First, let’s talk about what Suboxone does not do.
If you are prescribed Suboxone for opioid addiction to help you quit other opioids, you are not trading one addiction for another. You are not just going from one drug to another drug. This is an important point. We must understand that people who take Suboxone prescribed by a healthcare provider for addiction treatment are not addicted to their Suboxone. They are no more addicted to Suboxone than a type I diabetic is addicted to insulin. Is an organ transplant patient addicted to the anti-rejection drugs they take every day? Are HIV patients addicted to the drugs that keep their disease in remission? Do cancer patients get addicted to life-saving chemotherapy? We know that when life-saving drugs are taken away too early in treatment, the illness that is being treated will again start harming the patient. Addiction is a chronic illness. Opioid use disorder is a form of addiction that can be treated successfully with medication and therapy combined.
Does Suboxone cure addiction?
Suboxone, or buprenorphine treatment, does not cure addiction. Why not? Again, addiction is a chronic illness. There is no known cure. While it is possible that a cure may be discovered in the future, as of now, the best we can do is provide medical treatment. The good news is that medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone works well. So, while Suboxone does not cure opiate addiction, it is an excellent treatment option.
What does Suboxone do in the body?
Suboxone contains the drug, buprenorphine. This drug is a powerful long-acting blocker of opioid receptors. In addition to blocking the opioid receptors, it also partially activates the blocked receptors. This combined dual action mechanism results in a unique treatment opportunity. Patients who are quitting opioid drugs to which they are addicted will quickly suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. Suboxone will take away both problems. And, it is known to help with other problems, such as anxiety and depression, to some degree. If the patient has chronic pain issues, Suboxone may provide significant pain relief in addition to the main actions of preventing opiate withdrawal and cravings for opiates and opioids. Suboxone works so well that patients often feel as if they were never addicted to opiates while on treatment. They can function fully with mental clarity in their activities of daily living, including home life and work.
What does suboxone do to your teeth?
Does Suboxone damage your teeth? Can years of Suboxone use lead to cavities, root canals, tooth extractions and dentures? The answer is no. Buprenorphine does not harm your teeth at all. This is simply a myth. Methadone, another opioid addiction treatment drug, is also plagued by this rumor. The fact is that people with substance abuse issues may have gone for years without properly caring for their teeth. In fact, poor dental care habits can continue well into recovery. It is important to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Suboxone does not hurt your teeth.
Does Suboxone cause respiratory depression?
This is a good question. The answer is not a simple yes or no. The side effects of opioids in general include respiratory depression. This means that if you take too much of an opioid agonist, such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, morphine and others, your breathing can slow down. It is also possible for breathing to stop altogether. Without immediate emergency treatment, this will lead to overdose death. Naloxone is a drug that can reverse an overdose and get the patient breathing again. Naloxone, or Narcan, should be made more available in the general public. So, does Suboxone, or buprenorphine, cause respiratory depression? Generally, if you are taking buprenorphine as directed, you do not have to worry about this. Even if you were to take too much, there is a ceiling effect that usually prevents buprenorphine from affecting your breathing. However, when excess bupe is combined with other drugs taken in excess, such as Xanax or alcohol or other potent sedatives, it is possible that Buprenorphine can then cause respiratory depression. It is of the utmost importance that you take prescribed buprenoprhine as directed. Do not take more buprenorphine than your doctor orders. Suboxone, in certain situations, can be dangerous and lead to overdose and death.
Is Suboxone the only form of buprenorphine?
While we associate Suboxone with medication-assisted treatment, it is not the only option. It is not even the only buprenorphine-containing medication. There is also ZubSolv, Bunavail and Subutex as well as generic options. Besides sublingual strips and tablets, there are also buprenorphine injections and implants. Some of these are Probuphine, Sublocade and Brixadi. Subutex is an old brand that represents buprenorphine sublingual tablets that do not contain naloxone. When naloxone is combined with bupe, it is primarily as an abuse deterrent.
What does Suboxone show up as on a drug test?
Not all drug tests will test for buprenorphine. While it is an opiate, it requires a specific test. So, Suboxone shows up as BUP on drug test panels that include it. Your Suboxone doctor should be testing for buprenorphine as well as other drugs. The most important reason for drug testing is to ensure that you are taking your prescribed medication and not taking street drugs.
What does Suboxone do to your pupils?
Do not worry that people around you will know that you are taking Suboxone. While opioids and opiates typically cause pinpoint pupils, prescribed buprenorphine typically does not affect your appearance in any way. Your pupils should not be constricted or dilated. The most striking difference people will notice is that you are able to function normally and your appearance will be dramatically improved, now that you are finally off of the street opiates that were making you sick.
Do I have to check into a treatment program to get Suboxone or Subutex treatment? What kind of treatment center provides medication-assisted treatment?
Fortunately, you do not have to check into an inpatient facility to get buprenorphine treatment. In fact, you can go to a local doctor for treatment. After the initial month of close monitoring, if all is well, it is possible to reduce visit intervals to just monthly visits. Imagine, getting addiction treatment that you only have to go to once a month! Don’t forget that psychotherapy is an integral part of your treatment as well. This is one huge advantage that buprenorphine treatment has over methadone maintenance. Instead of daily visits to wait in line at a clinic, you can, in a short time, see your doctor only once a month.