Those enrolled in medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder are often prescribed Suboxone®, a medicine that can help minimize the discomfort of opioid withdrawal. While Suboxone® is also an opioid, it’s a partial agonist, meaning it doesn’t produce intense euphoria like more potent opioid drugs while allowing the patient to manage their opioid addiction safely.
Suboxone® comes in two forms: a sublingual film or oral tablet, making it easy and discrete to dispense and take for both treatment facility staff and patients. A medical provider who prescribes Suboxone® will assess a patient’s dosage of the medication based on their health history, current opioid usage, and overall physical wellness. This can prevent or ease their withdrawal symptoms, making early abstinence from opioid use almost unbearable for many, making the idea of recovery seem impossible.
The buprenorphine in Suboxone® binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, helping reduce cravings and the feeling of sickness that withdrawal can cause. With its ceiling effect, it can be taken safely by those with opioid use disorder without causing extreme highs, or severe respiratory depression, reducing the potential for overdose.
Naloxone, an opioid agonist, is also found in Suboxone® and works to block or reverse the effects of opioids in the body when ingested. This component of the medication is used as a deterrent for those in treatment because it will cause instant withdrawal symptoms in the body if opioids are misused while taking the drug.
Just like all opioids, Suboxone® carries some common side effects, but its medicinal benefits far outweigh the mild discomfort some may face when first starting their prescription:
Mouth and tongue soreness
There are other side effects that are less common. Still, with continual and clear communication between patient and medical provider who prescribes Suboxone®, many in opioid addiction treatment will find much success with the medication.
Taking Suboxone® as prescribed by a medical provider is generally safe and effective for most patients who will embark on opioid use disorder treatment. However, there are rare cases of more severe complications that may occur.
Allergic reactions: A patient allergic to Suboxone® may experience rashes, hives, itching, or wheezing due to anaphylaxis. In rare cases, this can cause one’s blood pressure to drop suddenly, leading to fainting. Emergency medical attention is imperative in these instances.
Liver disease: Some patients may develop liver complications that can induce jaundice, abdomen pain, nausea, and changes in stool or urine. A medical provider should be made aware of these symptoms immediately.
Dependency: Because Suboxone® is an opioid, users who take the medication outside of prescribed dosages can become dependent due to misuse.
Suboxone® is a breakthrough medication that has been helping thousands of people with opioid use disorder across the country. Our knowledgeable staff and medical providers are prepared to answer any questions or concerns a prospective patient may have before enrolling in our outpatient programs. Check out our handy guide, or contact us today to get started.