What is Suboxone?
Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) is a prescription medication that is used to assist in medically detoxing men and women struggling with opiate addiction. This includes street opiates such as heroin and prescription pain medications that have been abused or misused. Because Suboxone is a powerful and potent drug with its own risks, it is highly advised to only use the medication while under the supervision of a doctor or nurse. It is also always recommended to be part of a complete treatment plan alongside behavioral therapy and counseling practices.
The overall purpose of Suboxone is to reduce the cravings for heroin, fentanyl and other potent opioids. The buprenorphine component is actually more potent than morphine, but it works to prevent other opioids from binding to receptors in our nervous system. This allows for the guest to withdraw with less severe symptoms and then begin therapy and counseling more comfortably.
Medical Detox Using Suboxone
Suboxones two parts function as an opioid (buprenorphine) and an opioid blocker (naloxone). Buprenorphine works to satisfy the harmful or destructive opiate cravings that the brain now seeks, while the naloxone prevents overdosing on the extremely powerful opioid. Naloxone as an opioid antagonist also blocks the brain from receiving the euphoric experiences that are noteworthy from opioid use, which helps to reduce the chance of relapse.
During opioid recovery, it is important to utilize an assistant medication such as Suboxone because recovery is substantially harder without it. Without medication to reduce or eliminate cravings and withdrawal, there is only one primary focus: getting more opiate drugs and satisfying the cravings. Once the symptoms of withdrawal are controlled, you can focus on what is really important: treatment and recovery.
Suboxone treatment is usually broken up into three fundamental stages:
- Medical Taper
The stage of induction is the process of finding the right dose and plan for medical detox using Suboxone. Induction should always be performed by a licensed medical professional. The staff at Royal Life Centers will always make sure that they perform the safest and most complete induction possible, to reduce any withdrawal trauma.
Some quick points points on the induction process:
- The first step of medical detox – at the beginning of first treatment or subsequent relapse
- The guest must be in a moderate state of withdrawal to begin medical opioid detox
- The medical staff will work to make sure that they find the ideal dose for each guest – everyone is different
The second stage is called the maintenance stage. This is a transition phase determined by your medical staff as you begin to improve and stabilize. By this phase, you are doing better and can start to function more normally. The medical staff will determine if you are ready for the maintenance phase based on some of the following criteria:
- Withdrawal symptoms have subsided
- Few or no side effects from Suboxone
- Have significantly less substance cravings
- Are ready to start a structured and comprehensive opioid dependence recovery program
As you reach the third stage of your medical detox, it is now time to get the Suboxone out of your system and begin a fully clean life. This is where medical tapering comes in. Since Suboxone is a potent medication it’s own, it is not safe to cut it out of your system cold turkey – just as any other drug. The tapering process is where you and your healthcare professional team gradually begin to wean you off of suboxone, until you no longer need it. Over a specific given time, you will receive less and less of a dosage, until you are clear of the drug.
A few notes on this:
- It is very important to communicate your progress honestly with your treatment team, so you can minimize cravings and symptoms.
- Be open to discussing the dangers or risks of relapse, so you can mitigate the chances of it.
Downsides of Suboxone Use
Suboxone is a heavily controlled substance, and generally considered to be unsafe for use without medical supervision. While some people do attempt to purchase it on the street and detox themselves, this is considered to be very dangerous. It is not as addictive as other opioids, but failure to taper properly can actually cause withdrawal. Abuse of Suboxone is actually possible. In 2018, over 6000 doses of illegal Suboxone was confiscated from dealers in Cincinnati. This could lead to the dangers of overdosing, side effects or allergic reaction. It is important that if you are seeking medical detox near you, that you visit a licensed and professional environment. Royal Life Centers has medical detox locations in Prescott, Arizona, Lacey, Spokane, Sumner and Mead, Washington.
Like any medication, Suboxone has many side effects that could cause mild to severe discomfort on top of the already difficult situation of opioid withdrawal. Some of the side effects of Suboxone include:
- Issues Concentrating
- Blurred Vision
- Vomiting and Stomach Pains
- Jaundiced Colorations
Potential Suboxone Dependence
Although risk of addiction is lower for Suboxone, overuse can still lead to critical effects such as overdose. That being said, using Suboxone for a regular period of time could lead to withdrawal symptoms once discontinued. There is also further evidence of abuse or addiction, because there is a ceiling of potency – unlike other opiates, once you develop tolerance to Suboxone you cannot overcome that tolerance by taking more. This can lead to addictive behavior if not monitored.
Using medical detox drugs without the supervision of a professional is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. It is very important that if you or a loved one are looking to safely end your substance abuse addiction to opiates, that you seek the help of a medical professional near you.
Medical Detox at Royal Life Centers
Our medically assisted detox program is based on a clinical assessment of each guest, followed by an approved medical regimen. Each plan is tailored to our individual guest’s needs to ensure maximum comfort through withdrawal and safe, effective tapering off of substances. The medical detox program is a 4-8 day program. The length of your stay in detox is dependent on many factors, including: duration of drug or alcohol use, which substance or substances you were using, health condition, etc. Our medical professionals will meet with each guest individually and perform an assessment and evaluation to determine the best course of action for detox. Each guest is put on a medical detoxification protocol that addresses and treats his or her specific situation, needs, circumstances, etc.
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