Suboxone is a combination medication comprised of buprenorphine, an opioid, and naloxone, an opioid blocker. It is prescribed mainly as a remedy for opioid abuse disorder and is used to treat withdrawal symptoms while simultaneously blocking the effects of other opiates.
In conjunction with other methods of treatment such as therapy and counseling, Suboxone has been proven as a successful short-term treatment, but results are varied over long periods of time due to the physical dependence users will inevitably experience. It is also often purchased on the street as a standalone opiate, and many addicts will use it to fill in the gaps between when they can acquire their drug of choice. The potential for abuse and addiction of Suboxone is extremely high, and though it is somewhat adequate as a form of treatment, it does have many risks as well. Here we will go further into detail about both the pros and the cons of Suboxone treatment and use.
The Good About Suboxone
The active ingredient in Suboxone, Buprenorphine, helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and craving associated with opioid addiction. The active ingredient, Naloxone, eliminates the “high” experienced from opioids. It helps stop the illegal use of heroin and prescription opioid medications by essentially blocking their effects on the body and brain.
The Bad About Suboxone
Suboxone is a drug replacement treatment; users stop one addiction and start another. Suboxone is habit-forming and can lead to physical and mental dependence, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms and addiction. Even when taking the medication exactly as prescribed it can be highly addictive. If Suboxone is mixed with other drugs or alcohol, especially those that are central nervous system depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, the results can be fatal. There have been many instances of Suboxone abuse.
Addicts employ alternative routes of administration in order to achieve a “high”. These methods can lead to overdose and death. Individuals who have been prescribed Suboxone are often unable to stop taking the medication. This leads to unintended long-term use and serious withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone does not offer a long-term solution to drug abuse. It is a temporary fix.
Withdrawal from Suboxone
The withdrawal symptoms associated with Suboxone use and abuse can be extremely uncomfortable. Individuals often become dependent on Suboxone and often will experience worse withdrawal symptoms than from their initial opioid drug addiction. Withdrawal symptoms are a serious health risk for addicts. If not managed properly they can contribute to the addict’s decision to relapse. Acute withdrawal symptoms may be present for a couple days, while post-acute withdrawal symptoms can last for a few weeks or even a couple months. Here are some of the most common withdrawal symptoms:
- Abdominal cramps
- Fever and chills
- Loss of appetite
Suboxone Does Not Offer a Solution For Long-Term Recovery
Despite the detoxification benefits associated with it Suboxone, it does not offer a solution for long-term recovery. Suboxone is a drug-replacement method, and is by no means an adequate substitute for therapy or 12-Step based meetings, which have been proven successful avenues to long-term recovery. When an individual is suffering from addiction, it can be detrimental to replace that addiction with another, different addiction. Suboxone helps to reduce withdrawal symptoms, decrease cravings, and eliminate the “high” experienced from opioid drugs. But, these are all immediate and short-term benefits, and will inevitably be outweighed by the fact that there is no end in sight to the continued need for the drug.
Though Suboxone’s recommended use is for short lengths of time, usually no longer than six months to a year. Often though, we see more and more cases of individuals being on it for five years or more. This long-term use of Suboxone impedes on an individuals’ ability to achieve true relief from the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. There are other methods to help an individual suffering from opioid addiction, methods that do not include replacing one drug for another. For more information about Opioid detox and how to get help in recovery, do not hesitate to contact us at (888) 357-7577.