One of the most common medications used for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is Suboxone, which is perhaps one of the most well-known brand names in the world of MAT. The drug Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that works chemically to reduce withdrawal symptoms and long-term dependence on opioids.
The question is, how does one medication achieve this? What does it look like? Do all patients need MAT to fight opioid addiction? We can answer these questions with four essential facts about Suboxone at International Family Medicine and Urgent Care:
1. Suboxone Blocks the “Opioid Effect”
“Opioid antagonists” like suboxone are used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT), in contrast to “opioid agonists” like heroin, morphine and oxycodone. Opioid agonists block pain receptors in the brain, altering perceptions of pain and releasing endorphins that mimic pleasure. When you use an opioid antagonist like Suboxone as part of your recovery, this will negate the effects of any opioid by preventing them from activating pain receptors. Withdrawal symptoms are reduced and cravings are managed.
2. Suboxone is Less Habit-Forming Than Methadone
In the early 2000s, addiction treatment specialists began prescribing Suboxone rather than methadone, which was the predecessor to Suboxone as medication assisted treatment. The reason Suboxone was developed specifically for fighting opioid addiction is that it was designed with the purpose of having a much lower dependency risk than that of methadone. This is due to the fact that it was developed with the express intention of fighting this disease. Further, compared to other opioids, Suboxone usually has fewer side effects and they tend to be physical rather than psychological.
3. Suboxone Comes in Two Forms
The purpose of Suboxone was to make it easy for patients in recovery to take the medication. Two forms of the drug are available: a tablet and a sublingual film. Essentially, both methods produce the same results. Tablets are often less expensive than film, and some patients prefer them. Film, however, is preferred by some patients who want to taper off their medication gradually when weaning off completely is their recovery goal. You should never do this without your doctor’s guidance.
4. Suboxone is Just One Part of Recovery
Even though medication-assisted treatment is an excellent option for helping patients beat addiction, it shouldn’t be the only component of your recovery plan. As part of a complete MAT plan, a carefully managed medication regimen is combined with substance abuse counseling and regular primary care for the purpose of keeping your mind and body healthy. It is imperative to know that Suboxone is not the right medication choice for all patients in recovery. As a matter of fact, there are some patients who don’t even benefit from medication assistance at all. There is no one-size fits all journey when it comes to addiction treatment. Therefore, your addiction treatment specialist will be there every step of the way to guide you.
In the case of you or someone you know who is suffering from opioid addiction, consider learning more about the treatment options available through Suboxone.
If you need medical help, we are there to help you.