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How Does Suboxone Work For Addiction

Benefits Of Suboxone Use In Medications For Addiction Treatment

How Does Suboxone Work

Buprenorphine is among the list of essential medicines maintained by the World Health Organization, and is an indispensable tool for helping people with opioid use disorder to ease moderate to severe opioid withdrawal and cravings.8 Some additional benefits of using Suboxone in addiction treatment include:9,11

  • Increased overdose safety.
  • Long-acting effects may allow for alternate-day dosing.

Myth #: Suboxone Is Often Misused

Like most medications, it is possible to misuse Suboxone, but because it is a partial opioid agonist, people dont experience the high that they get from other drugs like oxycodone, which is a full opioid. Usually, those who are misusing Suboxone are using it illegally to manage their addiction without a prescription. If we can work to remove the stigma surrounding the use of medications like Suboxone to treat opioid dependence, those suffering from addiction would be much less likely to take this route.

How Does Suboxone Work To Treat Opioid Addiction

Humans have naturally-occurring opioid receptors in the brain. When a person takes an opiate derivative or abuses heroin, these receptors are activated. Activation produces a euphoric high and an analgesic effect. Its incredibly easy to become addicted to the feelings and sensations that opioid drugs produce. On top of that, the human body quickly develops a tolerance to opioid medications, and they will need more and more to get the desired effect.

Unfortunately, this short window where tolerance forms makes a person physically and psychologically addicted to the drug. Withdrawal symptoms for opioids are incredibly painful and distressing. Opioid addicts also experience some of the most intense cravings to use the drug. An opioid relapse is also incredibly dangerous and puts the user at high-risk of overdosing and dying. What medications like Suboxone do is they interact with the bodys opiate receptors in four distinct ways.

1. Suboxone binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, which cuts down on a users cravings for the drug and withdrawal symptoms during detox.

2. Suboxone is considered a partial agonist, meaning it does excite the opioid receptors in the brain, although this activation is minimal. However, the brain is tricked into being satisfied with the amount of opioid activation that Suboxone induces. Users wont feel the physical withdrawal and dependence symptoms associated with their addiction.

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How Is Suboxone Taken

According to MedLine Plus, the medication suboxone is a sublingual tablet placed under the tongue . There is also a buccal film that is applied between the cheek and gum. Buprenorphine alone comes as a sublingual tablet . The treating doctor first determines the appropriate dose, and the individual in treatment then usually takes the prescribed dose once a day. The medication should be taken at the same time each day to help the individual stay in compliance with the medication regimen.

Taking the medication exactly as prescribed is important. Sublingual tablets need to be placed beneath the tongue until the medication is completely dissolved. If more than one sublingual tablet is prescribed, both should be placed under the tongue at the same time. The medication includes the warning not to chew or swallow the tablets whole. In addition, refrain from eating or drinking any liquids until the tablets have completely dissolved.

Taken at the right doses, suboxone minimizes symptoms of withdrawal, reduces cravings, and partially blocks the effects of other opiates. With daily suboxone maintenance doses, during the prescribed short-term treatment, the medication keeps the opiate receptors in the brain occupied and remains on the receptors for several days. Thus, other opiates have great difficulty attaching to the receptors.

Coping With Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline and Symptoms

The most effective way to treat Suboxone withdrawal is to avoid it in the first place. You can avoid the symptoms of withdrawal by working with your doctor to taper down your dose. Tapering means gradually reducing your dose over time. If you have not been getting your Suboxone from a doctor, you will want to find a doctor to help your taper.

Suboxone tapering schedules typically take place over the course of seven to 28 days.

Some studies have shown that overall success tends to be better with a shorter, seven-day taper. Other studies have found that withdrawal symptoms are managed best by a slow, flexible tapering schedule. With a flexible taper schedule, your doctor can slow the dose reduction if you experience any uncomfortable symptoms.

If you are still struggling with withdrawal despite the Suboxone taper, your doctor may recommend one or more support medications.

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Heroin Is Not The Same Old Heroin Fentanyl Analogs Blended Into It Make Suboxone Induction More Difficult

If you are a person who relates to the beginning of this article, where your heroin dealer gave you a Suboxone strip or Subutex pill and it made you sick, you have likely experienced the effects of fentanyl analogs. Normally heroin is a short-acting opioid. It clears out of your system quicly. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is also short-acting.

The problem is that there is something different about the fentanyl that drug dealers are blending into street heroin. In fact, they are frequently replacing heroin altogether with these fentanyl analogs.

Where does the fake fentanyl come from? It often arrives through the USPS in packages from China. Some sources have claimed that fentanyl analogs, cooked up in clandestine labs, come from Wuhan, China. That is the same place COVID-19 originated from. As you can see, there is a lot of fancy biotech work being done over there.

