Medication Assisted Treatment- Suboxone/Buprenorphine

Opioid addiction is one of the hardest addictions to battle and has become an epidemic in the United States. Many times, an addiction occurs due to patients who are struggling with chronic pain or recovering from an injury or surgery.

But opioids are habit-forming, meaning that once patients start taking them, it can become a challenge to stop. This is especially true in patients who have certain co-occurring mental health conditions along with a substance abuse disorder.

It’s not just prescribed opioids that people abuse, either. Heroin is also a highly addictive, life-threatening opioid.

One of the more effective treatments of opioid dependency has been medication-assisted treatment (MAT). FDA approved since 2002, medication-assisted treatment has delivered promising results.

MAT uses different medications that have the active ingredient of buprenorphine. Suboxone film, for example, is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. 

This type of medication is a partial opioid agonist, and there are key characteristics to what a partial opioid agonist can do.

First, it is important to note that buprenorphine is still considered an opioid. However, what makes it useful in medication-assisted treatment is that it helps patients who are physically dependent on opioids to slowly reduce and eventually eliminate opioid use entirely. Because buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, it only partially stimulates the opioid receptors in the brain. This means that it satisfies your brain’s craving for opioids without creating a high. This can help remove the psychological aspect to opioid addiction and give you the ability to slowly remove the physical addiction as well.

Suboxone in your opioid treatment program means you don’t have to quit “cold turkey.” Instead, you decrease your body’s dependence to opioids by taking a partial opioid agonist. 

This type of therapy might seem unusual. You might be thinking, “How am I supposed to recover from opioid addiction if I’m using medications that activate my brain’s opioid receptors?”

Interestingly, research shows that taking Suboxone can actually be extremely effective in helping opioid dependent patients toward a successful, long-term recovery. While there’s a common misconception that MAT “trades one drug for another,” there is a world of difference between taking Suboxone and abusing opioids. Not only does Suboxone not create a high at prescribed dosages, but it gives you the means to regain control of your life.

Suboxone: What Are the Pros and Cons?

Suboxone is specifically meant to help patients fight an opiate addiction. Recovery programs most commonly prescribe Suboxone film because it is easier to take as a dissolvable medicine.

As with any medication, there are some risks. Suboxone has the possibility of causing:

  • Breathing problems
  • Allergic reaction
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Physical dependence (when abused)

Since Suboxone is combination of buprenorphine and naloxone and is a partial opioid agonist, there is always a chance that patients using Suboxone for addiction treatment could end up physically dependent on this medication.

However, when patients use Suboxone as prescribed and with medical supervision in a recovery program, the benefits often outweigh the risks.

Here are some of the pros of taking Suboxone:

  • It is proven to help decrease drug cravings during detox.
  • It helps patients become less physically dependent to opioids.
  • It reduces the chance of uncomfortable or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

There are a lot of benefits to taking Suboxone, but this medication should always be used in a supervised setting. Additionally, patients who take Suboxone for medication-assisted treatment should also participate in a recovery program that offers emotional and behavioral treatment as well to ensure a successful, healthy recovery.

Dr. Sasse and his trained staff members will guide you toward the MAT program that’s right for your specific needs. Call us today.