Suboxone Treatment Abuse Risks & How to Avoid Them
With the advent of buprenorphine-based drugs like Suboxone, people recovering from chronic opiate addiction can obtain medication treatment through a physician’s office. This development has made opiate addiction medication therapies much more accessible compared to the tight restrictions placed on methadone treatment.
Like methadone, Suboxone’s effects derive from an opiate-based ingredient known as buprenorphine. Suboxone also contains naloxone, an antagonist-type drug that works to reduce the likelihood of relapse. While Suboxone offers a range of therapeutic benefits, it does still hold appeal as a drug of abuse due to its opiate component.
In general, Suboxone works best as a long-term maintenance treatment, which can greatly increase the risk of abuse. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to reduce Suboxone treatment abuse risks.
Residual withdrawal effects and persistent drug cravings become the two greatest challenges addicts face when recovering from chronic opiate addiction. Medication therapies like Suboxone and methadone are designed to alleviate these effects, giving those in recovery a fighting chance at long-term abstinence from drug abuse.
According to the U. S. Food & Drug Administration, as a Schedule III controlled substance, Suboxone’s abuse potential runs considerably lower than methadone, a Schedule II controlled substance. Whereas methadone’s effects grow stronger with increased dosage amounts, buprenorphine (Suboxone’s opiate ingredient) has a ceiling effect that’s designed to limit the drug’s potency effects once a certain dosage amount is reached.
Suboxone’s added ingredient, naloxone produces uncomfortable withdrawal-type effects in the event a person should attempt to abuse addictive opiates while in treatment. These combined effects of Suboxone make for an effective opiate addiction treatment therapy.
Suboxone Treatment Abuse Potential
Suboxone treatment works as a type of replacement therapy in terms of mimicking the effects of addictive opiates in the brain without producing a high potential for abuse and addiction. That being so, Suboxone still interacts with the same brain chemical processes as addictive opiates, so there’s still a potential for abuse, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center.
As with addictive opiates, the brain can develop a tolerance for Suboxone treatment effects, which ultimately becomes the driving force behind drug abusing tendencies. As a long-term, maintenance treatment, treatment durations can run anywhere from six months to several years, which also increases the risk for abuse.
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Suboxone Treatment Abuse Risks
Suboxone’s treatment effective relies on dosage amount in terms of a person receiving the amount that best addresses his or her treatment needs. In effect, optimal dosage amounts will eliminate withdrawal and drug cravings without producing a sedating effect. If a person does experience sedative effects, the dosage level is too high. If he or she experiences continued withdrawal and drug cravings, the dosage level is too low.
Keeping your doctor informed at each stage of the treatment process offers the best way of avoiding Suboxone treatment abuse risks. Types of information your doctor needs to know throughout include:
- Any side effects you’re experiencing, such as aches and pains or muddled thinking
- Problems sleeping
- Drug cravings
- Symptoms of depression
By keeping your doctor informed, he or she can make needed dosage adjustments along the way. These precautions can go a long way towards helping you maintain abstinence form drug abusing practices.
If you or someone you know are considering Suboxone treatment and have more questions, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-533-1341 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.