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The Unknown Side Effects of Suboxone

Suboxone can cause dysphoria and may not be effective for some opiate dependency patients because of the "ceiling effect"

Suboxone is used to treat opiate dependency because it is a partial agonist, and is composed of both antagonists, drugs that block the body’s biological response to an opiate, and agonists, drugs that activate the opiate receptors.  The antagonist works to prevent users from experiencing the euphoria or numbness of the drug, while the opiate agonist reduces the symptoms of withdrawal.  Because of its composition, Suboxone has a lower risk of abuse and dependency and can be effective in treating opiate dependency.  However, since it still contains opiates, it can cause dependency and many patients must be weaned off of the drug at the end of their treatment program.  Additionally, Suboxone users can still experience withdrawal symptoms and other  side effects.

One of the more surprising possible reported side effects of Suboxone is that it can cause dysphoria.  This mood disorder is an emotional and mental condition, which causes an individual to experience very negative feelings, like depression, restlessness, anxiety and irritability.  Those who suffer from a dysphoric mood are at a heightened risk of suicide, especially if they are experiencing extreme depression.  This condition takes many Suboxone users by surprise, since it is usually not a side effect that physicians warn their patients about.  There could be  a number of different causes and factors involved in an individual’s experiencing dysphoria, including drug use, hormones, environmental factors, and mental health.  As a result, dysphoric moods can vary from person to person and can range in intensity from mild emotions to very overwhelming and severe feelings.

Another side effect of Suboxone is what is called the “ceiling effect.”  Usually after a certain point of Suboxone use, the drug will no longer have any effect and increasing the dosage will not cause a reaction, which is due to its composition of agonists and antagonists.  Once the dosage hits a plateau, users will not be able to get high, but they also will not be at risk for overdose or respiratory depression.  For some dependency patients, this is ideal because it helps relieve withdrawal symptoms, however for some heavy opiate users this could precipitate the opioid withdrawal syndrome.

If you or a loved one is struggling with dependency to prescription painkillers, we urge you to contact your medical physicians.  For more information on choosing an opiate detox program for yourself or a loved one, please feel free to contact our office directly.  The Waismann Method is a safe and proven treatment for opiate dependency that utilizes the most advanced medical techniques available.  The rapid opiate detoxification procedure is carried out in a full-service hospital in Southern California by board-certified anesthesiologists while patients remain under deep sedation, so they experience minimal conscious withdrawal or suffering.

Sources:

  1. http://www.fda.gov/
  2. http://buprenorphine.samhsa.gov/about.html
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