What is buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone)?
What is buprenorphine/
naloxone (Suboxone)?
Buprenorphine is an opioid medication that is used to treat pain and opioid addiction. When used to treat opioid addiction, buprenorphine is combined with naloxone, usually as a pill that is absorbed under the tongue (sublingual, it is not effective if the pill is swallowed). Because naloxone can cause withdrawal if it is injected, adding it to buprenorphine prevents people from misusing the drug. Buprenorphine is a long-acting opioid drug used to replace the shorter-acting and addicting opioids. Long-acting (24 - 36 hours) means that the drug acts more slowly in the body, for a longer period of time. When combined with medical and supportive care, buprenorphine and methadone are equally effective treatments for opioid addiction, although one may work better than the other for some people. Suboxone is an effective treatment for opioid addiction whether you smoke, swallow, inject or snort opioids. While it has been proven to be an effective treatment for opioid addiction, it cannot be used to treat addictions to cocaine, alcohol, benzodiazepines, methamphetamines etc.

Suboxone doses are carefully prescribed to patients, and taking too much or too little suboxone can be harmful to a recovering opioid addict. A stable Suboxone dose is established quicker than a stable methadone dose would be. Patients are expected to feel normal (not high) with fewer opioid cravings. If the patient attempts to use other opioids while on a Suboxone maintenance treatment plan, they will likely experience sedation rather than euphoria. This aids in Suboxone's overall effectiveness, as the patient is less inclined to use other opioids.

Suboxone is generally well tolerated but patients may experience side effects such as:
• Constipation
• Dizziness, drowsiness, or headache (usually resolves over a week or so)
• Weight gain
• Sweating
• Loss of libido

If you or a loved one are currently undergoing Suboxone maintenance treatment, watch for side effects such as loss of appetite, euphoria (feeling high), nausea or sedation. This could indicate that the patient is taking a higher suboxone dose than necessary, and it is advised that you alert your healthcare provider as soon as possible to readjust the Suboxone dosage.
If you have any further questions about suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact us here.