According to the World Health Organization, there were about 34 million people estimated to have used opioids in 2016. Although such numbers are astounding, the epidemic has only been gaining momentum since then. In the face of such a dangerous opioid addiction crisis on the rise, medical professionals are looking towards prescription medication to help treat opioid addictions with patients. One medication used increasingly because of it’s particularly beneficial ability to treat opioid addictions, such as: heroin, morphine, opium, oxycodone/oxycontin, hydrocodone, and codeine, is called Suboxone.
How Suboxone Therapy Helps with Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
Suboxones two active ingredients are buprenorphine, an opioid partial antagonist that helps to relieve the user of opiate withdrawal symptoms, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of narcotics. As part of behavioral therapy and a drug detoxification program, Suboxone has been shown to have long-term benefits for drug addiction, although, according to the World Health Organization, less than 10% of people who need such treatment are receiving it. Learning about the long-term benefits and the accessibility of such medical care, however, may encourage people to start receiving the treatment they need when faced with an opioid addiction.
Long-Term Benefits of Suboxone Maintenance
Suboxone has been proven to be effective in reducing cravings and aid in minimizing withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate addiction such as: depression, racing heart rate, aching bones, muscle pain, severe diarrhea, shaking, and vomiting. By taking the edge off of unpleasurable withdrawal symptoms, a person struggling with addiction has a better chance to focus on their recovery, therefore, lessening the chance of returning to abuse the drug in the future.
Additionally, because of the active ingredients in Suboxone, it is near impossible to overdose on it and equally difficult to get addicted to it. In comparison to other medications that treat opiate addiction, like methadone, Suboxone is one of the most reliable methods of opioid treatment because of its relatively low chance of abuse.
Suboxone Maintenance Side Effects
Although relatively safe, Suboxone, like any other prescription medication, has some risks involved and, therefore, needs to be taken exactly as prescribed by a medical professional. One such risk, and the most serious side-effect of them all, is that Suboxone can slow down or stop someone’s breathing altogether. This is rare and usually most prevalent when taken in larger doses than prescribed, however, needs to be addressed when concerning the potentiality of dosing without following medical guidance. Additionally, combining it with antidepressants, sedatives, narcotic painkillers, sleeping pills, or tranquilizers can cause devastating consequences to the user, and therefore should be monitored by a doctor.
Other common side effects of taking Suboxone include:
- Stomach pains
- Excessive sweating
Despite these possible side effects, when comparing the severity of withdrawal symptoms experienced from detoxing off of opioids to the possible side effects of taking Suboxone, many people may still opt to take the detox medication. To reduce the possible severity of side effects experienced when taking Suboxone, it is important to keep a medical professional updated about any side effects experienced so that the doctor can help to adjust dosage to alleviate/prevent any further serious reactions from occurring.
Treatment Options When Withdrawing off Opiates with Suboxone
When Suboxone is combined with other lifestyle changes, such as intervention with the abused drug(s) of choice, counseling, and a detox program, it can be exponentially helpful in helping a person addicted to opioids transition to abstinence. With therapy, the person can get to the root of the desire to use the drug in the first place and, therefore, prevent the individual from returning to the drug in the future. It is important for you to know that opioid addiction does not need to be fought alone and there is help available to you or a loved family member struggling with opioid addiction.