What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a brand name medication … the active ingredient in it is Buprenorphine. This is marketed as a tablet or a film, that is placed under the tongue, … from where it is easily absorbed into the circulation and acts on the receptors in the brain, … and effectively stops withdrawal symptoms, and reduces or eliminates craving.
By keeping patients comfortable, it allows for an opportunity to modify drug seeking, and drug using behavior. This is combined with Naloxone to discourage its use by other methods.
Other brand names for Buprenorphine and Naloxone combination are … Zubsolv, (tablet), and Bunavail (film).
As of January 12, 2023, the DEA has removed the restrictions that were placed on providers under DATA waiver act of 2000. Now any provider with a certificate to provide controlled substances can prescribe this medication and there is no limit on the number of patients that a provider can treat.
Currently Buprenorphine + Naloxone is available as a generic tablet and film. The cost has come down to $2 to $3 per 8mg tablet or film. It is also marketed as Suboxone, Bunavail and Zubsolv. Subutex which is Buprenorphine alone, is no longer manufactured or marketed as Subutex, however, it is available as a generic tablet.
Long term injectible preparation of Buprenorphine (without Naloxone) is available as once a month injection under brand name Sublocade, in USA, and as Buvidal in Europe/Australia. It is also available as a six month implant known as Probuphine implant.
However, long term injectible preparations pose a problem if the patient needs emergency surgery, requiring opioids.
Subutex is only approved for:
- induction of treatment
- for use during pregnancy for those patients who do not wish to use Methadone
- for use by patients who have a demonstrated allergy to Naloxone.
Methadone can only be dispensed for opioid addiction treatment by approved Methadone Clinics.
The availability of Buprenorphine by prescription … through community based physicians has brought down the cost of opioid addiction treatment, and, made such treatment accessible to patients within their communities, in the familiar setting of their physician’s office, and without disrupting education or work schedules.
Addiction can not be cured by a pill … the person must be self motivated to treat their opioid addiction … Suboxone prevents withdrawal symptoms, and reduces the craving for opioids; thus making it easier to modify addiction behavior at a gentler pace.