maintain consistent contact with your MAT provider to ensure the treatment regimen is working
Your medical staff will transition to the maintenance phase of treatment when you:
- On a steady dose of Suboxone
- Integrating into regular life activities
Best practices during the maintenance phase include:
- Continue participation in OUD recovery community
- Attend routine follow-up appointments your medical care team to track progress
Ending Treatment with Suboxone
You and your treatment team will coordinate when you are ready to end your medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone. After you determine that you are ready to complete treatment, your MAT provider will begin to medically taper the Suboxone out of your system. In doing so, you will receive smaller and smaller doses of the medication until you stop altogether.
It is important to remember that there is no predetermined timeline that you must complete medication-assisted treatment. By working with your treatment team, you can pinpoint when is the right time to lower your dose with zero pressure. It is also important to stay vigilant when tapering off Suboxone to minimize the impact of withdrawal cravings. If you ever feel like you are at risk of relapsing, call your MAT provider immediately to get help.
What Are the Side Effects of Suboxone?
During opioid addiction treatment, Suboxone’s potential side effects are typically mild to moderate. Alternatively, Suboxone does run the risk of potentially life-threatening side effects if taken outside of a medical facility.
Common side effects of Suboxone include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Swollen tongue
- Tongue pain
- Extra redness inside the mouth
- Numbness inside mouth
- Increased sweating
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid heart rate
- Feeling lightheaded
- Coordination problems
- Blurred vision
- Feeling drunk
- Back pain
Side effects of buprenorphine withdrawal can include:
- Hot or cold sensations
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Goose flesh
- Muscle aches
When people buy Suboxone from a street dealer and attempt to detox on their own, potentially fatal side effects may occur. For instance, significant respiratory slowing may occur if you attempt to detox on your own. Not only can this lead to severe conditions, but your breathing could stop altogether.
Serious side effects of Suboxone can include:
- Precipitated withdrawal (a sign that Suboxone was started prematurely)
- Liver problems
- Yellowing skin
- Yellowing of the eyes
- Dark urine
- Reduced appetite
- Stomach pain
- Dependence on Suboxone
- Suboxone addiction
It is possible to endure an allergic reaction to suboxone. For this reason, detoxing with Suboxone on your own can result in the need for emergency hospitalization or death.
Allergic reactions to Suboxone may include:
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
The most severe side effects associated with Suboxone typically occur from the illicit sale of Suboxone as a street drug. It is very possible that if you are obtaining Suboxone from a dealer or off the street, the substance you are purchasing is not Suboxone. Additionally, the most dangerous side effects of Suboxone are more likely to occur during attempts to self-detox without medical supervision.
Can Suboxone Be Harmful?
It’s common for people to feel like they need Suboxone because it lessens the impact of extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. With that being said, that does not mean they have a Suboxone addiction. However, it is important to know that this medication does pose a potential risk for addiction and can be harmful.
The difference between physical and psychological dependence is important to understand during treatment with Suboxone. For instance, people may believe that need Suboxone (psychologically dependent) because they fear the pain of opioid withdrawal. On the other hand, if a person is physically dependent on Suboxone, they may develop a tolerance. Following this, the person may begin taking more than their administered dosage or taking Suboxone more frequently.
Can I Become Addicted to Suboxone?
One of the most unfortunate side effects of using Suboxone for opioid dependence detoxification is its potential for abuse. This is because, while Suboxone can help treat opioid use disorders in MAT, it still contains the partial opioid buprenorphine.
Although buprenorphine’s opioid component is incredibly beneficial in lowering the severity of your physical side effects during opioid withdrawal, it still poses a risk of abuse. Compared to a full opioid like heroin, the euphoric effects of buprenorphine are significantly weaker. With that being said, the medication can still trigger the brain’s reward system and result in physical dependency.
Typically, this occurs when people leave treatment against medical advice and end up replacing their original opioid addiction with Suboxone. Alternatively, those in an outpatient medication-assisted treatment program may misuse their Suboxone prescription—purposefully or accidentally—and develop a dependence.
In these cases, opioid replacement addiction with Suboxone dependence most often occurs due to medical oversight. Simply put, some prescribers lack the appropriate education and training required to dispense Suboxone for opioid detoxification. This is why it is essential to begin receiving Suboxone treatment during inpatient treatment or an intensive outpatient program (IOP).
Entering Suboxone Treatment
To receive a suboxone prescription, you can ask your doctor about participating in our medication-assisted treatment program. During the initial consultation, the doctor will complete a brief assessment which will include an overview of your medical history and history of substance abuse.
As you participate in your intake evaluations, you will provide specific information about past and recent drug use as well as any other relevant medical information. In doing so, your physician will view your information to see if you have any conflicting pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or stroke. These medical conditions may be aggravated by opioid withdrawal without a medically-assisted detox plan.
Also, this will help to identify the existence of potential co-occurring mental health disorders so that you can receive the appropriate treatment. Your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend additional counseling or therapeutic services if deemed necessary in order to address any identified issues. Additionally, you will also commit to regular follow-up visits in order to continue successful treatment with Suboxone.
Entering suboxone treatment is a positive step toward getting the support needed to find freedom from substances.
Suboxone Treatment at Royal Life Centers
Royal Life Centers’ suboxone treatment process will vary from person to person based on the severity of their addiction and other individual factors. In general, it involves meeting with one of our qualified providers to discuss your condition and create a unique treatment plan. During the creation of your treatment plan, your doctor will assign your Suboxone dosing amounts and coordinate follow-up visits.
You will also collaborate with your primary therapist to define your goals for recovery. Depending on the level of care, you may work on discovering influencing factors of addiction, interpersonal skills, lifestyle adjustments, support group meetings, and continuing care plans. With a comprehensive and compassionate approach like this in place, individuals have the best possible chance of succeeding in their recovery journey.
If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, we encourage you to reach out to us today. We will be there with you every step of the way on your journey to recovery. To learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you or your loved one get on the path to a sober and healthy life, give us a call today at (877)-RECOVERY.
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