Suboxone is an FDA approved medication that is used to help people stop abusing opiate drugs.
Suboxone helps people by taking away the symptoms of opiate withdrawal and drug cravings that are normally associated with quitting or reducing use. Suboxone is an opiate replacement drug. You replace your opiate of abuse (heroin, OxyContin for example) with Suboxone, an opiate that won’t get you high but that will keep you from feeling sick.
Suboxone works similarly to methadone, but there are some significant differences. Suboxone can be taken home in month long doses, it is a safer medication than methadone and it is easier to stop using Suboxone than methadone.
What’s in Suboxone?
Suboxone contains 2 active ingredients:
Buprenorphine is a partial opiate agonist. It enters the brain and fills and activates the opiate receptors, like opiate drugs do. With opiate receptors filled, the body does not go into opiate withdrawal and drug cravings are lessened or eliminated. However, as buprenorphine is only a partial opiate agonist it does not stimulate the opiate receptors enough to cause intoxication in someone with an opiate tolerance.
After you take suboxone, the buprenorphine in the medication fills your opiate receptors and you stop feeling sick, you stop craving drugs and you don’t get high. Using suboxone, you start to feel normal again and you can get your life back on track.
Naloxone is an opiate antagonist that is added to Suboxone to reduce the likelihood of abuse and diversion.
- If you take Suboxone as directed, the naloxone within is not activated and does nothing.
- If you try to abuse Suboxone (injecting it, for example) the naloxone is activated. Once activated, the naloxone fills the opiate receptors in the brain and turns them off all at once. With all opiate receptors inactivated at once, you go into immediate and intense opiate withdrawal. The naloxone blocks other opiates from activating these receptors, so taking opiates after naloxone has no effect – once in a precipitated naloxone withdrawal, there is no reversing it.
The naloxone in Suboxone makes it a difficult drug to abuse. This makes it safer for the user and enables doctors to prescribe this medication in mont- long take home doses. Methadone, which is very easily abused, is much more tightly regulated.
How Do You Get Suboxone?
Suboxone can only be prescribed by doctors that are specially licensed to do so, and these doctors can only prescribe Suboxone to a limited number of patients. Ask your doctor for a referral to a Suboxone prescribing doctor, or visit the Federal Govt. Buprenorphine Physician and Treatment Locator.
Suboxone isn’t a miracle cure to drug addiction. You will still need to work your recovery and staying drug abuse free always takes effort and commitment. Taking Suboxone, however, gets you feeling normal and healthier again in a hurry, and from there you are in a much stronger position to work on your continuing recovery.
Page last updated Oct 03, 2014