What Is Naloxone and Why Is It in Suboxone?
Naloxone is a medication that is used to reverse overdoses of opioids. It does this by knocking other opioids off the receptors, preventing negative effects such as respiratory depression (slowed breathing). Naloxone does not interfere with buprenorphine’s effects when the SUBOXONE is taken under the tongue as prescribed.
When Suboxone is placed under the tongue as prescribed, very little naloxone is absorbed into the bloodstream. The patient should not feel the effects of naloxone. The naloxone in Suboxone is there to deter people from dissolving Suboxone and injecting it. When Suboxone is used incorrectly (by injection), its naloxone component can cause withdrawal symptoms to rapidly occur. Subutex® (buprenorphine HCl sublingual tablets) contains only buprenorphine, without naloxone, and may be used to start people on treatment for opioid dependence.
How Does Suboxone Benefit You?
Suboxone can decrease cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms. This can help you remain in treatment and gain control over your opiate addiction without the distraction of cravings and fear of withdrawal. Suboxone detox offers a way to treat opioid dependence—in a doctor’s office—with privacy, confidentiality, and safety. People treated with Suboxone generally don’t need to be hospitalized, make daily visits to a clinic, or go away from home for residential treatment. As a result, treatment with Suboxone may allow more time for work, family, and other activities.
How Effective Is Suboxone?
Buprenorphine, the primary active ingredient in Suboxone, has been studied extensively since 1978, when it was first proposed for the treatment of opiate addiction.
A number of clinical trials have established that buprenorphine is effective for:
- Suppressing symptoms of opioid withdrawal
- Reducing cravings for opioids
- Reducing illicit opioid use
- Blocking the effects of other opioids
- Helping patients stay in treatment
In all studies, patients received regular counseling along with their medication.
Suboxone detox, together with counseling, can help you remain in treatment. By having your withdrawal symptoms and cravings better controlled, your overall treatment can focus on resolving issues and gaining skills to avoid triggers—situations or stimuli that may cause you to Relapse. You can also work with your physician to address issues that may have been contributing to your use of opioids, such as depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric conditions.
How Long Has Suboxone Been Used to Treat Opioid Dependence?
Suboxone has been available in the United States since 2003. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 400,000 people had their opioid dependence treated with buprenorphine.
Does Suboxone Just Substitute One Dependence for Another?
All opioids can cause physical dependence. But as you’ve seen in “What Is a Partial Opioid Agonist?” on page 10, the peak level of euphoria experienced with Suboxone is limited compared with that of full agonists such as heroin. This experience has been associated with a lower level of physical dependence and limited development of tolerance compared with a full agonist. Suboxone provides a level of reinforcement that assists in retaining patients in treatment, including counseling. When you no longer need Suboxone, your dose can be tapered slowly until medication is not required. You and your doctor will discuss the timing and appropriateness of tapering your doses. The withdrawal symptoms of Suboxone are milder than those experienced with a full opioid agonist and can be managed with your doctor’s supervision.
Why Is It Important to Take Suboxone as Directed?
It is important that you take your Suboxone or Subutex® (buprenorphine HCl sublingual tablets) with your other medications exactly as directed by your physician. Abuse or misuse of your medications while on Suboxone or Subutex can cause death. A number of deaths have occurred when dependent people have injected buprenorphine, usually together with benzodiazepines. While you are being treated with Suboxone or Subutex, do not use benzodiazepines, tranquilizers, or sedatives unless they have been prescribed by your doctor. Do not drink alcohol while taking Suboxone or Subutex.
Pat Moore Foundation's alcohol & drug addiction treatment programs are licensed and certified by The State of California. Pat Moore Foundation patients have access to opiate and opioid detoxficiation provided by a third party medical corporation that uses suboxone for the detoxification process. Our individual homes are on a unique co-ed campus where we offer gender specific treatment. We are located in Costa Mesa, in Orange County, Southern California, close to Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, and only an hour's drive from Los Angeles and San Diego. To speak with a counselor, please call us 24-hours at the number above, or if you'd like us to contact you, send a confidential message online by filling out our online form.
Note: All medical services are administered by medical professionals, which are facilitated and operated solely under the jurisdiction of a separate medical corporation.