Suboxone ® is a medication approved for the treatment of opiate dependence. Suboxone ® contains both a partial antagonist and agonist, therefore making the patient using Suboxone prone to dependence. Suboxone ® contains both buprenorphine hydrochloride, which works to reduce the symptoms of opiate dependence and naloxone, to guard against misuse. Come in both 2 and 8 mg. tablets that are taken sublingually (under the tongue).Suboxone ® can cause drug dependence. This means that you can get opioid withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the medicine too quickly. Suboxone ® is not for occasional (“as needed”) use. Suboxone ® contains a narcotic painkiller that can be a target for people who abuse prescription medicines or street drugs.

Suboxone Uses

Suboxone is used in the management of addiction to opiates including heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl. It was approved in October 2002 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is a high-dose, sublingual (dissolves under the tongue) form of buprenorphine.

Suboxone is four parts buprenorphine and one part naloxone, an opioid antagonist that deters abuse of tablets by crushing, dissolving and intravenous injection. It is marketed in strengths of 2 mg and 8 mg and comes in an orange color and flavor. Buprenorphine is said to be 25 to 40 times as potent as morphine, and works by attaching to receptors in the brain and nervous system.

The use of methadone to treat opiate addiction has been standard in the past, but the number of prescriptions for Suboxone in in-patient rehab settings is rising steadily. The problem with treating an opiate addiction with an opiate is that patients must then be weaned from the replacement drug.

Suboxone Warnings

There is no major risk of overdose for people who take Suboxone for medium-to-long-term maintenance, as long as the drug is used as prescribed. It reduces withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate addiction, such as cramps, spasms, diarrhea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, cold sweats, aches, agitation, anxiety, insomnia and nightmares.

Suboxone can cause drowsiness and slowed reaction times. The potential for abuse exists but withdrawal is said to be milder with Suboxone when compared to stronger opiates. Chronic administration produces opioid-type physical dependence.  of the drug If a user suddenly stops taking Suboxone, opioid withdrawal symptoms can set in, so doctors gradually lower doses to prevent this. Doctors and drug treatment centers need to be certified to prescribe Suboxone.

Suboxone Side Effects and Potential Problems

The U.S. FDA lists the most common side effects of Suboxone use as:

  • Cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Sleep problems
  • Nausea
  • Mood swings

It can also cause breathing problems, especially in those who combine Suboxone with other depressants.

It is dangerous – potentially fatal- to mix Suboxone with drugs like benzodiazepines, alcohol, sleeping pills, antidepressants or other opiates. Mixing pills can lead to sedation, drowsiness, unconsciousness and death.

When used recreationally by addicts, Suboxone can cause feelings of euphoria and increased verbal communication.

For a more detailed list of adverse effects & withdrawal symptoms, visit our Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms page.

All Opiates Have an Addictive Nature

Because of the addictive nature of opiates including Buprenorphine, Suboxone, Fentanyl, Methadone and OxyContin , extreme care should be taken when prescribed. Unfortunately, the illicit drug trade and black market for such products makes them all the more dangerous.

Using an opiate to treat an opiate addiction may work for some, but is not effective for everyone. Detoxing from narcotics can cause extreme anxiety and withdrawal symptoms if not approached properly. Medically supervised detox programs are often recommended to help wean users from dangerous opiates.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to Suboxone and are looking for an opiate-free detox, we can help. Learn more about how to get off Suboxone here.

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