Buprenorphine (Suboxone) Overview
Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist that includes buprenorphine and naloxone to treat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that works with the same brain receptors that are normally triggered by opioids. However, buprenorphine does not create the same effects that opioids do. Therefore, patients will be relieved from the physical symptoms associated with withdrawal and will experience diminished cravings for additional opioid use. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist (also called an “opioid blocker”) that counteracts the effects of opioids. By diminishing the effects of opioids, patients are able to focus on the other components of recovery.
The first tab below presents more information about Suboxone, however, it is important to understand that Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) programs, like The Fresh Start Program that WCC offers as one of its principle services, integrates medicines such as suboxone in a 'whole-person' treatment model that is fundamental to its core mission and philosophy. Review the information below in the context of of WCC's integrated psychotherapy services and MAT model.
Extensive research has confirmed the safety and effectiveness of Suboxone for the treatment of opioid addictions when it is taken under the supervision of a qualified medical professional within a medication assisted treatment program. Patients who have been prescribed Suboxone have reported that the medication effectively lessened the symptoms of withdrawal and minimized cravings for additional opioids. Since Suboxone does not create the euphoric feelings that are often associated with opioid consumption, patients are less likely to abuse it. If a patient were to attempt to abuse Suboxone, he or she will not experience the same euphoric high that can be achieved when abusing opioids, such as OxyContin or Vicodin. Since there are other medication options available, it is important to first discuss all treatment options with your physician prior to starting Suboxone to ensure that you are obtaining the most appropriate form of treatment available. By utilizing Suboxone within a medication-assisted treatment program, patients are able to achieve the mental clarity required to fully focus on their recovery.
Defeating an opioid addiction can be extremely tiring and overwhelming. Once an individual becomes addicted to an opioid, he or she will eventually experience the symptoms associated with withdrawal if the opioid use suddenly ceases. One of the biggest reasons why people continue to use and abuse opioids is the fear of the painful symptoms of withdrawal. By incorporating Suboxone into one’s comprehensive treatment plan, the symptoms of withdrawal can be averted, which makes long-term recovery achievable. Although incorporating Suboxone into one’s treatment can be extremely beneficial during the process of recovery, it is also important for a person to utilize therapeutic interventions in order to focus on the emotional components of addiction. By taking part in both individual and group therapy, patients are given a higher chance of achieving long-term recovery. Individual therapy provides patients with a forum to openly discuss their progress and setbacks in a one-on-one setting with a qualified counselor. Group therapy gives patients the opportunity to come together with their peers to gain support and encouragement in a therapeutic setting.
How To Be Successful With A MAT Program
Making the decision to take part in a medication-assisted treatment program is a fantastic first step towards recovery. It is important, however, to remember to play an active role in your entire therapeutic process. The following are key points to keep in mind throughout the entire recovery process:
Adhere to any and all directions provided to you by your treatment provider regarding the treatment process as a whole.
Consistently show up for all appointments in which to receive Suboxone.
Follow any suggestions and guidelines that are put in place, such as abstaining from the consumptions of alcohol while taking Suboxone.
Play an active role in group therapy sessions in order to make the most out of the therapeutic experience.
Pledge to be truthful and open with your counselor throughout the therapeutic process. Remember, your counselor is there to help you, not hinder your progression. Your honesty will positively aid you throughout the entire process.
Openly communicate any questions, concerns, or issues that may take place while taking Suboxone. It is important to let your treatment provider know of any issues in order for him or her to properly monitor your progress. Adjustments can be made to your medication and its dosage if an issue should occur.
Abstain from using opioids while taking Suboxone.
Support Your Loved One During Treatment
Addiction touches all who are involved, not just the individual who is physically using a substance. If someone you love is battling an opioid addiction and is taking part in a medication assisted treatment program, it is important to play an active role in his or her recovery process. It is also important to keep the following tips in mind:
Learn about Suboxone, as well as the other treatment options, so that you are able to gain a deeper understanding of what your loved one is experiencing throughout the entire treatment process.
Encourage your loved one to continuously attend meetings or appointments that he or she has scheduled.
Show your support by asking your loved one about the treatment progress and how the medication is affecting him or her.
Remind yourself that the road to long-term recovery can take time and can be filled with bumps along the way. The road can include setbacks, but during these times of frustration, it is important to remind your loved one to remain optimistic and hopeful.
Side Effects of Buprenorphine (Suboxone)
Like most medications, it is possible to experience side effects while taking Suboxone. Potential ones include chills, headache, generalized pain, nausea, drowsiness, sweating, constipation, numb mouth, painful tongue, and blurred vision. Other side effects are weakness, infections, low blood pressure, attention disturbances, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, and feeling light-headed or dizzy. You may also experience coordination problems, irregular heartbeat, back and abdominal pain, and fainting.It is important to make your physician aware should any of these side effects take place so that he or she can properly adjust your dosage or medication if necessary. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at (203) 245-0412.
Additional resources on Buprenorphine (Suboxone) in the context of Addictive Disorders.
Suboxone - How to Take it:
Treating & Preventing Opioid Overdose:
Women and Family Life Center:
CVS Pharmacy (Down the Street: 613 Boston Post Rd, Madison) Obtain Narcan and How to Use it:
How to use various forms of Naloxone (Narcan):
WVU Naloxone First Aid Video:
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