You Will Now Have Time To Work On You To Rediscover Who You Are To Work Toward A Future

Everyone wants to know how suboxone works. Does it work? Why does it work? Why even bother?

There is nothing wrong with asking questions, if you are truly looking for knowledge. My problem is when people dont truly care, and all they want to do is justify their preconceived notions.

They dont see the person in front of them. They dont see the struggle. The climb. The leap of faith.

An addict doesnt really care how something works. At least not at first. Not if they are at the bottom.

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Suboxone Treatment Is Administered In Four Phases

The first is the induction phase, in which you undergo an intake assessment to determine the proper dose. The second step is the stabilization phase, in which you receive counseling and support services to confront the underlying cause of your addiction. The third step is the maintenance phase, in which you continue to take the correct dose of Suboxone while beginning to return to a normal lifestyle. The last step is the taper phase, in which your mental health provider will gradually reduce the required dose of Suboxone until you no longer need it.

Suboxone Is Supposed To Be The Gold Standard Of Opioid Addiction Treatment I Dont Understand Why Suboxone Doesnt Work

Medication-Assisted Treatment Overview: Naltrexone, Methadone & Suboxone l The Partnership

Have you had a bad Suboxone experience? You were expecting the opioid withdrawal symptoms to go away. The Suboxone strip or Subutex pill you bought from your dealer was supposed to help. But, all it did was make you feel worse.

Some people describe this effect of Suboxone sickness as being moderately uncomfortable. Others say it is the worst feeling they have ever experienced. If you have taken Subutex or Suboxone and it didnt work, it probably made you never want to take it ever again.

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Suboxone Is Just One Part Of Recovery

While medication-assisted treatment is an amazing option for helping patients beat addiction, it shouldnt be the only element of your recovery plan. A complete MAT plan combines a carefully-monitored medication regimen with substance abuse counseling and regular primary care to keep your mind and body in fighting health. For some patients in recovery, Suboxone is not the right choice of medication. Some patients dont even benefit from medication assistance at all. Every journey is unique, and your addiction treatment specialist is there to help you make educated decisions every step of the way.

If you think Suboxone or another form of medication-assisted treatment may be right for you, we can help. The team at Recovery Care will work with you to develop a personalized recovery plan that revolves around your needs and goals. Request an appointment today and take the first step toward being your best self!

Arent You Just Trading One Addiction For Another

I am asked this all the time. Addiction is a disease of the brain and, just like any other disease, sometimes physicians need to use medications to treat it.

I believe that in most cases, mediation assisted treatment in combination with counseling has better results than counseling alone. Often the highest risk of overdose and death comes after a stay in a residential treatment facility or in jail after a patient is discharged without medication assistance.

This doesnt mean that non-medication treatments arent useful. They are. Think about Type 2 Diabetes. There are numerous oral and injectable medications on the market to treat this, and, in fact, many of these medications fail, and we end up relying on insulin. But the mainstay and the most important treament is diet and exercise.

So it goes with addiction. Counseling is important. Life-style changes are important. But often we need to use medication for optimal benefit.

We use medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone to treat many of the problems of addiction such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

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How Suboxone Can Work For You

For the addict who has eliminated opioids from their system and is ready to be an active participant in their recovery, Suboxone may be the best option. While no medication is a cure-all, Suboxone can deliver significant benefits for those who have lost all hope.

If youre interested in medication assisted treatment, contact us at MedPro Treatment Centers to start your recovery journey now.

Myth #: You Arent Really In Recovery If Youre On Suboxone

Suboxone Treatment

Reality: While it depends on how you define “recovery,” the circa 1930s era AA-influenced abstinence-based models that have dominated the past century of addiction care are generally giving way to more modern conceptions of recovery that encompass the use of medications such as Suboxone that help regulate your brain chemistry. As addiction is increasingly viewed as a medical condition. Suboxone is viewed as a medication for a chronic condition, similar to a person with type 1 diabetes needing to take insulin. To say that you arent really in recovery if you are on Suboxone is stigmatizing to people who take Suboxone, and its not the medical reality of effective addiction treatment.

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Can Suboxone Prevent Opiate Withdrawal

Unfortunately, as with most of the content of popular television shows, this is a myth. Suboxone is a powerful drug and is only available by prescription by a dedicated medical professional. Once it is determined you are eligible for suboxone therapy, your doctor works with you to create a plan that includes medication, counseling, and behavioral therapy. Plus, they monitor your progress very closely and adjust doses as needed. Thats why suboxone is never prescribed on its own without a plan.Suboxone also has a variety of side effects, such as:

Finally, suboxone can also cause withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, cramps, irritability, anxiety, and shaking.

How Does Suboxone Work For Heroin Detox

Heroin detox allows people to get the heroin out of their system. Detox center patients can receive many treatments to help them overcome addiction. For someone with a heroin addiction, Suboxone is one of the treatments that can work well.

