Approved by the Drug Abuse Treatment Act (DATA) of 2000 as one of the first narcotic drugs to be prescribed by in a doctor’s office, Suboxone is a medication designed to help manage opioid dependence and addiction. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine, a synthetic opioid, and naloxone, a partial opioid antagonist. Opioids bind to receptor sites in the brain stem and central nervous system (CNS) that affect emotions and make you feel relaxed and euphoric. Naloxone reverses these effects and partially blocks the receptor sites from receiving further doses of opioids. It is often used to counteract toxic opioid overdoses.
Suboxone and its counterpart Subutex, which contains only buprenorphine, were designed as more accessible addiction treatment alternatives to methadone, which is dispensed in clinics. Buprenorphine is a slower-acting opioid with a longer half-life than the likes of heroin or most other narcotic pain relievers; therefore, it stays in your system longer, but doesn’t create the same “high” as many of the other opioids. It also has a “ceiling,” meaning after a certain point no matter how much you take, the effects won’t increase.
Suboxone is intended to be used to help addicts manage the difficult and dangerous withdrawal symptoms associated with other opioids. Users, however, may also experience side effects when attempting to detox from Suboxone.
Signs of Withdrawal
Even though Suboxone is used as part of a withdrawal treatment program, it is still an opioid with potential for abuse. Suboxone is often diverted by heroin or OxyContin abusers between doses to maintain the drugs’ effects without the side effects of the “crash,” or coming down. Just like with the other drugs, abuse of Suboxone can lead to tolerance and then to dependence or addiction.
Dependence on a drug is indicated by withdrawal symptoms that occur when you remove it. Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal may include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Body aches
- Runny nose
- Sense of not being yourself
- Watery eyes
- Trouble regulating temperature
Withdrawal is often characterized by both physical and emotional side effects, which need to be addressed in order to successfully recover. The withdrawal of timeline will vary depending on how much of the drug you took, how long you took it, and how you took it. Your environment and personal physiology may also play a role. No two cases will be the same. Some may experience withdrawal symptoms for a few days, others for weeks or even months.
In 2011, nonmedical use of buprenorphine accounted for 21,483 emergency room visits as published by The New York Times. This number may actually be higher as Suboxone, which is four parts buprenorphine, is commonly mixed with other substances, increasing its effects and risk factors while potentially masking its abuse. Suboxone is also one part naloxone, which is meant to work as an abuse deterrent by producing instant opioid withdrawal symptoms upon injection, crushing and ingesting, or smoking the tablet form.
Opioid drugs act as CNS depressants and when the brain is used to having certain functions suppressed, it can experience a rebound, or overstimulation, when they are removed. Suboxone withdrawal is rarely fatal, but it can still be uncomfortable and cause drug cravings that may be difficult to manage without medical supervision.
Medically Assisted Detox
Detox is the process of removing drugs from your brain and body, and it is best managed in a medical detox facility. Medically assisted detox involves the use of pharmaceuticals to help manage difficult withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox can also aid in keeping cravings to a minimum.
Stopping a drug like Suboxone cold turkey can be dangerous and very uncomfortable. A medical detox center can help set up a safer tapering schedule during which the amount of the drug is reduced over time until the user is drug-free.
A successful and comprehensive rehabilitation program will strive to help you or your loved one to regain balance both emotionally and physically. Counseling sessions, both individually and in a group setting, along with long-term support groups are important parts of the process. Healthy lifestyle options like a nutritious diet plan and fitness regime can also go a long way toward a more balanced mental state.
Here at Axis, our comprehensive rehabilitation center offers medical detox overseen by compassionate and professional staff members, along with luxury amenities in a serene and relaxing environment to promote a smoother detox process. We provide a safe and secure option where those suffering from withdrawal can recover in relative peace. Intake specialists are standing by to help you or your loved one. Call now.