ZubSolv: Is this medication the future of medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction?

What is ZubSolv and what makes it better than other opioid addiction treatments?

If you are familiar with buprenorphine-treatment with Suboxone, then you will easily understand what ZubSolv is and how this sublingual tablet works. In fact, ZubSolv is very similar to Suboxone. To start, they both have the same active ingredients, buprenorphine and naloxone. Yet, there are differences between Suboxone and ZubSolv.

Suboxone versus ZubSolv: Which is better?

As is true in many cases, there is not a clear winner between these two addiction treatment medications. Each has advantages and there are patient preferences. Additionally, health insurance companies often prefer one brand or the other. So, what are the differences between ZubSolv and Suboxone?

What is the Suboxone Sublingual Film?

Suboxone is an old brand in the world of opioid addiction treatment. The FDA approved Suboxone many years ago. While Suboxone was originally a sublingual tablet, they eventually came out with the film or strip form of the medication. Suboxone has always been a combination of two drugs, buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is the main medication that does the job of treating opioid dependence. Naloxone is included mainly as an abuse deterrent. The Suboxone Sublingual Film is a small rectangular, flexible film that comes individually wrapped in foil. The patient places the film under the tongue to absorb. It absorbs quickly, within a few minutes. Many patients complain that the films leave a bad after taste. The most commonly used dosages of Suboxone are 8mg/2mg and 2mg/0.5mg, where the first number refers to buprenorphine and the second to naloxone.

What about ZubSolv?

ZubSolv is a more recent brand that does not have the same public recognition as the Suboxone Sublingual Film. The name, “Suboxone”, is synonymous with medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine. Doctors who prescribe buprenorphine are even referred to as Suboxone doctors by many people. Because of ZubSolv being the lesser known brand, there is actually less of a problem with diversion. When people on the streets don’t know the brand as well, they won’t buy it as readily from drug dealers. This is a form of “security through obscurity”. Since buprenorphine, the main ingredient in both Suboxone and ZubSolv, is a controlled opioid, diversion is an important issue. Taste is an advantage of ZubSolv. It has a minty taste with no bad aftertaste. Another advantage is that it dissolves very fast. It may dissolve faster than Suboxone Sublingual Films for some patients. On the other hand, a disadvantage is the confusing dosages. While ZubSolv is available in wider variety of dosages, they do not correlate directly to the more commonly known Suboxone dosage strengths of 8mg and 2mg. For example, ZubSolv 5.7mg/1.4mg is considered to be equivalent to Suboxone 8mg/2mg. That can be a bit confusing!

More treatment options is a good thing.

It is always good to have more choices when it comes to buprenorphine-containing medications. When a healthcare provider is discussing options with an opioid-dependent patient, having a variety of prescription drugs with various advantages allows the provider to address individual needs of different patients. Often, when a patient finds a sublingual treatment medication that works well for their maintenance treatment, they will choose to stick with that medication. In some cases, insurance changes may necessitate changing the brand. Usually, this does not turn out to be a problem, since these brands are essentially the same in the way they work. A careful explanation and reassurance from the addiction treatment doctor can make all the difference.

Who can prescribe ZubSolv?

ZubSolv is a sublingual tablet that contains buprenorphine. Because buprenorphine is a unique drug in the way it works and because of the seriousness of treating addiction with an opioid, doctors must be certified to prescribe buprenorphine sublingual tablets, such as ZubSolv. Any healthcare provider who can prescribe Suboxone is also allowed to prescribe ZubSolv. There are various resources to find ZubSolv prescribers, such as looking at the website, ZubSolv.com. If you have a reason to prefer this medication, you may want to make a phone call and ask before making an appointment with an addiction doctor. There are some doctors who prescribe buprenorphine medications but they choose not to write prescriptions for ZubSolv. I do not know why a doctor would single out this particular FDA approved sublingual addiction treatment drug, but they are out there.

Does ZubSolv cause withdrawal symptoms?

When it is taken properly, ZubSolv will actually stop withdrawal symptoms and keep them from coming back. However, if a patient takes ZubSolv too soon after taking an opiate or opioid, such as heroin or painkillers, it is possible that it can cause precipitated withdrawal. This form of opioid withdrawal happens when the opioid receptors are still stimulated by remaining opioids in the patient’s system. The buprenorphine in ZubSolv blocks these opioid receptors and causes a relative withdrawal state. While unpleasant, precipitated withdrawal is typically not dangerous.

Are there other forms of buprenorphine-naloxone besides Suboxone and ZubSolv?

There are now multiple preparations of buprenorphine and naloxone available as generic versions. Pharmacies now dispense both tablets and films as generics. There is also a buprenorphine tablet available without naloxone. This is mainly used when a patient is either pregnant or has had an adverse reaction to naloxone in the past.

Will the FDA ever allow generic versions of ZubSolv to be manufactured?

This is a good question. Orexo is the company that makes Zubsolv. They have already had legal battles regarding existing generic drugs that contain buprenorphine and naloxone. The FDA has already approved buprenorphine and naloxone as well as plain buprenorphine tablets. These essentially serve as generics to ZubSolv. Yet, while the generics do contain the same ingredients, they may not dissolve as fast or taste as pleasant as ZubSolv.

How does ZubSolv compare to methadone?

ZubSolv is used for medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorder and opioid dependence. Methadone is also used for opiate addiction. Sublingual buprenorphine as part of a medication-assisted treatment program works very well for many people. However, there are people people with opioid addiction who will not do well with buprenorphine. Methadone maintenance does have a high success rate and is the best choice for patients who have difficulty getting started with buprenorphine.

Finding a ZubSolv doctor today.

If you are in the Fort Lauderdale area, we can help you with sublingual buprenorphine treatment. You can contact us here. Otherwise, there are several excellent resources. As mentioned earlier, ZubSolv.com has a treatment locator on the website.

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