Understanding Suboxone Treatment: What Is It, and How Does It Work?

In modern times, the increased rate of opioid addiction is stressful. Multiple rehabilitation centers and teams are working to mitigate this problem. Suboxone treatment is considered to be among the best Medication Assisted Therapies (MAT) for substance abuse issues. Suboxone is a brand of medicine that reduces the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Suboxone is composed of two distinct medicines, Naloxone and Buprenorphine. Compared to other medications such as Methadone, Suboxone has a less potent effect on the same brain regions.

Why is Suboxone Treatment Preferred Over Other Drugs?

When choosing any treatment, there should be authentic reasons. Here are a few points that explain why Suboxone treatment is preferred:

  • Since Suboxone is only partially mimics stronger opioid drugs, Suboxone withdrawal has less side effects than full opioid agonists such as Methadone.
  • Moreover, the substance binds to mu-opioid receptors in our brains with great affinity and dissociates slowly, which can momentarily prevent the effects of other illegal substances.

When it comes to our opioid receptors in our brains, Buprenorphine functions as an antagonist and a partial agonist. It competes with other opioids such as methadone, heroin (diamorphine), and morphine at our m-opioid receptors. Buprenorphine binds to these receptors, creating a “ceiling” effect that prevents misuse. Also, this greatly reduces the risk of physical dependence.

Ingredients in Suboxone and Its Dosage

1.   Ingredients

Suboxone is made up of 20% Naloxone and 80% Buprenorphine.

 Buprenorphine

The primary ingredient, Buprenorphine, is a partial agonist of opioids. Consider the brain’s opioid receptors as a door. Most opioids have wide openings in your brain, but Buprenorphine only has partial openings, thus restricting access.

Naloxone

Naloxone is a blocker of opioids. If buprenorphine is misused or combined with other opioids, it stops the high. The desire to abuse Suboxone or relapse during or after the Suboxone Treatment is significantly reduced because the euphoric effects of the drug are no longer present.

2.   Dosage

There are four strengths available:

  • Buprenorphine 2 mg / 0.5 mg of Naloxone
  • Buprenorphine 4 mg / 1 mg of Naloxone
  • Buprenorphine 8 mg / 2 mg Naloxone
  • Buprenorphine 12 mg / 3 mg Naloxone

Administration of Suboxone and Its Mechanism of Action

1.   Administration

There are two forms of the generic version available: an oral tablet and an oral film. Suboxone dissolves in your mouth when it is placed under your tongue (sublingual) or between your gums and cheek (buccal).

Suboxone film must be placed under the tongue for the medication to properly enter the body. As the blog post is coming to an end, keep the following in mind:

  • Avoid chewing or swallowing the tablet. This may prevent the medication from acting as it should.
  • When the film is in your mouth, do not speak. This might also have an impact on the drug’s absorption.
  • A Suboxone film usually dissolves in approximately half an hour. Until the film completely dissolves, please refrain from chewing, swallowing, or moving it around in your mouth.

2.   Suboxone: How Does It Work?

Since suboxone binds to opioid receptors in the brain but does not completely activate them, it is still classified as an opioid. To prevent these receptors from being activated and producing a “high,” Suboxone prevents activity in our brain’s opioid receptors. When opioid receptors are blocked, the brain is prevented from sending signals that result in opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid activity is also blocked when heroin or prescription painkillers are used in conjunction with Suboxone, therefore preventing the “high” from occurring.

Phases of the Withdrawal Treatment:

  • Throughout the withdrawal phase, your healthcare provider will closely monitor you to assist you in managing your symptoms and adjusting your Suboxone dosage.
  • The dosage will be adjusted as necessary to help you avoid cravings and maintain  sobriety. Individual and group counseling will be provided to you to help you maintain your course and manage stress, negative thoughts, and coping mechanisms.
  • Your doctor may eventually determine that it’s time for you to begin tapering off the Suboxone based on your continued progress in recovery. In certain circumstances, your physician might advise you to take Suboxone continuously.

Adverse Effects of Suboxone Treatment

 Suboxone treatment can cause uncomfortable symptoms. Symptoms include but are not limited to: numbness of the tongue, burning sensations in the mouth, inflammation, headaches, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, constipation, and sleeplessness.  

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Long-term use of Suboxone treatment, which contains the opioid buprenorphine, can lead to physical dependence. Dependency and addiction are not the same thing, even though using a prescription drug can cause dependence and lead to withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using it.

Conclusion

In conclusion, addiction recovery is not a one-size-fits-all treatment. We recognize that to achieve long-term sobriety, each person has unique struggles that call for various forms of support. One drug that is frequently included in prescriptions for opioid use disorder (OUD) addiction treatment is Suboxone. Suboxone treatment lessens cravings and manages withdrawal symptoms, which aids in the cessation of opioid use. You might be curious to know how Suboxone can aid in recovery if you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction and is looking for help. In this blog, we have explained it all so that one may find it easy to get help.

References

  1. Addiction Center
  2. European Medicines Agency
  3. Journal of Addictive Diseases
  4. Springer Link: Buprenorphine/Naloxone
  5. WebMD: What’s The Difference Between Methadone and Suboxone?
  6. Medical News Today: Suboxone
  7. American Addiction Centers: Suboxone: Uses, Side Effects & Addiction
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