Subutex Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

Subutex is an opioid partial agonist-antagonist that is prescribed to individuals struggling with an addiction to opioids. Buprenorphine hydrochloride is Subutex’s main component and aids in the recovery from opioids, such as prescription pain medications, heroin, or morphine. Subutex is given once daily in the form of a dissolvable tablet. After Subtex is absorbed into the body, patients are prevented from experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms and diminished cravings for additional opioids. By tackling the physical aspects of addiction, Subutex allows patients to focus on achieving long-term recovery.

Subutex was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 and, since then, has been one of the few medications considered to be safe for the treatment of opioid addiction. Extensive research has proven that Subutex will not cause damage to vital organs when taken, nor will patients experience impairments in their cognitive functioning. When taken within a medication assisted treatment program, Subutex allows individuals to focus on their recovery without dealing with the painful symptoms often associated with the withdrawal process.

As is the case with other medications, side effects can take place while taking Subutex. Individuals considering the use of Subutex within a medication assisted treatment program should first discuss its use with their physician to relieve any concern regarding Subutex.

The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment

Numerous studies have confirmed the safety and effectiveness of Subutex for the treatment of opioid addiction. Individuals who take Subutex within a medication assisted treatment program have reported a decrease in cravings for additional heroin, prescription painkillers, and morphine. Numerous individuals also reported that the withdrawal symptoms typically associated with ceasing opioid use were alleviated as well. Overall, patients who incorporate Subutex into their medication assisted treatment program report positive outcomes which allows them to focus on recovery.

The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling

Treatment that utilizes Subutex often includes three phases while incorporating additional therapeutic interventions to further the process of recovery. When prescribed Subutex, patients will most likely experience the following phases:

Induction: This first phase of treatment takes place when patients are introduced to Subutex and typically takes place shortly after the use of opioids has ceased. Patients are typically in the beginning stages of withdrawal.

Stabilization: During the second phase, patients are likely no longer experiencing withdrawal symptoms or cravings for additional opioids. It is during stabilization that patients’ dosages of Subutex can be altered depending on the specific needs of the individual.

Maintenance: During the maintenance stage, patients are stable enough to discuss weaning off of Subutex or changing over to a different medication.

During the course of these phases, it is extremely important for patients to simultaneously receive counseling services. Both individual and group counseling sessions can aid patients in processing their emotions during the phases of treatment, acquire new skills to remain on the path towards recovery, communicate both wins and losses that take place during recovery, and receive extensive support from their counselors as well as their peers. Research has proven that individuals who receive counseling within a medication assisted treatment program are less likely to relapse and begin abusing opioids again.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Both family members and friends of an individual taking part in a medication assisted treatment program can greatly aid in the recovery of their loved one. In order to provide the support and encouragement required for recovery, it is important to obtain your own support, as addiction affects all involved. By understanding addiction, you will be able to play an active role in the recovery of your loved one and understand what you can do to positively increase their chances of long-term recovery.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are contemplating entering a medication assisted treatment program to overcome an addiction to opioids, there are several ways to successfully make the most out of your treatment experience:

  • Follow the treatment recommendations regarding taking Subutex
  • Attend and take part in all scheduled individual and group therapy sessions
  • Openly communicate any questions or concerns you may have while taking Subutex. Your treatment provider may be able to adjust your dosage or medication pending your specific requirements should a concern arise during treatment.
  • Do not use opioids while taking Subutex
  • Openly communicate with your treatment provider should any issues arise during the course of treatment. The professionals at San Diego Comprehensive Treatment Center are here to provide support and help throughout your treatment

The Side Effects of Subutex

Due to the adverse effects that can take place while taking Subutex, it is important to discuss your specific needs with your physician prior to adding Subutex into your treatment plan. By discussing any health conditions and other medications prescribed with your physician, patients are able to avoid the unfavorable drug interactions that could potentially take place.

Prior to beginning a Subutex regimen, it is important to understand the following potential side effects that could take place, of which are more likely to occur when dosages are increased:

Most common side effects:

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

Fairly common side effects:

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

Less common side effects:

  • Fever
  • Upset stomach
  • Accidental injury
  • Abscesses

The compassionate and dedicated team at San Diego Comprehensive Treatment Centers is here to answer any questions you may have regarding Subutex and the treatment options available. Please contact one of our intake experts today.

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