Suboxone’s 2 Main Ingredients and their roles

If you are addicted to opioids and you are looking into treatment options, you are likely aware that you will need medication to guide you through your detoxification. It is possible for you to do it without medications, but practitioners in that instance do recommend medical oversite. It is just that dangerous to break an opioid addiction. The withdrawal is terrible.

The classic medication used to guide opioid users through detox is methadone.

No doubt, you have preconceived notions based on popular culture, right? If you use methadone, you will get addicted to it instead. You might overdose. You’ll have to go to disgusting clinics and associate with disgusting drug users to get your medication. In reality, methadone, when used as directed by a physician, does a perfect job of treating opioid addiction. However, the stigma sticks.

If the idea of medically assisted treatment appeals to you, but the idea of methadone still scares you, you may be more comfortable with one of the more recently issued medications, like suboxone.

If you are interested in learning more about suboxone and what it can do for you, would like to help. We can connect you with resources and additional information. Just give us a call at 800-533-1341.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Main Ingredients

Suboxone eases withdrawal symptoms so you can focus on getting your life back on track.

Firstly, it is important to understand that suboxone is one aspect of medication-assisted treatment: is a confirmed method for helping people rise above opioid addiction. Many people assume that the medication is the entirety of the treatment, but that isn’t the case. There are three components:

  • Medication
  • Counseling
  • Support from loved ones

As for the medication, the National Institute on Drug Abuse lists the options available:

  • agonists, e.g., methadone (dolophine or methadose), which activate opioid receptors
  • partial agonists, e.g., buprenorphine (subutex, suboxone), which also activate opioid receptors but produce a diminished response
  • antagonists, e.g., naltrexone (depade, revia, vivitrol), which block the receptor and interfere with the rewarding effects of opioids


Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine (a partial opioid agonist) and naloxone (a medication that blocks the opioid effects, such as pain relief or euphoria, that lead to dependence and addiction).

The FDA approved the use of suboxone for the treatment of opioid addiction in 2002.

Partial Opioid Agonist

The term partial opioid agonist is complicated and difficult to understand and brain chemistry is the same. It can all be very hard to follow. So, let’s start with an example that should make the whole thing more clear. Your brain has a lot of opioid receptors. Think of them as fire hydrants that opioids can open up. When you are high, the water comes rushing out and pools all over your brain. When you are sober, the hydrants are tightly closed and your brain is dry.

Oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, heroin and methadone are all full opioid agonists, this means that they open those hydrants as much as possible, water rushes out.

A partial opioid agonist—like buprenorphine—is an opioid that releases less of an effect than a full opioid when it attaches to a receptor in your brain. Buprenorphine opens the hydrant just enough to let water trickle out. The brain gets a little wet and that is enough to satisfy it; this soothes withdrawal symptoms and the cravings associated with the use of a problem drug.

Every year, more people get medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports “The proportion of clients receiving buprenorphine was less than 1 percent (5,099 clients) in 2005, but increased to 2 percent (24,173 clients) in 2009, to 3 percent (32,676 clients) in 2011, and to 4 percent (48,148 clients) in 2013.”

8 Facts about Suboxone you Need to Know

The Ceiling Effect

Naloxone comes into play with the ceiling effect. It blocks the effects of further opioid exposure. If you try to open the hydrant more by taking more suboxone, you won’t be able to. Taking extra suboxone won’t get you high. The same is true of taking a full opioid. While the naloxone is active, you won’t be able to get high.

Overdose situations also benefit from the ceiling effect. If you overdose on suboxone, you will experience a smaller amount of difficulty breathing than you would if you overdosed with a full agonist.

Basically, suboxone controls withdrawal, limits cravings, and prevents your body from getting high for 24 hours. The efficacy is phenomenal. If you like the idea of medication assisted treatment with suboxone, call at 800-533-1341.