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People are given prescription medications based on the condition they have and the symptoms they are struggling with. Used responsibly, they can restore a person’s health and help them live a positive, fulfilling life.
But in some cases, people abuse their prescriptions and end up in a worse condition than when they started. The most commonly misused prescription medications are opiates and opioids. These are drugs that help patients who are suffering from moderate to severe pain.
Taken properly, they can provide pain relief. Misused, they can cause addiction, tolerance, and physical dependence.
Enter suboxone. This is a drug that can help patients with this exact problem. But what does it do and how does it work? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Suboxone for?
Opiates and opioids, also called narcotics, are derived from the opium poppy plant. Opiates are natural derivatives, while opioids are the synthetic and semi-synthetic versions. Both these drugs reduce pain, including cancer pain, traumatic pain, and post-surgical pain.
While providing pain relief, narcotics tend to create a euphoric sensation that gives its users a sense of wellbeing. It relaxes them and makes them feel good. It’s what makes these drugs habit-forming. Aware of this, some people use it recreationally to get high.
Suboxone is for addicted individuals: specifically those who have been abusing opiates or opioids. It is used in the treatment of opioid addiction, as a key part of the rehabilitation process.
How does it Work?
Suboxone is a combination drug made up of two main active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. It eradicates the effects of opiates and opioids in the user’s brain. It prevents the euphoric high from kicking in, while also keeping the person from experiencing withdrawal. It can also help ward off intense cravings that often cause people to relapse.
Buprenorphine is the key ingredient here. It is a partial opioid agonist, which means it takes the spot of opioids in the same receptors in the brain. By interacting with these receptors, it tricks the brain into thinking that an opioid was taken. The difference is that buprenorphine has a much lower risk of creating a high, meaning it is less likely to be abused.
So while the person is avoiding the high, their body is also avoiding the effects of withdrawal, including cravings.
Suboxone also contains naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist. It is added into the mix for the sole purpose of discouraging drug abuse. If someone were to tamper with suboxone, for example by injecting it into their bloodstream, they would immediately go into withdrawal. The user will crash.
Suboxone has a lower risk of abuse compared to other opioids, even though it is still considered an opioid itself: buprenorphine is also an opioid. And because of this, it is still possible to get addicted to suboxone.
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Misusing this drug involves taking much larger doses than recommended. Users who are desperate to get high will leap at the chance to abuse this opioid.
If you know someone who is addicted to suboxone, help them get on the path towards sobriety. The best way to recover from addiction is with a combination of behavioral therapy and medical detox.
In a controlled environment, their suboxone intake may be monitored more closely, so that they receive its intended effects. But it works best when done alongside techniques that address the root causes of addiction. Counseling and group therapy may work wonders alongside suboxone.
Look for an addiction treatment near you today!