Who should consider Suboxone therapy?
- Dependent and/or addicted to opiates and have struggled to self-detoxify.
- Individuals who relapse using opiates because of cravings or prolonged physical withdrawal symptoms.
- Individuals who have “failed” opiate treatment in the past who have not previously been treated with Suboxone but who strongly desire to live clean and sober.
- Individuals who have been treated by Pain Management doctors with opiates who desire to get off the opiate medication they are taking.
Is Suboxone an Opiate?
Suboxone contains Buprenorphine which is an opiate. This medication addresses the physical withdrawal and emotional craving for opiates. Suboxone is a tool for helping to stabilize in early recovery, the medication is then tapered over time once a solid recovery is established.
Is there withdrawal from Suboxone?
Yes. The withdrawal is described on many websites in many different ways. If an individual suddenly stops taking Suboxone, they will “get sick” for a period of a few days to a week. When a patient has slowly tapered their Suboxone dose over time, the significance of physical withdrawal is very limited and can be treated effectively with small amounts of safe medications.
It is important to note, many people are extremely intolerant of ANY withdrawal symptoms, regardless of what they were using. This is often why so many people struggle for many years to get clean. Treatment with Suboxone is a stabilizing tool, allowing people committed to recovery to start the process of behavior change. By stabilizing the powerful brain chemistry problems caused by opiate abuse, the brain begins to heal.
Is Suboxone safer than Methadone?
Yes. The medical evidence supports the following facts; there are far fewer deaths associated with treatment for addiction with Suboxone than deaths associated with treatment for addiction with methadone. The reason for this is methadone is more reinforcing, meaning, people get a buzz and can abuse their methadone. In addition, people can use other opiates on top of methadone and have cumulative effects. The drug buprenorphine in Suboxone blocks the ability of other opiates to have an effect making people less likely to abuse other opiates. Suboxone is also far less reinforcing thereby patients are less tempted to return to prior drug-use behavior.
What if I break my leg or have a painful event while taking Suboxone?
Suboxone contains buprenorphine, an opiate which has significant pain relief benefits. If a traumatic event occurs, it is possible, with the guidance of your physician to develop a safe plan to increase the buprenorphine dose for a short period of time and use other medications such as anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing medications to help control pain as healing takes place.
What if I need Surgery?
Surgical treatment, whether emergent or planned is unchanged in the presence of Suboxone. In anticipation for an upcoming surgical procedure it is simple to stop the medication the day of surgery and receive normal post-operative opiate analgesia for a period of time. Most of our patients undergoing orthopedic procedures, convert back to Suboxone mid-way through their rehabilitation process reporting very good secondary pain relief benefit and they report feeling “safer” on the Suboxone as it is less reinforcing.
Will Suboxone work for you?
Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction requires that you be committed to the path of clean and sober living. Living in recovery is a process that begins with stabilizing your brain chemistry and embracing a new structure of social and professional support to enable you to be successful. The medication is a tool to help initiate and maintain recovery, but you must be at least ready to consider living your life free of drugs and alcohol.
What about Suboxone in the maintenance of Recovery?
Scientists know the addicted brain remembers the experience of getting high. People with a history of chronic opiate relapse, who otherwise function and live clean and sober lives while taking Suboxone, may choose to remain on Suboxone for a longer period of time to avoid memory, stress or cue triggered relapse. The medical literature has shown no difference in the severity of withdrawal symptoms based on the duration of Suboxone therapy. In addition, there have been no long-term published side effects unique to Suboxone therapy.