How does suboxone work? The ongoing opioid epidemic which has taken the lives of almost 500,000 Americans in the past two decades. Research into medication-assisted treatment for addiction has both increased and improved. One such medication is Suboxone, but many people ask: How does Suboxone work? Suboxone is a frequent treatment used to curtail the effects of opioid addiction. Below, we’ll help you understand Suboxone, and the benefits of such a treatment. This will you will be able to make an informed decision on whether Suboxone is the right method of treatment for yourself or a loved one.
Opioid and Heroin Death Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the opioid epidemic has been characterized by three spikes in overall overdose deaths. Prescription opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone were mostly to blame for the first spike in the 1990s. It was around this time that large drug companies shifted their business model to focus on the profitable pain management sector. This led to a rise in opioid prescriptions being written throughout the country.
The next spike occurred around 2010. Heroin abuse spiked dramatically as it was cheaper and easier to get than prescription opioids. With illegal drug trafficking being the source of heroin, its spread was difficult to contain.
The third spike or “wave” took place in 2013 with the introduction of fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opioid that is about 100 times more potent than morphine. It is so strong that even a tiny amount of fentanyl can cause a fatal overdose in someone who has built up opioid tolerance. Fentanyl is often found in heroin, cocaine, and even pills without the user being aware. In 2019 alone, 49, 860 overdose fatalities involving opioids were reported, amounting to 70.6 percent of all overdose deaths that year.
Due to the adaptations of opioid abuse over the years, overdose fatalities are continuing to increase across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 Annual Surveillance Report of Drug-related Risks and Outcomes, the rate of opioid overdose fatalities increased from approximately 3 per every 100,000 Americans in 1999 to approximately 13 per every 100,000 Americans in 2016.
What is Suboxone?
Following the first spike in opioid fatalities, Suboxone was approved by the FDA in 2002 in an attempt to minimize the damage of prescription opioid abuse. This medication combines buprenorphine, an opioid, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist commonly referred to by its brand name, Narcan. Unlike similar medication-assisted treatments, such as methadone, Suboxone does not require administration within a clinical facility. Upon being prescribed Suboxone by a supervising physician, the patient is responsible for following the instructions for use. Suboxone is either taken sublingually (dissolved under the tongue) or buccally (dissolved inside of the cheek).
Suboxone is the combination of two contradictory drugs. Buprenorphine is an opioid while naloxone is an opioid antagonist. The buprenorphine component satisfies the individual’s opioid craving while naloxone blocks the effects on opioid receptors. It is recommended that an individual beginning Suboxone therapy wait until they start experiencing opioid withdrawal symptoms before taking their first dose. Once Suboxone is administered, the individual can expect mild relief from withdrawal symptoms within the hour.
Because Suboxone is a partial opioid, dependence and abuse of this medication is possible. That is why the prescribing physician must closely supervise the individual’s progress and make a sound judgment on when the best time is to begin tapering off from the drug. The amount of time Suboxone treatment is required depends on each individual’s specific case and what the medical professional deems appropriate and safe.
Benefits of Medication Assisted Treatment
As potent and highly addictive substances, opioids are difficult to stop using without external assistance. In addition to clinically supervised detox and professional addiction therapy, medication-assisted treatment is very beneficial for those looking to recover from opioid addiction. With the help of a medication such as Suboxone, the individual will have relief from overwhelming cravings and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This will allow for undisturbed focus during addiction treatment therapy.
With the urge to use opioids being no longer present, the individual will be fully present and susceptible to the many benefits of various therapies such as individual, group, or cognitive-behavioral therapy. As progress is made in therapy, Suboxone doses will gradually decrease under the supervision of the prescribing physician.
In the midst of the ongoing opioid epidemic, seeking treatment for opioid addiction is now more important than ever before. The introduction of addiction medications, such as Suboxone, have reinforced the notion of successful opioid recovery in this desperate time.
Is Suboxone Right For Me?
If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, Suboxone may be a beneficial treatment option. By combining buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone works to satisfy opioid cravings while simultaneously blocking their effects. The result is a clear mind, free from overwhelming opioid cravings. Suboxone medication also improves the addiction treatment process by alleviating uncomfortable opioid withdrawal symptoms, allowing the individual to focus solely on treatment, identifying the root source of their paralyzing addiction, and obtaining successful recovery.
Our addiction experts at Absolute Awakenings are trained in opioid addiction and are here to help. Due to the potency and highly addictive nature of opioids, professional addiction treatment is necessary to living a life in recovery. Suboxone medication may be beneficial before or during treatment depending on the individual’s situation. Regardless of the chosen addiction treatment approach, our addiction specialists are committed to making the client feel as comfortable and accepted as possible.
Whether you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, it is important to understand that you are not alone. Opioid addiction has never before been as far-reaching as it is now. The experts at Absolute Awakenings understand this and are prepared to assist you in the journey towards sobriety.Do not let opioids control you any longer. Call us today and take the first step on your road to recovery.