From Pain Management to Opiate Addiction: How to Get off Suboxone

When drug addicts finally decide to get clean, professionals at treatment facilities may choose to use prescription drugs to wean them from their addictions. For heroin and opiate abusers, Suboxone is a common choice; however, addiction to this drug is also possible. Before learning how to get off Suboxone, individuals must understand how it affects the mind. Addicts must have supervised medical attention and professional help to safely detox from Suboxone.

shutterstock_2237031_pillsSuboxone is typically prescribed to lessen the pain and discomfort of opiate withdrawal. In the United States, Suboxone is only supposed to be prescribed to wean individuals off of an addiction to pain medication or street drugs. Medical professionals in other locations around the world may prescribe Suboxone for pain or varying off-label uses. The medication is made of the chemical buprenorphine hydrochloride, which is the main ingredient and designed to lessen the symptoms of addiction. Although prescribed by a doctor, this drug can be addictive. Some addicts use it as a cheaper alternative to buying opiates on the street.

Originally, Suboxone hit the U.S. market in the late 1990s. It was used initially for pain management, but over time gained popularity among opiate abusers and rehabilitation programs. By 2010, prescriptions for the medication were at 209.5 million in number. In the first quarter of 2012 alone, the drug earned $1.4 billion in sales. It has jumped up in the rankings to become the 26th most common prescription in the United States.

Addicts may buy black market Suboxone in an attempt to get sober. However, trying to detox alone isn’t only dangerous – it carries a real risk of growing addicted to Suboxone. After reducing the dependency on opiates, addicts will still have to determine how to get off Suboxone. This switch between a drug of choice and a drug to stave off withdrawal symptoms is known by rehab specialists as “bridging.” Instead of helping the addict become clean, it only furthers the addiction. Suboxone can be an effective part of a treatment plan, but its use must be thoroughly supervised by a medical professional.

Suboxone essentially is processed like an opiate within the brain. It stimulates the same brain receptors that are normally targeted by opiates. Unlike illicit opiates or other pain medications, Suboxone only stimulates a part of the brain’s receptors. This means that the addict feels better without experiencing the same euphoria. Although it doesn’t produce the high of a normal opiate, it has a longer half-life. Morphine typically binds to receptors with a half-life of two hours. In comparison, Suboxone has a half-life that ranges from 24 to 60 hours. It contains another chemical known as naloxone that helps to block some of the opiate receptors in the brain.

The Uses of Suboxone

Suboxone originally was available in tablet form. This has changed over the last few years because of the risk of addicts crushing or injecting the drug. Currently, the most common version available is a strip that goes beneath the tongue. According to the manufacturers, this drug is intended to work as a part of treatment for opioid addiction. It’s supposed to be given in a single daily dose and according to the prescribing doctor’s instructions.

Since there’s a high potential for abuse, Suboxone must be prescribed by a physician. Before a doctor can even write a prescription for it, the professional must meet special requirements. Despite these measures, Suboxone remains a common drug on the streets. To prevent addiction and abuse, doctors are advised to closely supervise patients and screen them for addiction.

Get off Suboxone Safely

The potential to abuse Suboxone is fairly clear. In 2006, French researchers conducted a study of current users of Suboxone. The study found that many of the users were crushing or injecting their tablets. In the Czech Republic, Suboxone is believed to account for up to 70 percent of the drugs sold on the street. The Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration discovered many of the same problems in the United States. Instead of using Suboxone to get off of drugs, users were quickly becoming addicted.

Doctor-Drinking-Habits-AddictionUsers must learn how to get off Suboxone to properly end an addiction. If chronic pain problems are present, detoxing from Suboxone may be more difficult. Doctors have to be extremely careful about which therapies and treatments they use for individuals on Suboxone. Before a surgery or dental procedure, a doctor may recommend that the individual reduce or stop taking this medication. Since there are always risks of suddenly discontinuing the medication, users must always talk with their doctors first.

Once an addiction to pain medication or other drugs has ended, it’s time to stop taking Suboxone. The best way to ensure physical safety and health is to seek out the help of a trained medical professional. In general, a doctor or rehab specialist will recommend a rehabilitation facility. The facility staff will normally start by educating addicts about addiction triggers, diet and how Suboxone affects the mind. By connecting through therapy, relaxing the mind and boosting social interactions, addicts can help reduce the chance of a relapse. Depending on the severity of the addiction, the medical facility may choose to immediately or gradually reduce the amount of Suboxone taken each day.

If you or a loved one has an addiction to Suboxone, you can get help. There are rehab specialists who can help you learn how to handle the withdrawal symptoms. To start getting your life back on track, call the hotline at 800-447-9081 today.

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