Subutex Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

Subutex is a partial opioid agonist-antagonist that helps individuals get sober from an opioid addiction. With the primary ingredient being buprenorphine hydrochloride, Subutex is given once daily in the form of a dissolvable tablet. This medication is used in medication assisted treatment programs, as it is able to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings that often accompany addictions to opioids like morphine, heroin, or prescription painkillers. Since Subutex can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, it assists patients in being able to focus on their recovery without these distractions.

First approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, Subutex has been viewed as safe in treating opioid addiction. Extensive research has determined that taking Subutex in a medication assisted treatment program is dramatically safer than continuing on with an opioid addiction, as Subutex does not cause organ damage or additional dangerous side effects. In addition, someone who is taking Subutex will not experience any psychological disorientation as they would with other opioids, allowing them to continue to live their daily lives successfully. When taking Subutex within a medication assisted treatment program, individuals can be alleviated from the painful effects of opioid withdrawal and truly focus on the recovery process in ways that help them restore happy, healthy lives.

It is imperative to understand that, like other medications, Subutex can cause side effects to occur. Deemed safe to be taken under the watchful eye of a medical professional, anyone considering taking Subutex should talk through any and all side effects with their physician to not only be educated on what they are taking, but to also relieve themselves of any concerns they might have.

The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment

Numerous studies have proven that Subutex is effective in treating opioid addiction. Individuals that have utilized Subutex in their recovery reported experiencing lessened cravings to use opioids like morphine, heroin, or prescription painkillers. In addition, these same individuals stated that the painful withdrawal symptoms that accompany suddenly stopping opioid abuse were relieved while taking Subutex.

Typically, when Subutex is utilized in an individual’s overall treatment program, the outcomes are successful and encourage patients to continue the healing process.

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The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling

Treatment for substance abuse that includes Subutex will generally include three separate treatment phases. Some of these phases incorporate therapeutic elements that help move the process of recovery along. Those taking Subutex will likely experience the following phases:

Induction: This is the first phase of treatment, and occurs when a patient is first given Subutex after stopping opioid abuse. At this point, patients are usually experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Stabilization: Patients are likely no longer experiencing withdrawal or the cravings that come with it during the stabilization phase. At this time, the dosage of Subutex can be adjusted if needed.

Maintenance: Upon reaching the maintenance phase, patients are stable and can begin talking about either tapering off Subutex or changing over to a different medication.

Throughout these phases, it is incredibly beneficial that patients simultaneously obtain counseling. Both individual and group therapy can help a patient start to process his or her emotions during each phase, develop coping skills that keep them in recovery, share successes and setbacks, and obtain support from professionals and peers. Studies have shown that patients who receive counseling during medication assisted treatment are more likely to stay sober and avoid relapse.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Loved ones of an individual who is taking Subutex in a medication assisted treatment program can be extremely beneficial to him or her just through offering support. If you have a loved one in medication assisted treatment, it is always a good idea to obtain support for yourself, as your loved one’s addiction has likely impacted you, too. If at all possible, you should do everything you can to remain active in your loved one’s recovery so that you can begin to understand what he or she is going through, as well as work on improving your relationship.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: There are a number of ways that you can be successful in a medication assisted treatment program where you are taking Subutex, consider the following:

  • Follow any and all treatment guidelines given to you by your provider.
  • Show up and actively participate in individual and group therapy sessions.
  • Discuss any concerns you have about Subutex so that if a problem occurs, your physician can potentially adjust the dosage of your medication.
  • Do not use other opioids while on Subutex.
  • Talk with your physician should you have any concerns about Subutex during your treatment so that he or she can provide you with additional resources you might need.

The Side Effects of Subutex

Prior to taking any medication, including Subutex, it is important to discuss all aspects of the drug with a professional, including possible side effects. It is also imperative to discuss any food reactions, health conditions, or other possible drug interactions (including over-the-counter) that could occur while taking Subutex. In addition, individuals should also be aware of any and all side effects prior to use, which can occur more frequently when their dosages are increased:

Most common side effects:

  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Back pain
  • Pain
  • Infections
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Sleeplessness
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Nausea

Fairly common side effects:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Chills
  • Runny eyes
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting

Less common side effects:

  • Abscesses
  • Upset stomach
  • Fever
  • Accidental injury

At Maryland Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we are open to talking about our methods of treatment and answer any and all questions you might have when it comes to Subutex. Please contact us today.

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