Suboxone is a mixture of naloxone and buprenorphine. Its typically used in the management of opioid abuse and is designed to counteract the effects of taking an opioid at the same time as taking Suboxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist; it simply works to reduce the effects of withdrawing from an opioid such as methadone or heroin. Naloxone prevents opioid overdose and also prevents most opioids from delivering a euphoric effect, which generally prevents the user from administering the opioid. Its available as a sublingual film and has a rather nice lemon taste. It is also available as a tablet, and both are interchangeable. It typically comes in 2 mg and 8 mg forms.
Signs and Symptoms
Suboxone is used in the treatment of opioid addiction, so its rare that Suboxone addiction occurs. Consequently, the signs and symptoms of Suboxone treatment are more about the usual side effects of regular use.
As with Subutex, Suboxone contains buprenorphine, and its very hard to overdose on this particular drug. The ceiling seems to max out at around 32 mg, which means that higher doses wont produce measurable effects, making the drug safer to use. The addition of naloxone ensures that the effects of other opiates and opioids are blocked, although this is a bit redundant as buprenorphine has a much higher affinity for the opioid receptors than naloxone. It also makes the drug pointless to inject, thereby reducing Suboxone abuse. There is no typical treatment length as it depends on the addicts situation.
However, just because it cannot be abused by injection doesn’t mean its completely free of abuse potential. Suboxone can still be taken without a prescription, which is illegal, and a higher dose than prescribed can still be used. It can also be mixed with other drugs, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, to give a more intense high.
Generally, signs of this sort of abuse involve random packages appearing at one’s home or work, faster than expected use of the drug, unusual behavior, and similar issues. Generally, benzodiazepines should not be prescribed with anything containing buprenorphine. In addition, benzodiazepines have a high potential for abuse, so if they are prescribed, the prescribing doctor must watch out for signs of addiction to these drugs as well as the initial addiction that led to the prescription of the Suboxone.
Effects of Suboxone Abuse
As Suboxone is relatively hard to abuse when its prescribed, there are few major effects of Suboxone use. Naturally, you’ve got the standard side effects, including irritability, issues with sleeping, constipation, and jitteriness, but you’ve also got the usual problems with flu-like symptoms when withdrawing. You don’t get the big dilated pupils often associated with opioids, and most people can function fairly well on the drug.
Thats not to say there are no consequences for being on Suboxone. If you’re driving and end up causing a crash, you can be prosecuted for driving under the influence of drugs. In addition, you might find that your workplace may require you to declare that you’re on opiates or opioids when working. There are a number of tests that will detect Suboxone, although they’re not typically present in standard five-panel or nine-panel drug tests.
Financially, Suboxone abuse can be expensive. Its around three times more expensive than methadone, which is one of the drugs of choice for combatting opioid addiction.
Suboxone Abuse Treatment
As with any opioid, Suboxone abuse treatment usually follows a pattern. The first stage is detox, where you’ll be tapered off the drug nice and slowly until you hit around 2 mg per day, and then you’ll be withdrawn from the drug altogether. Once this stage is over, you’ll be given counseling and therapy, which will explore the reasons for your addiction. You’ll also be given psychological tools to combat the addiction, often in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy. The third and final stage is to be released into the wider world, but you should also join peer support groups, possibly a 12-step program, that will support you as you rediscover your life.
Suboxone rehab doesn’t have to be expensive. Indeed, some insurance companies will pay for rehabilitation, and there are a number of programs that can help you to pay for it.
Suboxone treatment is significantly better than going cold turkey — 1-year rates of relapse are estimated to be around 40 to 60 percent. In addition, Suboxone does not have a nasty taste; around 71 percent of those taking the Suboxone film rated the taste as favorable or neutral.