Subutex Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

The prescription medication Subutex, classified as an opioid partial opioid agonist-antagonist, is used to help individuals who are battling opioid addictions. Subutex contains buprenorphine hydrochloride and is taken on a daily basis via a dissolvable tablet. Used in medication assisted treatment programs, Subutex is able to stop upsetting withdrawal symptoms that often accompany the cessation of opioid abuse. It is also effective in allowing individuals to be free of drug cravings, encouraging individuals to remain focused on their recovery.

In 2002, Subutex received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in addiction treatment centers, and remains one of the few medications that has been approved for safe use within medication assisted treatment programs. Important research has determined that using Subutex is much safer than continuing to abuse opioids, especially because Subutex does not cause vital organ damage. In addition, those who are prescribed Subutex will not suffer from any mental or physical impairments as a result of their use, meaning that they will be able to continue their daily lives as normal and fulfilling their recovery-related responsibilities.

It is imperative to understand that, as with other medications, the use of Subutex can cause side effects. Yes, Subutex is approved for use while in a medication assisted treatment program and under the watch of a medical professional, however, individuals should always discuss any side effects that can occur. By speaking with one’s provider, he or she can get all questions answered, as well as be informed of what to do and what not to do while taking Subutex.

The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment

Numerous studies have proven that using Subutex for the treatment of opioid addiction is effective. Individuals who have used Subutex in their medication assisted treatment programs have reported significant decreases in their cravings to use opioids like heroin, morphine, or prescription painkillers. In addition, many individuals who have received Subutex through a medication assisted treatment program also report that the withdrawal symptoms they would have normally experienced are nonexistent.

When Subutex is included in an opioid addiction treatment program, individuals often experience positive outcomes and are able to focus on their recovery.

The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling

Addiction treatment that incorporates the use of Subutex will include three separate phases, each of which should include therapeutic interventions to help move the process of recovery along. When taking Subutex, individuals will likely experience the following phases:

Induction: This first phase of treatment is when an individual is first taking Subutex and is no longer using opioids. At this time, he or she is starting to withdrawal.

Stabilization: Individuals in the stabilization phase are typically no longer experiencing withdrawal or battling with cravings. It is during this phase that an individual’s dosage can be adjusted if needed.

Maintenance: Once the maintenance phase has been reached, an individual is considered stable enough to either begin talking about weaning off of Subutex or changing to another medication.

Throughout each phase, it is incredibly beneficial for individuals to obtain counseling services. Both individual and group therapy can help an individual begin processing his or her emotions surrounding each phase, develop new skills that help him or her stay on track towards recovery, share successes and challenges of recovery, and receive support from others who have shared similar experiences. Lastly, studies have proven that individuals who obtain counseling and medication assisted treatment simultaneously are less likely to relapse.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: The friends and family members of an individual that is receiving medication assisted treatment can be of extra support to him or her by remaining an active part of his or her recovery. As a friend or loved one of someone in treatment, it can be beneficial for you to get help of your own, as it is likely that your loved one’s addiction has impacted you, too. If you are able to, stay connected to your loved one and his or her care so that you can not only be supportive, but also improve your relationship with him or her.

How You Can Be Successful in Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you or someone you love is looking into getting treatment at a medication assisted treatment program that utilizes Subutex, there are a number of ways in which you can yield success:

  • Follow treatment recommendations provided to you by your physician in terms of taking Subutex.
  • Always attend individual and group therapy sessions and participate in them.
  • Discuss any concerns that you might have while taking Subutex. That way, if you run into an issue, your physician can help make adjustments to your dosage.
  • Do not use opioids while on Subutex.
  • Speak with your provider if you begin having concerns about your treatment throughout the treatment process so that he or she can help guide you towards the appropriate resources.

The Side Effects of Subutex

Prior to taking any prescription medication, it is important that you speak with your physician to prevent any risks from occurring. Before you take Subutex, ask your physician about food interactions, health conditions that could be exasperated, other drug interactions (including over-the-counter medications), and more that could occur while taking Subutex.

In addition, it is critical if you are beginning a Subutex regimen that you are aware of the below listed side effects, all of which are more likely to occur when a dosage is increased:

Most common side effects:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Back pain
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Infections
  • Sleeplessness
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Fairly common side effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Runny eyes

Less common side effects:

  • Abscesses
  • Fever
  • Accidental injury
  • Upset stomach

At Sacramento Comprehensive Treatment Center, we are willing to talk about our treatment methods and answer all questions that you or a loved one might have regarding Subutex. Please contact us today.

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