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Over 2.5 million Americans are struggling with substance abuse disorders. Opiates and opioids are among the most commonly misused substances. This is perhaps due to the fact that these drugs are easily accessible. They are cheaper and easier to obtain compared to illicit drugs, and they can provide a similar high.
And so millions of people seek out addiction treatment every year, and many of them receive suboxone treatment. But what exactly is suboxone and what does it do? How does it help a person fight drug use? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription medicine that contains the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. This means it’s a combination drug. It is used to treat adults who are physically dependent on certain drugs, particularly opioids.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved suboxone because of the growing health concern involving opioid abuse. Suboxone can help suppress withdrawal symptoms during the process of medical detox.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist which has a long half-life, meaning it can stay in your bloodstream for up to 3 days, depending on the dosage.
Naloxone is an opioid agonist, which means it is a deterrent for those who want to abuse the drug.
Suboxone works best when used as a part of a complete treatment plan, such as inpatient treatment, wherein the patient can receive counseling and psychosocial support. The reason for this is suboxone is actually addictive itself. It’s not as potent as other opioids, and the risk of addiction is much lower. But it is still an opioid, and can still be abused. People do take this drug recreationally, because it produces a euphoric high when taken in large doses.
That is where the risk comes from. Suboxone should be used under the direction of physicians. Its purpose is to get rid of addiction, but if misused, it can create the same problem. This means, the physical aspect of addiction should be managed alongside the mental and emotional effects. Sobriety cannot be achieved if you just treat one part of the problem.
Some patients may use suboxone at home—this is for those who don’t misuse suboxone; those who are maximizing its benefits to recover from the effects of substance abuse.
How Is It Used?
Suboxone generally comes in the form of a film that can be placed under the tongue or inside the cheek, where it can be diluted. It is available in four dosage strengths. Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate one for you or your loved one’s condition.
Buprenorphine, as a partial agonist, prevents other opioids from attaching to the same receptors, thereby blocking their effects. Naloxone, on the other hand, does the same thing—it may cause withdrawal symptoms. This is why suboxone must be used under medical supervision.
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While it still has abuse potential, the risk is much lower. People who are taking suboxone should be trying their best to recover from their previous addiction. It is better if they would not substitute one addiction for another. It may seem ironic that suboxone itself can cause addiction, but it’s one of the best substances for combating substance abuse. Use it wisely.
Look for an addiction treatment center near you today!