The Two Ways Suboxone Is Used
Recovering opiate addicts may use Suboxone in two ways. They may choose to use it in a manner similar to methadone, and take the pills as a long term replacement solution, or they may use it as a way to ease the pains of cold turkey detox, and only take the Suboxone for a week or more.
Long Term Replacement
Basically, it's just like methadone, but with the advantages of an easier detox on the back end and month long take-home doses.You can be prescribed enough pills for a month or more, and you do not need to expend such energy and time getting to a central methadone clinic for your daily dose.
The side effects are minor, and a small price to pay for a better life free from addiction, and although the eventual detox can be tough, it's far easier than for methadone and nowhere close to the agony of an abrupt cessation of narcotic pain pills or heroin.
It is not easily abused, and if you follow the directions of use, it is very safe.
Easing the Pains of Withdrawal
Research shows that people who use opiate replacement therapy as a long term solution (using medications like Suboxone or methadone) are more likely to stay addiction free. Medications like Suboxone and methadone take away your cravings for opiates, so as soon as you stop using these medications, your risk for relapse increases greatly. Many people, however, still choose to use Suboxone only for a period of weeks or months, as a way to taper down more gently (to detox) in a controlled manner.
For many people who are addicted to opiates, the fear of detox alone is enough to keep you using, but while you take Suboxone you feel no withdrawal pains and you get a period to start getting your life and health back together, and then after a few weeks or months, you start to taper down, and experience far more gradual and gentler opiate withdrawals.
Suboxone is a great medication that works very well – but it’s no magic bullet solution either. Once off Suboxone (or even once you start tapering) you are at greatly increased risk to relapse. Because of this, you should not consider Suboxone alone sufficient addiction treatment – you should also get into an addiction treatment program to learn strategies of relapse avoidance and to gain clean and sober support for the challenging days that are always to come.
When you combine opiate replacement therapy (methadone or Suboxone) with ongoing addiction treatment you give yourself the best possible chance at a better life free from addiction.
Page last updated Jun 09, 2011