Are you struggling with an addiction to heroin? If so, hopefully, this guide will help you learn how Suboxone works as part of a heroin detox protocol.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional: December 7, 2018

David Hampton

  • David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is also a public speaker and the author of two books. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials. As a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors , David works closely with area treatment centers, recovery orientated nonprofit organizations, as well as being a keynote speaker for various recovery-focused events.

Treating Opioid Addiction With Suboxone

Suboxone Treatment – MedNet21

Suboxone is an oral prescription drug that was granted approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 to treat opioid addiction. Prescribed as either a sublingual tablet or film, it contains two active drugs:

  • Buprenorphine, a partial opioid antagonist, which provides relief from craving and withdrawal symptoms by blocking opiate receptors in the brain
  • Naloxone, an opiate antagonist, which blocks the effects of the opiate drug itself

The combined use overcomes some of the shortcomings of the individual drugs. Buprenorphine decreases withdrawal symptoms and opiate cravings without having full opiate effects.

Naloxone, by contrast, works in the background as a deterrent, only taking effect if suboxone is injected into the system. When this happens, naloxone can induce withdrawal symptoms including nausea, headache, sweating, restlessness, vomiting, and trembling.

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Suboxone And Other Medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Suboxone. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Suboxone.

Before taking Suboxone, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.


Taking Suboxone with benzodiazepines can increase the risk of severe side effects such as severe sedation , breathing problems, coma, and death.

Examples of benzodiazepines include:

Serotonergic drugs

Taking Suboxone with medications that increase serotonin levels in your body might increase your risk of developing serotonin syndrome, a drug reaction that can be dangerous.

Examples of medications that increase serotonin levels include:

  • antidepressants, such as:
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine , paroxetine , and sertraline
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as duloxetine and venlafaxine
  • tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, desipramine , and imipramine
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as phenelzine and selegiline
  • certain opioids such as fentanyl and tramadol
  • buspirone, an anxiety medication
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as isocarboxazid , linezolid , phenelzine , selegiline , and tranylcypromine

    These Are The Ways The Two Distinct Components Of Suboxone Work


    Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. This means it binds to those same opioid receptors as full agonists, but activates them less strongly. Learn more about agonist and antagonist read here. Buprenorphine is used to reduce cravings and also doesnt produce any feelings of euphoria as it blocks your brains opioid receptors. Its easier on your body than other medications and patients usually tolerate it well.

    Research has found buprenorphine to be similarly effective as methadone for treating opioid use disorders, as long as it is given at a sufficient dose and for sufficient duration.


    Naltrexone is a full opioid antagonist, which means that it works by blocking the activation of opioid receptors. Instead of controlling withdrawal and cravings, it treats opioid use disorder by preventing any opioid drug from producing rewarding effects such as euphoria. Most patients dont tolerate Naltrexone as well as Buprenorphine.

    Suboxone is a combination of the two that works well.

    When combined with other methods to support and encourage recovery, rehabilitation can and does work.

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    Symptoms Of Suboxone Withdrawal

    If you are using Suboxone as directed for the treatment of opioid addiction or to treat pain, you can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms if you miss a dose or try to quit abruptly.

    Opioid dependence occurs with any long-term opioid use, regardless of whether you are following a doctors orders. Once you become physically dependent on a drug, you experience withdrawal symptoms when it leaves your system.

    Suboxone causes most of the physical symptoms typical of opioid withdrawal. These include:

    • Tremors or twitching

    If you take Suboxone to treat opioid addiction, then your withdrawal symptoms should be less severe than what you have experienced in the past.

    To get a better idea of how mild to moderate opioid withdrawal symptoms compared to more intense symptoms, you can check out the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale . Health professionals use this scale to determine the severity of opioid withdrawal syndrome.

    How Buprenorphine Works

    Heroin Detox With Suboxone

    Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist. It produces effects such as euphoria or respiratory depression at low to moderate doses. With buprenorphine, however, these effects are weaker than full opioid agonists such as methadone and heroin.

    When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine is safe and effective. Buprenorphine has unique pharmacological properties that help:

    • Diminish the effects of physical dependency to opioids, such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings
    • Increase safety in cases of overdose
    • Lower the potential for misuse

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    How Is Suboxone Given

    Suboxone comes as either a tablet or small, thin piece of film. Both forms dissolve in your mouth. They also both work the same way.

    Because it dissolves inside your mouth, Suboxone is easier to take while youâre in addiction recovery. You just place the tablet or film under your tongue, and it melts on its own. You can also place the film inside your cheek.

    Both the tablet and film come in many different dosages or strengths. Usually, you start with a dose of 8 mg of buprenorphine and 2 mg of naloxone. Your doctor will prescribe the best dose for your recovery. Theyâll change or taper your dose slowly over time. Never try to taper your dose on your own.

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