How It Works and Is It Safe?
Subutex, a prescription medication that is classified as a partial opioid agonist-antagonist, is effective in helping individuals put an end to their opioid addiction. The primary ingredient of Subutex is buprenorphine hydrochloride, which is given on a daily basis in the form of a dissolvable tablet that is absorbed through the tongue. Since Subutex is effective in stopping painful withdrawal symptoms that accompany the cessation of opioid abuse, this medication is often utilized in medication assisted treatment programs. Subutex is also known for its ability to decrease the intensity of drug cravings, which allows individuals to stay focused on their recovery without being compelled to abuse drugs such as heroin, morphine, or painkillers.
Subutex received approval from the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, and is considered one of the few medications used in the treatment of opioid addiction. Research has shown that choosing to take Subutex is much safer than continuing to abuse opioids, as Subutex does not cause vital organ damage that other opioids can. Additionally, someone who is taking Subutex will not suffer from cognitive impairments that could otherwise interrupt the functioning of his or her daily life. When Subutex is taken within the guidelines of a medication assisted treatment program, individuals will be allowed the freedom to focus on actively participating in their recovery process, as well as maintaining their responsibilities in their personal lives.
It is important to understand that, as with other medications, Subutex can cause side effects. This medication is approved for use under the watchful eye of a medical professional. It is imperative for an individual to speak with his or her physician to discuss any potential side effects and have any and all questions appropriately answered before starting this medication. In doing so, individuals can safely take Subutex without any concern.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Numerous studies have determined that Subutex is effective in treating opioid addiction. Individuals that have included Subutex into their medication assisted treatment plans have reported lessened cravings for opioids such as morphine, prescription painkillers, and heroin. In addition, these same individuals also reported that while having a treatment plan that included Subutex, they experienced significantly diminished withdrawal symptoms.
Overall, when Subutex is incorporated into the treatment of opioid addiction, treatment outcomes are positive and afford individuals the ability to focus solely on their recovery.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
Opioid addiction treatment that incorporates the use of Subutex includes three different phases of treatment. When prescribed Subutex, individuals will likely experience the following:
Induction: Induction is the first phase of treatment, and occurs when a patient is first introduced to Subutex after stopping opioid abuse. At this time, patients are just starting to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Stabilization: During stabilization, patients are no longer experiencing withdrawal symptoms or struggling with cravings to continue their use of opioids. Once this phase is reached, patients can get their Subutex dosage adjusted if their needs require it.
Maintenance: The maintenance stage of recovery occurs when a patient is stable enough to either taper off of Subutex completely, or taper off and switch to another medication.
As each phase occurs, it is incredibly beneficial for patients to obtain simultaneous therapeutic services. Group and individual therapy sessions can help a patient make strides in his or her recovery by allowing him or her to process emotions surrounding each phase, learn new skills that can keep an individual healthy, share setbacks and successes, and obtain unlimited support from others who have had similar experiences. More importantly, research has shown that those who have obtained counseling while receiving medication assisted treatment are less likely to experience relapse.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: The loved ones of an individual who is obtaining medication assisted treatment that includes the use of Subutex can be an excellent source of support for him or her throughout the recovery process. If you are a loved one of someone in recovery, it is highly recommended that you obtain your own support, as your loved one’s addiction has likely caused distress in your personal life. If possible, plan on playing an active role in your loved one’s recovery, as doing so will allow you to begin to understand his or her experiences, as well as help you restore a healthy relationship with him or her.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are pondering enrollment into a medication assisted treatment program that offers the Subutex for opioid addiction treatment, there are a number of ways that you can achieve success at this time:
- Follow all treatment recommendations that your physician has provided.
- Show up for all individual and/or group therapy sessions and be prepared to actively participate.
- Discuss any concerns that you have regarding Subutex while you are using it. If a problem occurs, your physician can make adjustments to your dose if it is necessary.
- Refrain from using other opioids while on Subutex.
- Contact your physician should you have any concerns about your recovery, as doing so can allow him or her to recommend additional care if it is needed.
The Side Effects of Subutex
When taking any form of prescription medication, you should always speak with your physician to eliminate any possible risks. It is imperative to ask about any potential food interactions, health conditions, or other unfavorable interactions (such as those that might occur with over-the-counter medications) that could happen prior to taking Subutex.
In addition, if you are going to begin taking Subutex, it is important that you know the possible side effects that can occur. Below are some of the side effects that you might experience, especially when your dosage is increased:
Most common side effects:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Back pain
Fairly common side effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Runny eyes
Less common side effects:
- Upset stomach
- Accidental injury
At Southeastern Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we are always here to speak with you regarding the treatment we provide, as well as to answer any questions that you might have in regards to Subutex. Please reach out to us to