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Suboxone is an effective drug used in the treatment of opiate addiction. It works similarly to methadone, but unlike with methadone treatment, you do not have to travel to a methadone clinic each day to take your medication, you can instead be prescribed a month’s dosage as take-home.

Because of this, and because of some other significant advantages, many prospective patients prefer the thought of Suboxone over methadone, but not everyone who wants buprenorphine can or should take it.

Before your doctor agrees to prescribe you Suboxone, she will want to run through a checklist of possible contraindications, to make sure that you will be able to use Suboxone safely and effectively.

Suboxone May Not Appropriate for People Who:1

  • Are dependent on or abusing benzodiazepines or alcohol
  • Are homicidal or suicidal
  • Have a serious untreated concurrent mental illness
  • Have tried maintenance treatment without success on multiple occasions
  • Have tried treatment with Suboxone before, with poor success
  • Have serious medical complications or medical complications that are beyond the knowledge base of the prescribing doctor
  • Are not likely to follow a prescribed treatment plan
  • Are not likely able to use or store Suboxone safely
  • Do not understand how Suboxone treatment works
  • Are pregnant
  • Are taking medications that will interact with Suboxone
  • Have a very poor recovery environment

If none of the above contraindications describe your situation, then you may be an appropriate candidate for office based take home treatment with Suboxone. Some people however, even those who would otherwise be appropriate candidates, cannot use Suboxone as it is not strong enough for their needs. Suboxone has a ceiling effect. After a certain daily dosage, taking additional suboxone results in no additional effects. Some people with heavy opiate habits, such as those who were using high doses of heroin daily, will not find that Suboxone is able to provide sufficient relief from withdrawal symptoms. These people will need to use methadone instead.

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Page last updated Nov 20, 2015

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