How It Works and Is It Safe?
Subutex, a partial opioid agonist-antagonist, is a prescription medication that is used in treating opioid addiction in those who desire to get sober once and for all. This medication contains one primary ingredient (buprenorphine hydrochloride) and is provided in the form of a dissolvable tablet. Utilized in medication assisted treatment programs, Subutex is able to stop the upsetting effects of withdrawal that occur when an individual stops using opioids like prescription painkillers, morphine, or heroin. Additionally, Subutex is effective in reducing cravings for continued use, which allows individuals to place all of their focus on their recovery.
In 2002, Subutex received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Since then, it has been viewed as one of the safest methods of opioid addiction treatment. Vast research has found that consuming Subutex is much safer than continuing to abuse one or more opioids, as this medication (unlike opioids) does not cause vital organ damage. When an individual is prescribed Subutex, he or she will not suffer from cognitive impairments or setbacks in his or her everyday life. Instead, individuals are able to focus on all elements of recovery all while maintaining responsibilities in their own lives.
Subutex, like other medications, can cause side effects. Therefore, it is important to continue to use this medication under the supervision of a medical professional. Those individuals who are considering taking Subutex should speak with their physicians about potential side effects and ask any questions they might have to avoid any concerns that might arise in response to the use of this medication.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Numerous studies have shown that the use of Subutex in the treatment of opioid addiction is highly effective. Individuals that have taken Subutex within a medication assisted treatment program have experienced decreased drug cravings for continued use of opioids such as morphine, prescription pain medications, or heroin. In addition, these same individuals also reported that the period of withdrawal is eliminated while using Subutex.
In general, when Subutex is used for opioid addiction treatment, results tend to be positive and offer individuals the opportunity to fully focus on their recovery.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
Addiction treatment that includes the use of Subutex involves three separate treatment phases where therapeutic interventions are included to help move the process of recovery along. When prescribed Subutex, individuals will likely experience the following phases:
Induction: This first phase of treatment occurs when an individual is first introduced to Subutex, which is shortly after the use of opioids has stopped. At this point in time, individuals are starting the withdrawal phase.
Stabilization: During this phase, individuals are no longer craving opioids. It is at this time that Subutex can be altered depending on the patient’s needs.
Maintenance: Once the stage of maintenance has been achieved, individuals are stable and able to taper off of Subutex or switch to another medication.
Throughout each one of these phases, it can be beneficial for an individual to receive therapy simultaneously. Both individual and group therapy sessions can help an individual iron out his or her feelings surrounding treatment, learn skills for staying sober, share achievements and disappointments during recovery, and obtain support from professionals and peers who have shared similar experiences. Research has proven that those who obtain counseling throughout medication assisted treatment are less likely to relapse.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Loved ones of individuals that are obtaining Subutex through a medication assisted treatment program can be incredibly supportive by providing unwavering support during recovery. You should always seek individual support, as your loved one’s addiction has likely impacted to both his or her life and yours. If it is possible, friends and family members should actively participate in their loved one’s recovery so that they can obtain a greater understanding of addiction and begin working on a relationship with their loved one.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are considering joining a medication assisted treatment program that utilizes Subutex in the treatment of opioid addiction, there are number of ways that you can yield success:
- Stick to treatment recommendations given to you by your provider in regards to Subutex.
- Show up to all counseling sessions and be prepared to actively engage in each session.
- Discuss any Subutex-related concerns with your physician so if an issue arises, your physician can help make any necessary adjustments.
- Do not use opioids while on Subutex.
- Speak with your provider should you become concerned about anything regarding your treatment. Each professional is dedicated to helping provide you with the proper resources needed to address these issues.
The Side Effects of Subutex
When taking any prescription medication, you should always have a conversation about potential side effects with your physician to eliminate any potential health risks that might occur. Prior to taking Subutex, it is imperative that you ask about any possible food interactions, health conditions that could become exasperated, and additional drug interactions that could occur if an individual is already consuming other prescription or over-the-counter medications. In addition, it is important that individuals who are about to start a Subutex treatment regimen are aware of the following side effects, all of which are more likely to occur when the dosage is increased:
Most common side effects:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Back pain
Fairly common side effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Runny eyes
Less common side effects:
- Accidental injury
- Upset stomach
At Portland Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we are pleased to speak with you about our treatment approaches, as well as answer all questions that you or your loved one might have in regards to Subutex. Please contact us today.