What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a brand name medication … the active ingredient in it is Buprenorphine. Naloxone has been added to it to discourage misuse.
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 binds to the receptors in the brain, and effectively stops withdrawal symptoms. It is a long acting drug, acting on the same receptors as opioids. These properties make it an excellent choice in the treatment of opioid addiction.
It is long acting … so once a day dose is enough. It reduces, or eliminates craving. If a patient takes additional opioids after taking Suboxone then those opioids do not have any effect. Most patients do not feel any side effects if taken as recommended … thus allowing patients to work, drive, or study.
By keeping patients comfortable, it removes the need to search for, and use opioid drugs. And as it is available by prescription, dispensed by most pharmacies, it can be used in the comfort and privacy of your home … eliminating the need to make daily visits to a Methadone clinic … or seeking residential treatment away from home
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, marketed as Suboxone, and Subutex, are the only medications approved for this purpose. Subutex which is Buprenorphine alone, is no longer manufactured or marketed as Subutex, however, it is available as a generic tablet.
Buprenorphine without Naloxone (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.