Suboxone is a medication that is used for the treatment of opioid dependence. It contains an active ingredient called buprenorphine hydrochloride, which has the power to reduce all of the symptoms that come along with opioid dependence. In 2002, this medication was finally approved by the FDA.
It’s a unique opioid that is used primarily in the United States. When compared with medications like Naltrexone and Methadone, Suboxone offers a wide range of advantages. With a medication-assisted treatment, it helps to suppress the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that come with opioids.
Another huge advantage is the fact that Suboxone doesn’t cause the patient to experience euphoria, in other words, it does not provide the high associated with illicit drugs. Suboxone is commonly used on opioid-dependent patients, and it blocks all of the effects of opioids for 24 hours.
The success rate for this medication has been more than surprising. Studies show that anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of patients maintain at least one year of sobriety when using Suboxone.
One of the benefits of this Suboxone is that it doesn’t require patients to participate in a federal program that is extremely regulated, such as a Methadone clinic. The abuse potential of Suboxone is significantly lower than competing medications because it causes no euphoria.
Use of Suboxone is part of an addiction management program called medication-assisted treatment. When used for individuals who are dependent on opioids, Suboxone is commonly combined with various support measures aimed at the behavioral parts of opioid addiction.
Medication-assisted treatment can make it possible for an individual to return to a normal state of mind, which is devoid of the cravings, withdrawal and lows of the addiction.
How Suboxone Works
It’s important to understand that taking Suboxone for opioid addiction does not consist of replacing on addictive drug with a different one. In every dose of Suboxone, there are two different medications combined. Out of these two prescriptions, the most important ingredient is the buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist. It’s useful to understand what a partial opioid agonist is. Simply put, a partial opioid agonist is something that still binds to opioid receptors in the brain but doesn’t produce the full effect that an opioid should produce. The second ingredient in Suboxone is called naloxone. The reason naloxone is added is to act as an opioid antagonist to negate the effects of opioids. Drugs like Morphine, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone can be considered full opioid agonists. The key takeaway here is that Suboxone doesn’t produce a euphoric effect in opioid-dependent individuals.
How Suboxone Works On the Brain and CNS
When administered to an addict, Suboxone affects the person’s Central Nervous System and chemical make-up in the brain. After consuming regular opioids, the opioids find their way to the brain and attach to certain receptors.
There are three main effects caused by opioids: high levels of euphoria, decreased pain, and reduced respiration. As more opioids are ingested, the intensity of these effects increases. The process that involves opioids binding to receptors in the brain can be viewed as some sort of mechanical union.
The better the opioids are able to fit, the greater the effects. Buprenorphine is one of the ingredients in Suboxone, and acts different than regular opioids. While buprenorphine binds to opioid receptors in the brain, it doesn’t fit perfectly. It occupies the opioid receptors in the brain but doesn’t produce the opioid effects. The receptors in the brain get tricked by the medication and think they’ve been given regular opioids when in fact, they haven’t. Suboxone doesn’t produce the respiratory depression, elevated euphoria and other effects addicts are used to.
Since this Suboxone sticks with the receptors for a long time, it prevents other opioids from binding to the receptors, so if an addict were to use Heroin while having Suboxone in his or her system, the effects of the Heroin would be almost nonexistent.
The major benefit of buprenorphine in Suboxone is that it lasts up to three days at a time. If you or someone you know needs help with a drug problem, it’s important to seek help immediately.