Can I Use Suboxone for Opiate Detox and as a Long-term Opiate Addiction Treatment?
Addiction treatment has come a long way over the past few decades, developing medication therapies to help improve the chances of continued abstinence for recovering opiate addicts. Suboxone, one of the more commonly used medication treatments, exists as one of two brand name buprenorphine-based drugs specifically formulated to treat opiate addiction.
First developed in 2002, Suboxone offers certain benefits not provided through the more traditional methadone treatment approach. While Suboxone can be used as both a detox and long-term opiate addiction treatment, certain situations may warrant using it in one way versus the other. For people coming off long histories of opiate abuse, Suboxone can greatly improve one’s chances of ongoing abstinence in recovery.
Suboxone contains two active ingredients, one that mimics the effects of addictive opiates and another that works to prevent a person from abusing the drug. Buprenorphine, the main ingredient, interacts with brain cells in ways similar to methadone, imitating the effects of addictive opiate substances. Naloxone, a secondary ingredient, produces mild withdrawal effects whenever a person attempts to abuse Suboxone through snorting or injecting the drug.
According to the U. S. Food & Drug Administration, Suboxone’s buprenorphine ingredient is a synthetic opiate that has a built-in ceiling effect designed to limit the drug’s potency at high dosage levels. This characteristic greatly reduces the potential for addiction in terms keeping a person from experiencing any “high” effects from the drug. In this respect, Suboxone differs from methadone since methadone’s effects continue to increase as dosage amounts go up.
Suboxone as an Opiate Detox Treatment
Suboxone’s effectiveness derives from its ability to meet the brain’s need for opiates. This effect works to reduce the degree of withdrawal and drug cravings effects experienced in the detox stage.
While Suboxone does do a good job as an opiate addiction treatment overall, its built-in ceiling effect limits its effectiveness as a detox treatment. People coming off chronic opiate addictions stand to experience harsh withdrawal effects as result of months or years of opiate abuse. Withdrawal effects typically take the form of:
- Severe depression
- Anxiety episodes
- Muscle aches and pains
In effect, Suboxone’s ceiling effect limits its ability to relieve the degree of withdrawal experienced in detox, especially for people recovering from addictions involving prescription pain pills, according to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.
Suboxone as a Long-Term Opiate Addiction Treatment
The potential for relapse remains an ongoing challenge for people recovering from chronic opiate addiction and may well be an issue for months or even years into the recovery process. Suboxone’s naloxone ingredient combined with its built-in ceiling effect work well at addressing this relapse potential.
In the same vein, Suboxone’s buprenorphine ingredient also helps relieve the residual withdrawal effects and drug cravings that can persist long after a person stops abusing opiates. Overall, Suboxone’s mechanism of action in the brain makes for an effective long-term opiate addiction treatment.
While Suboxone treatment may not be the best opiate addiction treatment option for everyone, its therapeutic effects can make a world of difference in terms of helping a person maintain continued abstinence for those who can benefit from its effects. If you or someone you know is considering Suboxone as an opiate addiction treatment and have more questions about how this drug works, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-533-1341 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.