The Lowdown on Suboxone

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Suboxone is prescription drug derived from the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. It is used here at Drug Help Line to treat addiction to opiate (narcotic) substances. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Suboxone differs from other current treatment options in that it is one of the first narcotic drugs of its kind that can be prescribed in the comfort of a doctor’s office. Other treatment options, like methadone, can only be given in a small number of specialized addiction treatment centers. In the long run, this means that a greater number of patients will have access to treatment with the advent of medications like Suboxone.

Despite Suboxone’s benefits in the treatment of opiate dependence, it also comes with its own set of risks. First and foremost, it is still labeled as a narcotic and with any drug, it needs to be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. This medication can be habit-forming even if taken in the regular dosage. Another problem is that Suboxone can slow or stop your breathing—and this risk is greater in those individuals who are malnourished, otherwise debilitated, severely ill, and older adults. Stopping this medication suddenly can potentially cause “unpleasant withdrawal symptoms” according to the makers. And make sure to swallow the pill whole, if taking this drug—crushing or breaking it can subject the patient to a fatal dose of the medication. One last word of advice: do not drink alcohol while on this medication—in fact, you also need to check food and other medicine labels to ensure that they do not contain alcohol because the interaction can be deadly.

A study printed in the July 2013 edition of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs concluded that there was no supporting evidence to specify any major disparity in outcomes between the use of drugs of similar composition to Suboxone verses methadone in treatment. Moreover, their study found that there was no clinical advantage to one treatment over the other. Although a separate study listed in the Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice done in 2012 found that while buprenorphine might be a safer drug, issues with crushing these pills, as previously stated, make using it intravenously problematic.

While Suboxone has a farther reaching audience and been helpful in its own right for the treatment of opiate dependency, it has not fully replaced the more traditional medications like methadone as drug makers had previously hoped it would. Contact Drug Help Line today to discuss treatment options.

 
Information gathered from:
http://www.drugs.com/suboxone.html
http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm191523.htm
http://buprenorphine.samhsa.gov/Buprenorphine-Naloxone-Methadone-Maintenance-2013.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3271614/