How It Works and Is It Safe?
Subutex, an opioid partial agonist-antagonist, is a medication used to treat individuals who desire to put an end to their opioid addictions. This medication contains buprenorphine hydrochloride, and it is given once daily in the form of a dissolvable tablet. Subutex has been used in medication assisted treatment programs, as it is effective in stopping withdrawal symptoms that accompany addictions to opioids such as prescription painkillers, heroin, or morphine. In addition, Subutex is successful in preventing drug cravings.
Subutex obtained U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 2002, and has since been viewed as one of the few safe medications for use in treating opioid addiction. Research has shown that taking Subutex is safer than continuing to take dangerous opioids, as Subutex does not lead to vital organ damage. In addition, Subutex does not cause any disorientation, which allows individuals to focus specifically on their recovery process, as well as uphold other responsibilities in their lives.
It is imperative to understand that Subutex can cause side effects just like any other medication. While it is considered safe for use while under the watchful eye of a medical professional, Subutex is associated with side effects. Individuals should speak with their treatment provider prior to taking Subutex to alleviate any concerns they might have.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Numerous studies have shown that Subutex is effective in treating opioid dependence. Individuals that have incorporated Subutex into their treatment plan have reported fewer cravings for opioids such as morphine, heroin, or prescription pills. In addition, individuals also report a decline in the intensity of withdrawal symptoms that can occur once the use of opioids has stopped.
Overall, when Subutex is made a part of a treatment program for opioid addiction, the results are generally positive and help individuals remain focused on their recovery.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
There are three phases that come along with treatment that includes Subutex. Throughout each phase, therapeutic methods are introduced and practiced to help encourage the continual success of recovery. The three phases associated with Subutex use include:
Induction: This first phase of treatment occurs when individuals begin taking Subutex. At this time, opioid use has stopped and withdrawal symptoms are starting to occur.
Stabilization: Stabilization occurs when individuals are no longer having withdrawal symptoms or cravings to use opioids. It is at this time that dosages can be adjusted to better fit the needs of the patient.
Maintenance: Once a patient reaches the maintenance phase, he or she can either begin weaning off of Subutex entirely, or switch to another medication for long-term use.
As each phase occurs, it is important that the patient obtains therapy simultaneously. Both individual and group therapy sessions can be effective in aiding a patient through understanding and expressing his or her emotions, developing skills to help continually encourage recovery, and share successes and setbacks linked to their recovery with others. In addition, patients can receive support from other patients and professionals who can relate to their personal situation. Research has proven that the inclusion of therapeutic methods within a medication assisted treatment program can help prevent relapse.
How to Support Your Loved One During Mediation Assisted Treatment: If you are a loved one of an individual who is looking to recover from an opioid addiction, know that you can be highly beneficial to his or her success. Always remember, however, that to help be supportive of your loved one, you must obtain support for yourself, as your loved one’s addiction has likely impacted your life, too. Be ready to remain active in your loved one’s journey, as doing so can help you understand his or her struggles and allow you to recreate a special bond with him or her.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are considering participating in a medication assisted treatment program where Subutex is utilized, there are numerous ways that you can obtain success at this time, including the following:
- Always show up to all individual and group therapy sessions, and be prepared to participate fully.
- Follow treatment recommendations given to your by your provider.
- Speak up if you have concerns about your wellbeing while on Subutex so that your provider can supply you with the proper care and resources.
- Do not use other opioids while taking Subutex.
- Discuss any and all concerns that you have while on Subutex so your provider can make adjustments to your dosage as needed.
The Side Effects of Subutex
Prior to taking Subutex, you should always have a conversation with your provider so you can be made aware of the possible risks and side effects. Ask your provider about any food interactions, health conditions that can be exasperated through the use of Subutex, and other drug interactions (including over-the-counter drugs) that could cause a problem while on Subutex. In addition, patients who are taking Subutex should always be aware of the below listed possible side effects, and know that they can show up or grow worse when his or her dosage is increased:
Most common side effects:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Back pain
Fairly common side effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Runny eyes
Less common side effects:
- Accidental injury
- Upset stomach
At East Wisconsin Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we are always willing to discuss our treatment program, as well as take any and all of your questions about Subutex. Please contact us today.