How It Works and Is It Safe?
The prescription medication Subutex is an opioid partial opioid agonist-antagonist and is used for those who desire to end their opioid addictions. With buprenorphine hydrochloride as its primary ingredient, Subutex is given once daily via a dissolvable tablet that is put under the tongue and absorbed into the body. This medication is frequently used within medication assisted treatment programs, as it is highly effective in stopping painful withdrawal symptoms that develop when substances like morphine, heroin, or prescription painkillers are no longer being abused. Additionally, Subutex is able to curb cravings for continued use of opioids, allowing those who are consuming it the freedom to focus solely on their recovery.
In 2002, Subutex was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as one of the few medications proven safe to use in the treatment of opioid addiction. Thorough research has shown that consuming Subutex is much safer than continually abusing dangerous opioids, especially considering that this medication does not cause vital organ damage. Additionally, when an individual is given Subutex, he or she will not suffer any cognitive impairments or disturbances throughout the day. When included into a medication assisted treatment program, those obtaining this form of treatment are able to fully engage in all areas of their recovery, as well as maintain other areas in their personal lives.
However, like other medications, Subutex can cause side effects. The use of this medication is considered safe when it is taken under the watchful eye of a medical professional, however individuals who are looking into this form of treatment should talk through any questions they have regarding the use of this medication or its side effects with their provider. Talking to one’s provider can alleviate any concern related to this type of care.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Numerous studies have shown that Subutex is extremely effective in treating opioid addiction. Individuals who have incorporated Subutex into their medication assisted treatment have experienced lessened cravings for the use of morphine, prescription pain medications, and/or heroin. In addition, countless individuals who have completed a Subutex treatment program agree that the withdrawal that is often associated with the cessation of opioid abuse is diminished through the use of this medication.
Overall, when Subutex is included into opioid addiction treatment, the outcomes tend to be positive and encourage individuals who are obtaining this form of care to remain committed to their recovery.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
When Subutex plays a role in substance abuse treatment, there are often three phases of treatment that individuals go through. These phases can be complemented by therapeutic interventions as a way to further the recovery process. When taking Subutex, individuals will likely go through the below listed phases:
Induction: This first phase of treatment occurs when an individual is introduced to Subutex and after he or she has stopped abusing opioids. Those who are in this phase are generally just starting to experience some withdrawal symptoms.
Stabilization: Stabilization happens when individuals are no longer having withdrawal symptoms or are battling with cravings to keep using opioids. At this time, an individual’s dosage of Subutex can be adjusted based on his or her treatment needs.
Maintenance: This final phase involves individuals being stable enough to taper off of their Subutex and either stay off of it entirely or switch to a different medication for more long-term maintenance.
As each of these phases occurs, it is incredibly beneficial for individuals to obtain counseling services simultaneously. Both group and individual therapy sessions can help an individual comb through his or her emotions surrounding the process of treatment, acquire the necessary skills to stay in recovery, share successes and setbacks related to recovery, and obtain support from peers and professionals who can relate to their struggles. Lastly, research has proven that those individuals who participate in counseling while they are in medication assisted treatment are much more likely to avoid relapsing.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Friends and family members of someone who is obtaining Subutex within a medication assisted treatment program can be of the utmost service to him or her by providing support throughout the recovery process. In addition, as a friend or a family member, it is important to obtain support for yourself at this time, as your loved one’s addiction has likely impacted you as well. If possible, play as much of a positive, active role in your loved one’s recovery, as doing so can help you not only obtain more information about this process, but also rebuild your relationship with your loved one.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are considering participating in a medication assisted treatment program that involves the use of Subutex to treat opioid addiction, there are a number of ways that you can achieve success at this time:
- Follow the recommendations for treatment that your provider gives you when it comes to taking Subutex.
- Continuously attend all group and/or individuals therapy sessions and fully participate in all of them.
- Alert your provider of any concerns you have while taking Subutex so he or she can help you make the appropriate adjustments.
- Do not use opioids while on Subutex.
- Speak with your provider if you begin struggling with addiction-related concerns during your treatment. He or she will be able to guide you towards the appropriate support and resources if necessary.
The Side Effects of Subutex
Consuming any medication requires individuals to have a detailed conversation with their provider to remove any possibility of risk. Prior to starting on a Subutex treatment program, it is imperative to ask about any adverse food reactions that might develop when taking Subutex, health conditions that could grow worse by the presence of this medication in the body, and any other upsetting interactions that could happen if an individual is already consuming other medications such as over-the-counter or prescription medications.
In addition, it is critical that individuals who begin on a Subutex treatment program are aware of the following side effects, which are more likely to occur when an individual’s dosage is upped:
Most common side effects:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Back pain
Fairly common side effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Runny eyes
Less common side effects:
- Upset stomach
- Accidental injury
At Northeast Pennsylvania Comprehensive Treatment Center, we are more than willing to discuss our methods of treatment with you, as well as answer any questions you might have about Subutex. Please contact us right away.