Treating Opiate Addiction With Suboxone

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Opiates is the collective name for a group of powerful drugs that use opium in their production. They have a sedative effect, dull the sensation of pain and contribute to the creation of a euphorizing effect. The timing of the formation of dependence depends on the method of administration, the narcogenicity of the drug, the presence of impurities in it that contribute to the prolongation of the psychotropic action.

The most potent of the opiates is heroin, which is administered intravenously and after 2-5 injections is addictive. Similarly, dependence is quickly formed in the case of intravenous use of drugs made by chemical processing of dry poppy straw, raw opium, and edible poppy seeds.


Treating Opiate Addiction With Suboxone

Among the main signs of the initial stage of dependence on opioid use are the following:

Expressed desire to periodically or continuously take a psychoactive substance (PAS) in order to achieve previously experienced sensations or to relieve psychological discomfort. A few injections are enough for this urge to arise.

Reorganization of the functional activity of the body is the result of chronic abuse of the opium group drug for 1-2 weeks;

Mental and physical disorders resulting from the neutralization of the narcotic effect by opioid receptor blockers, i.e. at the end of the drug;

Tolerance – the development of a state of adaptation, when, in response to taking drugs in the same amount, the body responds with a reduced response. To achieve the previous state, the addict needs a higher dose. An increase in tolerance is noted 2 weeks after systematic intake.

In the absence of a surfactant or in the interval between its use, patients experience:

  • a state of mental discomfort and dissatisfaction;
  • mood swings that are easily eliminated immediately after the introduction of the substance.


Opiates are a family of drugs derived naturally or synthetically from the seeds of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) plant. They act as sedatives to suppress activity in the central nervous system, thereby reducing pain and inducing sleep.

Long-term use of opiates can lead to increased tolerance to the drug. When this happens, the user needs to increase the dose to achieve the same effect. This can cause growing addiction, which we have come to call addiction. In some cases, this can lead to accidental overdose and even death.


  • heroin
  • fentanyl
  • morphine
  • Vicodin (hydrocodone)
  • oxycontin
  • oxycodone
  • codeine
  • methadone


Suboxone is a prescription drug that was obtained from the US Food and Drug Administrationin 2002 for the treatment of opioid dependence. Prescribed as a sublingual tablet or film, it contains two active drugs:

buprenorphine , a partial opioid antagonist that helps relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms by blocking opiate receptors in the brain

naloxone, an opiate antagonist that blocks the effects of the opiate drug itself

The combined use overcomes some of the disadvantages of the individual drugs. For example, buprenorphine is addictive, but to a lesser extent because naloxone suppresses the effects of opiates.

In contrast, naloxone acts as a background inhibitor, acting only when opiates are introduced into the system. When this happens, naloxone can cause withdrawal symptoms including nausea, headache, sweating, anxiety, vomiting, and tremors.


Suboxone clinic has been found to be effective in the sense that it reduces cravings associated with long-term opiate use while providing containment for current use. Compared to methadone, Suboxone is less addictive and quicker to act (it takes about a week to detoxify compared to weeks or even months with methadone).

Suboxone also seems to work better when used for longer periods of time. One study found that opiate-addicted youth who used Suboxone for 12 weeks were more likely to remain with withdrawal symptoms compared to peers who received only two weeks of detoxification therapy.


Suboxone is prescribed as part of a structured drug detoxification program and for maintenance therapy as needed. It is available as a generic (under the brand names Bunavail and Zubsolve) and is offered in a variety of formulations to ensure phasing out:

  • 12 mg buprenorphine with 3 mg naloxone
  • 8 mg buprenorphine with 2 mg naloxone
  • 4 mg buprenorphine with 1 mg naloxone
  • 2 mg buprenorphine with 0.5 mg naloxone


While approaches can vary from treatment center to treatment, there are generally four steps to take for any Suboxone treatment plan:

consumption, which includes a medical and psychosocial assessment, urinalysis for drugs, and blood tests so that you can take the drug safely

encouragement to switch from the opiates you are currently using to suboxone in order to minimize cold turkey withdrawal symptoms

stabilization, in which suboxone is set at the lowest dose to suppress withdrawal symptoms, allowing for the eventual narrowing and discontinuation of treatment

support for severely addicted people who may require ongoing treatment and supervised medical care (including attending a drug anonymous or non-admission support group)


Suboxone should not be used in people with moderate to severe liver dysfunction, as this may worsen symptoms. Common side effects include headache, nausea, vomiting, increased sweating, constipation, withdrawal symptoms, insomnia, pain, and fluid accumulation in the legs (peripheral edema).

Suboxone does have the potential to be misused when administered. In such a case, the relatively low dose of naloxone does not seem to mitigate the “high” achieved from the buprenorphine component. Therefore, Suboxone can only be prescribed as part of a treatment or care program under the supervision of a physician.

Since opioid dependence is both a physical and a psychological disorder, treatment requires a multidisciplinary team to meet both of these needs. If you feel you can use Suboxone, contact hospitals, or mental health agencies in your area for referrals to nearby addiction treatment centers.

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