What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist/antagonist that is comprised of both buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is capable of partially binding to opioid receptors in the brain, helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Naloxone (the main ingredient in Narcan) is a full opioid agonist that completely blocks opioid receptors. It is effective in preventing misuse, overdose, and the potential revival of those who have suffered an opioid overdose.
Suboxone is most often consumed via a sublingual film, but is also available in tablet form. Both the film and the tablet are designed to be dissolved under the tongue (or sublingually). It is imperative for someone who is utilizing Suboxone for recovery purposes to make sure the tablet or film is fully dissolved in order to benefit from the full effect of it. This allows for fast entry into the blood system, helping to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Once taken, Suboxone reaches the opioid receptors in the brain and starts binding to and interacting with them. That action results in minimized withdrawal symptoms (such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, etc.) and manageable cravings, if any. If you are including Suboxone into your overall treatment plan, you will begin to benefit from it in these ways, but only if you take it as prescribed. The abuse of Suboxone in any way, shape, or form can be detrimental to your wellbeing, as consuming large amounts of this prescription medication can produce mind-altering and addictive effects.
What Happens If I Miss a Dose?
It is not uncommon for people to miss a dose of any medication — sometimes life gets busy! But if you are prescribed Suboxone and miss a dose, it is important not to just quickly take your dose the second you remember. Instead, the National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment (NAABT) recommends taking it when you remember, but only if it’s only been just a few hours since you forgot. Taking Suboxone doses too close together isn’t harmful, rather it is just ineffective and can throw off your schedule. If you have not taken Suboxone for several days in a row for whatever reason, and want to take another dose, you may need to reach out to your prescriber for further guidance.
How Long Should I Be On Suboxone?
Heroin is a dangerous drug derived from the opium poppy. It is illegal in the United States. Heroin is highly addictive. Drug rehab centers often use another drug, Suboxone, to help people break their heroin addictions. Read on for more information on Suboxone and its use in treating heroin addiction.
When you abuse a drug like heroin, your body develops a tolerance for it. This means that you must take increasing dosages of heroin in order to get the same high. When you attempt to quit using heroin, you experience withdrawal symptoms, including the following:
- Feeling jittery
- Getting chills
- Muscle aches and pains
Suboxone is a drug that contains buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is used to treat not only heroin addiction but other opioid addictions, too. Buprenorphine, a partial agonist to opioids, produces a mild form of the effects of opioids. It basically fools the brain into thinking your opioid craving has been met, though it does not produce the same high. However, because Buprenorphine and Suboxone do not create the same high as opioids, Suboxone and Buprenorphine are difficult to form an addiction to. Naloxone, another component of Suboxone, works as an antagonist to opioids.
Length of Use for Suboxone
Suboxone is a drug that must usually be taken for a long time to promote opioid recovery. Because Suboxone is a partial agonist, it still allows people to form some opioid dependence. When addicts attempt to stop taking Suboxone, they need to taper their dosage under the care of a medical professional.
People who take Suboxone for a short period, such as a month, usually end up relapsing and returning to opioid abuse. Thus, Suboxone should be taken for an extended period. Taking it for six months to one year is the norm, and many people take it for even longer. However, every patient is different. A medical professional can monitor the patient’s progress and advise on how long each patient should take Suboxone.
Dangers of Long-Term Suboxone Use
While taking Suboxone can be highly beneficial in your recovery, using it long-term can be dangerous. This is a drug that is only meant to be used for the short period of time when your body is detoxing from opioids and is adjusting to that physiological change. When Suboxone is used more than that, it can produce the reemergence of withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Lack of motivation
- Joint and muscle pain
Long-term Suboxone use can also cause the development of psychosis, which is characterized by mental health symptoms that signal a loss of touch with reality. The National Alliance on Mental Health (NIMH) reports that psychosis can result in the following symptoms:
- Incoherent speech
- Sleep problems
- Problems with general functionality
Since Suboxone is opioid-based, the continued use of it can also lead to issues that commonly occur in those addicted to other opioids like heroin, fentanyl, and oxycodone. Suboxone is know for containing naloxone, which blocks the opioid receptors, but when it is taken in large doses, it can be habit-forming. Therefore, it is not unusual to experience symptoms such as cravings, inability to stop using despite wanting to, developing withdrawal symptoms when unable to use, and suffering financial, professional, and legal issues.
Suboxone is not a life-long prescription drug. Continuing to take it can not only cause some or all of these symptoms to develop, but can also result in long-term physical and emotional damage and destruction.
Signs and Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal
Suboxone is designed to help make opioid withdrawal less intense and more manageable. But when Suboxone is being abused, suddenly stopping that abuse can trigger the development of its own set of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can come on fast and continue to linger for up to a month after use has ceased.
Common symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal include the following:
- Body aches
- Problems concentrating
The severity of these symptoms plus the period of time that they continue for is usually related to the intensity of the Suboxone abuse. This means that those who abused Suboxone for a long-time and/or in large amounts are more likely to experience prolonged, painful withdrawal symptoms than those who were only engaged in mild to moderate Suboxone use for a short period of time.
Suboxone Therapy & Treatment in Florida
Suboxone should be used only under the guidance provided in a professional treatment program or under the care of a healthcare professional. Rehab clinicians can administer the correct dosage, and Suboxone can also be prescribed by a doctor. By pairing Suboxone with other therapies, clinicians and physicians can help addicts fight their addictions. Genesis House in Florida helps individuals struggling with long-term Suboxone use live a life free from addiction. Call us today for help at 800-737-0933