Suboxone

Suboxone is a medication that is used to treat addiction.

Background

Prescription opioid pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin are very addictive. These drugs can have effects similar to heroin ... especially when taken in large doses or taken other than prescribed. Not everyone who uses opioids gets addicted. But it is difficult to stop using opioids after you have become hooked. This is because the cravings are so strong and the fear of withdrawal is so great.

Medication for Addiction

Suboxone is one of three medications commonly used to treat opioid addiction (the other two are Naltrexone and Morphine). The goal of Suboxone is to feel normal — not high. The way it works: it tricks the brain into thinking it is receiving the problem drug (opioid). This helps the withdrawal symptoms stay away. Suboxone also reduces cravings. Remember to listen to the doctor. If cravings continue to be a problem, your doctor will typically adjust your medication.  There might be options available to help cravings.

Dosage

You take Suboxone as a pill that dissolves under the tongue. You do not chew or swallow it (that will reduce the effects). There are two forms. Suboxone which is Buprenorphine plus another medication called Naloxone. The Naloxone is added to prevent abuse—it brings on withdrawal in people who abuse Suboxone by injecting it. Subutex contains only Buprenorphine . This form is prescribed if you should not take Naloxone for any reason. Some people have an allergic reaction. Another possibly is pregnancy. The pill is taken once a day. Over time, the dose interval may stay at once a day or change to every other day.

Important

Not all doctors have approval to prescribe this medication, and not all doctors provide counseling for addiction. Also, daily check-in at a treatment center can be helpful to recovery. Therefore, for most folks, a treatment center is the best place to receive medication for opioid addiction. People who say in a 90-day program have the best chance of success.

Be Careful

You need to be honest with your doctor, so you can get the correct dose. Your doctor will prescribe a low dose to start taking after you moderate withdrawal symptoms begin. Dose levels may be adjusted up as needed. Always take doses exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Suboxone can make you feel drowsy at first. Obviously, you should not drive or perform other high-risk tasks until you know how this medication affects you. You may take Suboxone for days, months, or years—as long as it is needed to prevent relapse. If you are stable in recovery and want to stop taking Suboxone, you must do it slowly, over time. This is called tapering. Tapering works best (with the help of your doctor or substance abuse counselor) after progress has been made in treatment.

Common Side effects and Simple Ways To Reduce them

  • Body aches, headaches, and cold or flu-like symptoms— Check with your doctor about over-the-counter medicines you may take.
  • Dizziness—Stand up slowly. Call your doctor if problems persist.
  • Constipation—Drink more water and juice. Eat food with fiber. Exercise more.
  • Sweating—Shower often. Dress in layers.
  • Sleep problems, including tiredness—Take the pill in the morning. Avoid naps. Go to bed at the same time every night. Exercise. Do not drink caffeine after lunchtime.
  • Upset stomach or vomiting—Take the pill after you have eaten. Take an antacid product as directed by your doctor.
  • Mood swings—Exercise more. Do fun things that do not involve the old drug lifestyle. Relax. Talk to your substance abuse treatment provider.
    FDA

    FAQ at the FDA site.

Serious side effects

For extreme stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea, contact your doctor right away. Also seek help if the following side effects appear, because they may indicate serious liver problems:

  • Dark or tea-colored urine
  • Bad stomach-ache
  • Light-colored bowel movements
  • Yellowing in the whites of the eyes
  • Yellow skin.

Don’t skimp on the counseling and support

Medication is one part of treatment for opioid addiction. It’s important to have the opportunity to talk with a professional. You will learn about the motivations and behaviors that led to your opioid addiction. In group counseling, you connect with others in treatment and make new friends who don’t use drugs. You can get these benefits from support groups, too. These are informal meetings of people facing similar challenges. Support from family and friends is very important. Love and encouragement can help you make the decision to enter treatment and stick with it. Recovery is possible. But it takes work. After treatment is finished, everything is not automatically okay again. Recovery takes commitment every day, through treatment and beyond. Remember, addiction is a chronic brain disease. There is no medication that will “fix” you. Commit to a lifetime of recovery and a healthful lifestyle.

Suboxone

Suboxone. In high doses it works to treat people that are trying to kick their addiction with opiates. In lower doses, it can be prescribed to help with moderate chronic pain. Since it is prescribed to many people trying to overcome their opiate dependency, there are many individuals that have been taking this drug for extended periods of time.

Fast Facts

Suboxone What true and what is not

  • Suboxone helps with withdrawal symptoms so you can think and function normally. It is legal and taken under a doctor’s care. It is NOT just another drug to abuse.
  • Suboxone is produced under safe conditions and sold legally. There is no risk of getting tainted doses, which can happen with street drugs. Also, risk of overdose on this medication is very small.
  • You can stop taking Suboxone when you are ready.
  • You can become dependent on Suboxone, as with many medications taken over time. For this reason, if you wish to stop taking Suboxone, you should work with a substance abuse treatment provider to taper off. This prevents withdrawal symptoms from appearing.

Lifestyle Changes to get off of Suboxone

Change your diet - Medical Health Daily

  • A diet designed to boost endorphins and other mood enhancing chemicals can help the withdrawal process in addition to the emotional effects of ending an addiction.
  • High-quality proteins are important. You should aim to get in 20-30 grams of protein 3 times a day. Opt for lean proteins like chicken, fish, and turkey.
  • Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as heart healthy fats that are found in olive oils, canola oils, avocados, and nuts.
  • The consumption of sugar and processed foods should be limited, if not cut out altogether. Make sure to drink a lot of water. Most experts recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but if you're detoxing from suboxone you might need to drink a bit more.

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