Subutex Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

Subutex, a prescription medication that is a partial opioid agonist-antagonist, is used to treat individuals who are stuck in the cycle of opioid addiction. With buprenorphine hydrochloride as its primary active ingredient, Subutex is administered once daily in the form of a dissolvable tablet. This medication is used within medication assisted treatment programs, as it is capable of decreasing the painful symptoms of withdrawal that can develop when the use of opioids has stopped. Additionally, Subutex is effective in curbing cravings so that an individual can remain focused on his or her recovery.

With approval from the U.S, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, Subutex is one of only a few medications that is proven safe to use in the treatment of opioid addiction. Extensive research has demonstrated that the consumption of Subutex is much safer than continuing to abuse opioids, especially because Subutex does not cause vital organ damage like many opioids do. When an individual is prescribed this medication, he or she will also not go through any cognitive impairments that could lead to daily disturbances and poor physical functioning. When Subutex is being taken as a part of a medication assisted treatment program, those who are obtaining this form of care are able to fully focus themselves on recovering and engaging in their daily responsibilities.

It is imperative to know that Subutex (like other medications) can trigger the onset of side effects. While Subutex is safe to consume while being monitored by a healthcare professional, those who are looking into this form of treatment should talk about potential side effects and ask his or her provider as many questions as desired to ensure the safe consumption of Subutex. Additionally, talking about Subutex and its effects with one’s doctor can alleviate any concerns linked to this form of treatment.

The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment

Endless studies have shown the effectiveness of Subutex in the treatment of opioid addiction. Individuals who have Subutex included in their medication assisted treatment plan have reported diminished cravings for continued use of morphine, prescription painkillers, or heroin. In addition, these same individuals also reported that when Subutex is part of their treatment, withdrawal symptoms are alleviated.

Overall, when Subutex is included into the treatment for an opioid addiction, patients tend to yield positive outcomes, as they are allowed to stay laser-focused on their recovery rather than the physical side effects of opioid withdrawal.

The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling

Substance abuse treatment that involves the use of Subutex often includes three separate treatment phases, including:

Induction: This first phase of treatment occurs when a patient is introduced to Subutex. At this time, patients are just starting to experience withdrawal from the cessation of their use.

Stabilization: Patients who are in the stabilization phase are no longer having withdrawal symptoms or battling with cravings. Depending on the patient’s needs, the dosage of his or her Subutex can be altered at this time.

Maintenance: When a patient reaches the maintenance stage, he or she is considered stable and can begin talking about tapering off of Subutex or switching to a different medication.

As these phases occur, it is incredibly helpful for a patient to obtain counseling services. Individual and group therapy can help a patient comb through his or her feelings surrounding these phases, become educated on the skills needed to continue recovery, share his or her successes and setbacks, and obtain full support from professionals and others who have gone through similar challenges. Research has shown that individuals who have obtained therapy during their medication assisted treatment are less likely to relapse.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Family and friends of a patient obtaining Subutex in a medication assisted treatment program can be a great source of support to their loved one while he or she is in recovery. In addition, friends and family of someone obtaining Subutex treatment should obtain their own support, as a loved one’s addiction can negatively impact the lives of those closest to him or her. If possible, family and friends should try to actively engage in their loved one’s recovery, as doing so can help provide him or her with a better understanding of addiction and how to mend broken relationships.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are looking into a medication assisted treatment program that utilizes Subutex for opioid addiction treatment, there are a number of ways that you can yield success at this time:

  • Stick to the treatment recommendations provided to you by your doctors in terms of properly taking Subutex.
  • Go to all individual and group therapy sessions that are planned and actively engage in each session.
  • Discuss any concerns that you may have while on Subutex. Your provider can help you make any adjustments to the medication that you are taking.
  • Do not use other opioids while on Subutex.
  • Communicate with your provider if you become concerned about your recovery while you are in treatment. The professionals that you are working alongside of can help provide you with additional support if necessary.

The Side Effects of Subutex

Consuming any type of prescription medication warrants a conversation with one’s healthcare provider to help reduce any potential risks. Prior to taking Subutex, it is critical to talk about any possible food interactions that could develop while on this medication, as well as any health conditions that could be exasperated by it. Additionally, it is important to mention any prescription medications or over-the-counter medications that are also being taken. Those who are about to start on Subutex should also know that side effects can occur, especially when the dosage is increased. Examples of Subutex side effects can include:

Most common side effects:

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

Fairly common side effects:

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

Less common side effects:

  • Fever
  • Abscesses
  • Accidental injury
  • Upset stomach

At Baton Rouge Comprehensive Treatment Center, we are pleased to talk with you regarding all of the treatment options we provide, and can answer any questions you might have. Please reach out to us today.

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