Subutex Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

Subutex is a prescription medication that is classified as an opioid partial agonist-antagonist. It is used in the treatment of opioid addiction, and contains the main ingredient buprenorphine. Given once daily via a dissolvable tablet, Subutex is able to stop upsetting withdrawal symptoms and curb drug cravings that come from ceasing the use of opioids such as morphine, heroin, and prescription pain medications. Since Subutex is effective in treating these common effects, it allows individuals to focus on recovery rather than other physical concerns.

Subutex obtained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002, and has since been used in opioid addiction treatment. Extensive research has determined that taking Subutex is beyond safer than continuing to use dangerous opioids, as Subutex does not cause vital organ damage. When an individual is taking Subutex, he or she will not be at risk for experiencing any negative psychological impairments or disruption to his or her daily tasks. When Subutex is combined with a medication assisted treatment program and its other services, individuals can properly focus on their recovery process, as well as remain responsible in other areas of their lives.

Despite its safety and effectiveness, Subutex can cause side effects like any other medication. While deemed safe to use within a medication assisted treatment program, individuals who are thinking of including Subutex into their treatment plan should talk through the possible side effects with a medical professional. Individuals should always feel comfortable asking their physicians questions regarding Subutex and its safety.

The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment

Numerous studies have shown that Subutex is incredibly effective for treating opioid addiction. Individuals that have used Subutex in their treatment plan within a medication assisted treatment program reported cessation of withdrawal symptoms and a decrease in cravings for substances such as prescription painkillers, heroin, or morphine. In addition, those who have utilized Subutex in a treatment program report that the period of withdrawal that accompanies detox is significantly minimized while on this medication.

When Subutex is incorporated into opioid addiction treatment, individuals often yield positive results, as using this medication allows them to focus primarily on their recovery.

The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling

Opioid addiction treatment that incorporates Subutex includes three separate treatment phases, as well as therapeutic interventions to help move the process of recovery along. When taking Subutex, individuals will experience the following phases:

Induction: This first phase occurs as an individual is first given Subutex after he or she stops abusing opioids. At this time, individuals are beginning the process of withdrawal.

Stabilization: Individuals who are in the stabilization phase are no longer struggling with cravings or withdrawal symptoms. At this time, individuals can have their dosage of Subutex adjusted if needed.

Maintenance: By the time an individual experiences the maintenance phase, he or she is stable enough to decide to either wean off of Subutex entirely or switch to a different medication.

It can be highly beneficial for an individual to receive counseling this medication and counseling simultaneously. Both individual and group therapy sessions can help an individual process his or her emotions surrounding these phases, obtain new skills geared towards staying in recovery, share experiences, and receive support from professionals and peers who have shared similar struggles. In addition, research has proven that individuals who obtain therapeutic services while in a medication assisted treatment program are more likely to succeed in their recovery and less likely to relapse.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: The loved ones of an individual who is receiving Subutex can be of excellent support to him or her, as they can offer their support throughout their loved one’s entire time spent in treatment. In addition, as a friend or loved one of someone taking Subutex, it is always helpful to obtain your own support so that you can recover from the impacts of your loved one’s addictions too. If you are able to, do everything you can to remain active in your loved one’s recovery, including obtaining education about what your loved one is experiencing so you can begin to work on rebuilding your relationship with him or her.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you or someone you care for is interested in beginning a medication assisted treatment program that offers Subutex, there are a number of ways that you can be successful at this time:

  • Speak with your physician should any concerns about your addiction arise. Doing so can allow the individuals with whom you are working with the opportunity to help guide you towards the correct means of support.
  • Do not use other opioids while using Subutex.
  • Discuss any and all concerns that you might have in regards to Subutex. That way, if an issue develops, your physician can help make any adjustments necessary to your medication.
  • Always participate all individual and group therapy sessions so that you and your peers get the most from the experience.
  • Follow all treatment recommendations that your physician provides you with.

The Side Effects of Subutex

As with any prescription medication, individuals should always speak with their physician to reduce the risk of suffering from side effects. Subutex is no different. If you are going to start taking Subutex, speak with your physician about potential food interactions, drug interactions (including over-the-counter), health conditions that can be impacted by Subutex, and other possible interactions that could be dangerous to your health.

In addition, it is imperative that individuals who start Subutex are in the know of the below listed side effects (many of which occur more frequently when an individual’s dosage is increased):

Most common side effects:

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

Fairly common side effects:

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

Less common side effects:

  • Accidental injury
  • Fever
  • Abscesses
  • Upset stomach

At Allied Health Services of Medford, we are always willing to talk about our treatment methods with you, as well as answer any questions that you might have in regards to Subutex. Please contact us right now.

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