Subutex Treatment for an Opioid Addiction

How It Works and Is It Safe?

Subutex, an opioid partial agonist-antagonist, is a prescription medication that is utilized in the treatment of opioid addiction. The active ingredient, buprenorphine hydrochloride, is given once daily via a dissolvable tablet. This medication is used in medication assisted treatment programs, as it is able to help stop upsetting withdrawal symptoms that come along with the abuse of opioids, such as morphine, prescription painkillers, or heroin. Subutex is also effective in decreasing the temptation to continue to use, which affords patients the ability to focus solely on their recovery.

Subutex received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for the treatment of opioid addiction. Extensive research has shown that taking Subutex is much safer than continuing to use opioids that cause issues like organ damage. While on Subutex, a patient is not going to experience the same psychological effects of opioids, allowing them to actively participate in the treatment process without any distractions.

Like other medications, Subutex can cause side effects. While deemed safe to use when under the watchful eye of a medical professional, individuals who are looking to take Subutex should talk about possible side effects with their treatment provider and ask as many questions as possible to feel comfortable.

The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment

Numerous studies have proven that Subutex is highly effective in treating opioid addiction. Individuals who have used Subutex in a treatment program report that they experienced lessened drug cravings for opioids, such as morphine, heroin, or painkillers. In addition, those same individuals stated that they also felt a drastic reduction in withdrawal symptoms while on Subutex.

In general, when Subutex is included into an overall medication assisted treatment plan, patients often experience positive results, as they are free to focus on their recovery rather than on the setbacks of addiction.

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The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling

Treatment that involves Subutex also involves three separate treatment phases, as well as therapeutic elements that help move the process along. If you are prescribed Subutex, you will likely experience the following phases:

Induction: This first phase is when an individual first begins taking Subutex after stopping opioid use. At this time, individuals are starting to withdraw.

Stabilization: Throughout the stabilization phase, individuals are typically no longer in withdrawal or struggling with cravings. At this time, the dosage of medication can be altered if need be.

Maintenance: Once the maintenance stage is reached, an individual can begin weaning off of Subutex or start a different medication for long-term care.

During each phase, it can be incredibly beneficial for an individual to simultaneously obtain counseling services. Individual and group therapy sessions can help guide an individual towards processing his or her emotions throughout each phase, obtain skills to help him or her cope, share successes and challenges, and obtain support from those who have walked similar paths. Research has shown that those who obtain counseling while in a medication assisted treatment program are unlikely to relapse.

How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: The loved ones of an individual who is taking Subutex in a medication assisted treatment program can be priceless resources throughout the period of recovery. At this time, you can learn how to support your loved one, as well as seek help for yourself so that you can assist your loved one properly. It is always beneficial to remain a present member in your loved one’s recovery, as doing so can help you understand your loved one and help rebuild your relationship.

How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you or someone you love is looking into participating in a medication assisted treatment program that uses Subutex, there are a handful of ways that you can remain successful, including:

  • Follow all recommendations for treatment given to you by your provider.
  • Always attend individual and group therapy sessions and actively participate in them.
  • Talk about all concerns that you have while on Subutex so that if an issue develops, your provider can make necessary adjustments to your medication.
  • Do not use other opioids while on Subutex.
  • If you experience any concerns about your addiction possibly resurfacing, talk with the professionals in the program, as they can help provide you with the support, resources, and guidance that you need to remain sober.

The Side Effects of Subutex

Prior to taking any prescription medication, it is important to discuss any possible risks with your physician. This can include discussing food interactions, existing health conditions, and other possible drug interactions that can occur while on Subutex, of which can include interactions with over-the-counter drugs. In addition, it is imperative that, if you are starting to take Subutex, you are aware of the side effects, which are more likely to occur as your dosage is increased.

Most common side effects:

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

Fairly common side effects:

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

Less common side effects:

  • Fever
  • Accidental injury
  • Abscesses
  • Upset stomach

At Milwaukee Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we are pleased to talk about the treatment methods that we provide, as well as answer any questions you or your loved ones might have regarding Subutex. Please reach out to us today.

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