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What is Suboxone?

SuboxoneSuboxone is the brand name for a prescription medication used in treating those addicted to opioids, illegal or prescription. It contains the ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, blocks the opiate receptors and reduces a person’s urges. The second ingredient, naloxone, helps reverse the effects of opioids. Together, these drugs work to prevent withdrawal symptoms associated with an opioid addiction.

"Suboxone has become the preferred treatment medication for opioid addiction. It is now used more than methadone, which can be habit-forming."

Unlike other opioid replacement medications that require a prescription from a specialized treatment center, Suboxone can be prescribed by your doctor. Many people use Suboxone at the start of treatment, as well as in continuing treatment and recovery. Your doctor or addiction counselor can help you come up with a personalized treatment plan.

While Suboxone can help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal that come from quitting opioids, it’s important to find a comprehensive treatment program. Counseling and therapy can help you target your underlying reason for opioid use, and find new ways to cope with pain and stress. Call us now to find an addiction treatment center near you.

Uses of Suboxone

Your doctor may prescribe Suboxone for dependence on short-acting opioids including heroin and prescription painkillers. Suboxone is typically not recommended for long-acting opioids. Instead, many people use a buprenorphine-only medication.

The first phase of Suboxone use is the withdrawal phase, where symptoms are most uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. Suboxone helps alleviate and potentially eliminate opioid withdrawal symptoms. Under the supervision of your doctor, you will move from the withdrawal phase to the maintenance phase. Once treatment has been completed, your doctor may begin reducing your doses until you no longer need the medication.

"When taken properly, individuals on Suboxone will have no cravings, have no withdrawal, and will feel ‘normal’…that’s why it’s so effective."

Dr. Adam Bisaga, professor of psychiatry at CUMC and researcher at New York State Psychiatric Institute

How Does Suboxone Help Addiction Treatment?

Suboxone can be used during different stages of treatment and offers a long-term solution for managing an opioid addiction. When included as part of a comprehensive recovery plan, the medication eliminates opioid cravings altogether.

Since Suboxone is a depressant, it slows you down rather than speeding you up like a stimulant. Those who take the medication may experience:

  •      Pain relief
  •      Calmness and overall well-being
  •      Perceived fewer worries and reduced stress levels
  •      Relaxation

Follow-up appointments with your prescribing physician is important in ensuring a successful recovery while on Suboxone.

How is Suboxone Administered?

Only a doctor can write scripts for Suboxone. Be sure to follow your doctor’s specific directions during each dose. Medication can administered through the Suboxone Film or a tablet form.

If you’re using the Suboxone Film, you will need to place it under your tongue in order for it to deliver the right amount of medicine. While the film is dissolving, it’s important to remember:

  • Do not chew or swallow the film. This can cause the medicine not to work as well.
  • Do not talk while the film is in your mouth. This may also affect how the medicine is absorbed in your body.

As time moves on, your doctor may change the dose to help wean you off medications altogether.

"Get the best results with Suboxone by using it as part of a comprehensive recovery program."

Relying on Suboxone alone can’t treat your addiction. Instead, use it to complement a complete treatment method that may involve inpatient or outpatient treatment, support groups and counseling. Get in touch with us today to find a treatment center.

Side Effects of Suboxone

Although used to help manage opiate abuse, it’s important to know Suboxone can lead to dependence. Those most likely to develop a dependence on the medication include:

  •      Individuals with a current or previous problem in abusing narcotics
  •      Individuals unaware of the potential dangerous side effects
  •      Individuals addicted to heroin, looking to avoid any withdrawal

Additionally, you should not discontinue taking Suboxone without talking to your doctor first. Stopping treatment immediately can cause adverse effects and potentially lead to symptoms of opioid withdrawal, such as:

  • Joint, muscle pain
  • Irritability
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling jittery
  • Diarrhea

Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any negative side effects that may be associated with Suboxone. Some of the symptoms caused by Suboxone can include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Vomitng
  • Sweating
  • Stomach pain
  • Low energy
  • Headache

Suboxone Interactions

Some other medications, herbal remedies or supplements can cause negative effects when taken with Suboxone.

Below is a condensed list of various products that may lead to complications if consumed with Suboxone. Make note of all your current medications and speak with your doctor about any drugs you should refrain from using while on Suboxone.

  •      Acetaminophen
  •      Cholesterol-lowering medications
  •      Fluoxetine
  •      HIV-treatment drugs
  •      Niacin
  •      Oral contraceptives
  •      Verapamil

Where is Suboxone Available?

You must have a prescription from an approved prescribing physician in order to obtain Suboxone. The medication should not be taken for any other conditions outside of what it is prescribed for. Due to the nature of its active ingredients, you will be required to frequently check in with your doctor on the status of your treatment.

Suboxone Statistics



Over 12 weeks, 49 percent of those taking Suboxone reduced painkiller abuse.



lasting sobriety

When Suboxone is used alongside behavioral therapy and treatment programs, it significantly increases lasting sobriety.


Taking Suboxone is not a one-size-fits-all solution for your opioid addiction. While it helps treat dependence, it should be used in combination with other recovery solutions to ensure long-term sobriety. Give us a call today and connect with a treatment center near you to get started.

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