Opioid addiction is a devastating condition that is plaguing America today. Last year, drug overdose deaths surpassed 100,000 annually, and the vast majority of these overdoses involved illicit and prescription opioid drugs. It is estimated that three million U.S. citizens and 16 million people worldwide have struggled with opioid use disorder (OUD).
While behavioral therapy and counseling are traditionally used to treat opioid use disorder, people who seek treatment for opioid addiction have substantially high rates of relapse. Fortunately, medication-assisted treatment programs now use FDA-approved medications like Suboxone to help patients recover from opioid addiction. This integrated approach combining behavioral therapy, counseling, and medications is proven to improve treatment outcomes and reduce relapse risk in people with OUD.
If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid abuse, speak with a qualified team member at Moving Mountains Recovery to see if Suboxone treatment in New Jersey is right for you.
What is Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone)?
Suboxone is a brand-name prescription medication containing two medications: buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that blocks opioid receptors, activates them, and reduces the urge to use opioids without producing a euphoric high. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist that helps reverse the effects of opioids. It is added to buprenorphine to reduce the abuse potential of the medication. Buprenorphine and naloxone work together to alleviate symptoms of opioid withdrawal and reduce drug cravings.
How Does Suboxone Treat Opioid Addiction?
Suboxone is a daily medication that comes in the form of a sublingual or buccal film that can be placed under the tongue (sublingual) or between the cheek and gums (buccal). It is left to dissolve in the mouth and be slowly absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in the body, the medication can treat symptoms of withdrawal and help individuals cope with cravings for opioid drugs. While taking the medication, it is important to take it every day. Missing a dose of buprenorphine/naloxone can increase the risk of relapse.
Although Suboxone can treat withdrawal symptoms from opioids, users must abstain from opioids for 12-24 hours before starting the medication. Taking Suboxone while opioids are still in the system can result in painful precipitated withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone is currently the preferred medication used to treat opioid addiction. In the past, methadone was more common, but methadone is also habit-forming. While Suboxone can lead to physical dependence, it is less likely to be habit-forming than methadone, therefore it is considered a safer, more effective medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder.
It’s important to note that Suboxone is not a cure for opioid use disorder. Instead, it is intended to be used in combination with behavioral therapy and counseling. Patients may be prescribed medication by their doctor while attending an outpatient program or it may be given to them during residential treatment.
Suboxone Side Effects
Common side effects of Suboxone include:
- Swelling in the extremities
- Numbness, burning, redness, or tingling in the mouth
These side effects typically wear off within a couple of days as the body gets used to the medication. However, if they persist or get worse, individuals should consult with their healthcare provider.
Less common, but more severe side effects include:
- Adrenal changes
- Impaired liver function
- Sleep-related breathing problems
- Allergic reactions
- Low blood pressure
These symptoms can be severe, so it’s important to speak to a doctor immediately if any of them occur.
Suboxone as Part of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in New Jersey
Suboxone is most effective when combined with behavioral therapy and counseling. It can be prescribed in both inpatient and outpatient settings depending on the patient’s unique needs. While Suboxone reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings, behavioral therapy and counseling help patients uncover the root causes of their addiction and learn healthy coping mechanisms so they can stay sober in the future.
In clinical trials, participants who received counseling and Suboxone (buprenorphine-naloxone) for 12 weeks had substantially better outcomes than those who received the standard treatment of short-term detoxification and counseling.
The ultimate goal of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone is to enable patients to live sober, healthy, and self-directed lives. Some patients may only take the medication during detox and residential treatment, while others will take it for months or years into recovery. The duration of the medication varies from one person to the next, and individuals should never stop taking Suboxone without consulting with their doctor, first.
Can You Get Addicted to Suboxone?
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid, so people who take it for a long time may develop a physical dependence on the medication. Still, it is far less addictive than other opioid drugs.
The medication also has certain features that prevent it from being abused. First, buprenorphine is known to have a “ceiling effect.” This means that the opioid-like effects of the drug level off when the dose increases, preventing symptoms of sedation, euphoria, or respiratory depression. Second, naloxone is considered a “blocker.” It is only absorbed into the body if the medication is injected. If someone injects Suboxone, the naloxone prevents them from getting high or experiencing an opioid overdose because it knocks opioids off of opioid receptors. Both of these features make it very hard to abuse or get high on Suboxone.
In summary, Suboxone dependence and addiction are possible but highly unlikely. Patients can minimize these risks by taking the medication as directed by their healthcare provider.
Find Out if Suboxone Treatment in New Jersey is Right For You
If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction, there is help available. Please call now to speak with a qualified admissions coordinator to see if Suboxone treatment in New Jersey is right for you.