Given its effectiveness, Suboxone is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for those looking to overcome an opiate addiction. It’s easy to understand why in light of the medication’s capacity to ease withdrawal symptoms while also producing a less intense “high.” Suboxone is comprised of two separate medications, Naloxone and Buprenorphine, which offer unique benefits when it comes to helping individuals break free of their addiction. As such, it is not surprising to find that many people want to continue using the Suboxone long-term rather than just using Suboxone during detox. In this article, we will take a look at the consequences of long-term use and why it should be avoided.
What Is Suboxone?
Although we touched in this briefly in the preface of the article, contains Naloxone, which is highly effective in easing the excruciating pain symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. The medication can also be used to reverse an opioid overdose. Basically, the drug acts as an antagonist by binding to opioid receptors and blocking the transmission of opioids to the brain. Also, it prevents agonist, the chemical compound that elicits a physiological response when combined with brain receptors.
Now that we have a general understanding of the role of Naloxone, let’s focus our attention on Buprenorphine. Unlike naloxone, buprenorphine works by attaching to opioid receptors and stimulating them, which makes it possible to soothe withdrawal symptoms without eliciting the same feelings of euphoria and sedation typical of other opioids. This is why Suboxone during detox can be a game-changer.
The Pros and Cons of Suboxone
Suboxone has helped countless people overcome their addictions, but it is important to remember that this medication can be abused. If you or a loved one is considering taking Suboxone, research all of the potential side effects first. Even though Suboxone is safer than most street drugs, it still has addictive properties. Overdosing on Suboxone can result in suppressed breathing, a slowed heartbeat, loss of coordination, and mood swings.
This medication is generally given to those who are going through severe opiate withdrawals. Over time, many people are able to taper off Suboxone until they are completely sober. Most physicians and addiction specialists suggest tapering off over the course of 60 days. By the third month, the majority of the withdrawal symptoms should have completely disappeared. During that time, no other opiates or depressants can be taken. Mixing Suboxone with alcohol or any other drugs can result in permanent organ failure or death.
What are the Effects of Long-Term Suboxone Use?
In short, long-term Suboxone usage increases the likelihood of addiction; in fact, according to a report published by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), the misuse of Suboxone resulted in 3,000 emergency room visits in 2005 and exceeded 30,000 in 2010. Although the inclusion of Naloxone as a deterrent to abuse is effective, some individuals have found ways of bypassing this safeguard.
That said, some people have been known to vacillate between Suboxone and their primary drug of choice. Needless to say, such actions can quickly result in relapse. So why are so many people interested in long-term use even after they have undergone detox? Most likely it is for the high that is derived from the medication and to resolve any residual symptoms they may be experiencing, physical or psychological.
How to Take Suboxone Properly
Suboxone can be taken in a variety of ways; however, patients who undergo treatment are usually prescribed sublingual tablets, which can be dissolved under the tongue before being absorbed by the body. In addition, the medication is also available as a sublingual film; in this case, the film is placed against the interior cheek wall where it will dissolve before being absorbed by the body. That said, both variations work by releasing small doses of Suboxone over a 10-minute time frame.
Although the medication can be administered in a variety of ways, the pill form of Suboxone is a preferred choice when it comes to short-term treatment. Most patients will be started on a very low dose of Suboxone, usually 6 to 8 mg. This low dose allows physicians to gauge the effectiveness of the medication as well as patient tolerance. That aside, if patients abuse or abruptly stop taking Suboxone, they are usually presented with the following symptoms:
- Muscle aches
Obviously, this is not an entire list of symptoms; however, it is a list of the ones commonly reported by current and former patients.
In summation, opioid addiction is one of the most challenging addictions for anyone to overcome. After all, the substances are highly addictive, easily accessible, and provides a feeling of euphoria that some find insatiable. While Suboxone can be helpful during the detox, long-term use should be avoided in light of the possibility of abuse, addiction, and relapse.
A more plausible alternative would be to combine short-term Suboxone use with counseling, which can include learning to cope with stress and avoiding triggers that can lead to relapse, for example. Also, it worth noting that many find the support of friends and family invaluable while they are their journey towards breaking their addiction. Call one of our counselors today at 844-903-2111.