Suboxone is a semi-synthetic opioid commonly used to treat individuals suffering from mental and physical opioid addiction. Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone which in combination act as a partial agonist to the opioid receptors of the person taking the drug.
The purpose of the naloxone contained in the drug is to reduce the effect of the buprenorphine which results in the individual experiencing a “partial” high as opposed to a “full” or more potent high that one would experience when taking related, full opioid agonist drugs such as heroin, oxycontin, and morphine.
Suboxone is one of the two most common treatments for opioid dependence, the other being methadone. Suboxone has proven to be more successful than methadone in getting addicts off opiates for the long run because the withdrawal symptoms after usage are much lighter than that of methadone. Suboxone is available in both pill form as well as sublingual film.
The sublingual film has been said to be much more convenient for many people because of the taste and ease of cutting the strips into smaller doses (necessary for tapering off of the drug).
Important Suboxone Information
Suboxone is a controlled substance only available by prescription. One must present proof of withdrawal symptoms in order to qualify for treatment. If not taken as directed, Suboxone can cause serious risks and even death by respiratory failure or other causes.
As with any opiate, Suboxone can lead to dependence which is why it is important to follow your doctor’s orders and take it as directed. This usually means tapering off to a very small dose per day until you finally discontinue taking it.
After discontinuation of Suboxone, the patient will still experience mild to moderate Suboxone withdrawal symptoms; however, the withdrawal symptoms should be much less intense than if the patient were to simply quit (cold turkey) taking opiates without any administered treatment.
It is extremely important for the individual taking Suboxone to taper off to a very small dose before quitting. Otherwise, the Suboxone Withdrawal symptoms can be quite intense, causing the individual to relapse in order to escape the pain.
Of course, as with any opiate, driving or operating machinery should be avoided at all costs. Although the effect is usually slight, Suboxone still alters an individual’s senses and motor skills and negative consequences can result if driving or operating machinery under the influence of the drug. In addition, It is very important that the patient take Suboxone as directed by their doctor and consult their doctor if any unexpected or bothersome symptoms arise.
Suboxone should never be combined with any other depressant drugs such as Xanax, Valium, alcohol, morphine, heroin, or any of the like as serious negative consequences can occur including death.
Before making the decision to begin Suboxone treatment; you should talk with your doctor and get as much information about Suboxone as you can to make sure you understand the risks and help you decide if Suboxone is the right treatment option for your needs.
What You Should Know Before Taking Suboxone
Don’t take Suboxone if any of the following apply to you:
- You do not have a proper prescription for Suboxone
- You are allergic to any of the chemicals contained in Suboxone (Naloxone, Buprenorphine, etc.)
- You are not seriously addicted to opiates
- You don’t have a serious desire to quit taking opiates (chances are you’ll relapse)
Do not take Suboxone until you have discussed the following conditions with your doctor:
- Difficulty breathing
- Any Lung problems
- Any liver problems
- Any kidney or gallbladder problems
- Any problems urinating
- Anxiety or mental disorders
- Thyroid problems
- And many other conditions not listed here (talk with your doctor)
If you have any of the above conditions, you may not be able to take Suboxone or you might need special monitoring while using Suboxone. You can get more complete information regarding Suboxone treatment from your doctor.
How Should You Take Suboxone?
You should take Suboxone exactly as directed by your doctor and never abuse the drug by taking more than directed or combining it with other potentially dangerous drugs such as methadone, morphine, Xanax, heroin, or alcohol.
If you and your doctor decide that Suboxone is the right solution for your needs, then you will have more than one option for how you can take it. One option will be to take the Suboxone Pill which will require you to break a piece of the pill off and put it under your tongue, allowing it to dissolve. The other option is to take the Suboxone Film sublingual strips in which case you will cut off a piece of the strip and let it dissolve under your tongue as well.
Some people are irritated by the taste so if you don’t like the taste of the Suboxone pills then you might want to switch to the film strips.
You don’t want to chew Suboxone. It will not have the proper effect and may halter its ability to help you overcome your opiate addiction problem. Do not change your dose consumption unless you talk with your doctor first.
You should wait for at least 12 to 18 hours after your last dose of any opiates before taking Suboxone as it may otherwise cause precipitated withdrawal symptoms (which can be extremely intense and painful). Your doctor will require you to be in opiate withdrawal at the time of your first administered dose of Suboxone.
The doctor (or a medical assistant) will watch you closely in order to observe the effect that it has on you and to determine the necessary dose required to effectively eliminate any opiate withdrawal symptoms that you’re currently experiencing.
Taking Suboxone can also cause constipation, because of this, your doctor will probably ask you to drink plenty of water while taking the drug and you may even be instructed to take laxatives as well.
If you begin experiencing chronic constipation, you should consult your doctor about an alternative solution. Again, the more information you have about Suboxone, the better prepared you’ll be when you begin treatment.
Suboxone Side Effects
As with all drugs, Suboxone also comes with potential side effects. If you experience any of the following negative sides effects, you should seek medical attention from your doctor immediately:
- Allergic reaction
- Difficulty breathing or slow breathing
- Irregular heartbeat or abnormally slow heartbeat
- Lung irritation or problems breathing
- Pain in the liver or kidneys
- Bleeding in the stool from intense constipation
The following are more common and less serious side effects:
- Mild pain
- Mild insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Throwing up or nausea
- Mild sweating and sweating in your sleep
- Mild stomach pain and/or cramps
- Mild depression
- Trouble focusing on activities
- Sexual frustration
This is a limited list of side effects. Other side effects may also occur. Again, make sure to consult with your doctor if any serious side effects occur while taking Suboxone.
Where Can I Get More Suboxone Information?
You can always get a wealth of Suboxone information from your doctor or you can visit the manufacturer’s official website: www.suboxone.com