Suboxone Treatment in a Doctor’s Office: How Does It Work?
As stated by the Santa Clara County Government, “Unlike methadone and other clinics, the Suboxone Treatment Program is office-based.” Though some rehab centers do still offer buprenorphine treatment to patients, most individuals prefer the perks of getting their Suboxone from a doctor’s office. But how does office-based Suboxone treatment work?
Office-based vs. Clinic-based Treatment
Methadone, which was one of the only medications used to treat opioid addiction and dependence for a very long time, must always be dispensed from a methadone clinic that has been approved by the government. These programs are some of the most closely monitored in the entire field of medicine, mainly because methadone itself has such a high potential for misuse. However, buprenorphine does not have this restriction and can instead be prescribed by doctors in their offices.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Buprenorphine is the first medication to treat opioid dependency that is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing treatment access.” This has been a major milestone in the treatment of many opioid addicts as well as those who no longer wish to be dependent on certain opioids, as the drug can treat both opioid addiction in the long-term or be slowly tapered for medically-assisted withdrawal.
Who Benefits from Office-based Suboxone Treatment?
“Under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000, qualified U.S. physicians can offer buprenorphine for opioid dependency in various settings, including in an office, community, hospital, health department, or correctional facility.” Many individuals in certain situations who may not have been able to receive the medication they needed before now can with buprenorphine, including prisoners, those who live in rural areas far from methadone clinics, or those who were unable to get their medication from methadone clinics due to long waiting lists.
This change has opened up treatment to many more individuals and can help them immensely in withdrawing slowly or being maintained on medication. Either choice can allow them to receive the help they need without having to rely on methadone clinics, which are not always available to every population.
How Do Doctors Become Qualified to Prescribe Suboxone?
Still, only certain physicians are allowed to prescribe their patients buprenorphine-containing products like Suboxone, Bunavail, Zubslov, and Subutex. Though the medication itself is not as dangerous or as likely to be abused as methadone, it must still be handled very carefully and only be taken when a doctor has prescribed it.
“In order to prescribe or dispense buprenorphine, physicians must qualify for a physician waiver” (SAMHSA). They are able to do so by fulfilling a few requirements, including:
- Completing eight hours of training
- Applying to SAMHSA
- Filling out a waiver application
- Being able to refer patients to other services that might be necessary, including therapy
- Receiving a special identification number
The physician must then include this identification number on every prescription they write in order for their ability to prescribe the medication to be verified whenever necessary.
How Do I Get My Suboxone?
If you decide to receive Suboxone treatment through a doctor’s office, you will first have to undergo an exam and answer a number of questions about your drug abuse history. It is important that you are honest about your drug use so that the physician is able to choose the correct dosage for you. According to the National Library of Medicine, you should also tell your doctor if you:
- “Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding”
- Have recently had surgery or are planning to have surgery
- Are allergic to any medications, especially buprenorphine or naloxone
- Are currently taking any medications, either prescription- or nonprescription-based, vitamins, nutritional supplements, or other products
It is especially important to tell your doctor if you are taking antidepressants, anxiety medications, phenothiazines, sedatives, seizure medications, sleeping pills or tranquilizers, as these could be dangerous to take with certain doses of Suboxone. Once your physician knows everything they need to about your current condition, they will write you a prescription for Suboxone, which you can then obtain from your pharmacist.
Necessary Additional Treatments
As stated, physicians who become certified to prescribe buprenorphine-based medications to patients must be able to prove that they can themselves provide a number of other necessary treatments for the recovery of an addicted individual or that they can refer the patient to another source for these treatments.
Counseling or behavioral therapy is a necessary treatment option that goes hand-in-hand with medication. While Suboxone can be extremely beneficial in treating withdrawal symptoms, cravings, abnormal brain functions caused by addiction, and other issues, a person can only begin to truly understand their addiction and make changes to their behavior with the help of therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, and 12-step facilitation therapy are just some of the methods a Suboxone doctor or the counselor to which they recommend the patient may use to treat addiction. Some doctors might also refer their patients to treatment centers or practitioners who use holistic options including acupuncture, yoga, art therapy, etc.
Where Can I Find a Suboxone Doctor?
At SuboxoneDrugRehabs.com, we can help you find doctors and treatment centers in your area where you can be treated with and/or prescribed buprenorphine-based medications including Suboxone. In addition, it could be beneficial to ask your personal physician if they know a doctor who is certified to prescribe buprenorphine.
In general, it is much easier to find a doctor’s office where Suboxone is prescribed and to receive your medication than ever before. When you decide to be treated with this medication through a certified doctor’s care, you will find that your treatment begins quickly and easily, allowing you to start you life over again on the right path.
Do You Have Other Questions About Suboxone Treatment in a Doctor’s Office?
Call 800-533-1341 (Who Answers?) today to find out more about this possible treatment option. We can also help you find a doctor or treatment center that provides you with the best treatments options as well as the most beneficial way for you to receive Suboxone based on your personal needs.