How It Works and Is It Safe?
With buprenorphine hydrochloride as its active ingredient, Subutex is a partial agonist-antagonist that is prescribed to individuals struggling with an addiction to opioids. Absorbed into the body via a dissolvable tablet, Subutex combats the painful symptoms of withdrawal that take place when opioids, such as morphine, prescription pain medications, and heroin, are no longer introduced into the body. Subutex also prevents the individual from craving additional opioids. By eliminating the physical components of addiction through the use of Subutex, patients are able to focus on their recovery with a clear mind.
Subutex was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for the treatment of opioid addiction. Subutex is one of the few prescription medications that have been considered to be a safe and effective method to treat addition to opioids. Since Subutex will not cause patients to experience any changes in their daily physical performance, individuals are able to receive treatment while focusing their energy on the other components of recovery while adhering to the responsibilities in their daily lives.
As is the case with other medications, side effects can take place while using Subutex. Although the use of Subutex is safe under the direction of a trained medical professional, it is still important to openly discuss potential side effects with your treatment provider in order to ease any concern regarding your treatment.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Studies have confirmed the success of Subutex for opioid addiction when incorporated into a medication assisted treatment program. Patients receiving Subutex have reported experiencing a reduction in cravings for additional opioids, as well as a decrease in the physical symptoms associated with withdrawal.
In general, patients who utilize Subutex within their medication assisted treatment program experience positive outcomes that allow them to focus on their recovery.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
There are three treatment phases for individuals utilizing Subutex to overcome their opioid addiction. By incorporating therapeutic interventions into treatment, patients are able to experience a comprehensive approach to their treatment. Individuals prescribed Subutex will experience the following phases of treatment:
Induction: This first phase of treatment takes place in the beginning phases of withdrawal. Induction involves introducing Subutex into the patient’s system after the use of opioids has stopped.
Stabilization: During the stabilization stage of treatment, patients will no longer experience the symptoms of withdrawal or cravings for additional opioids. Pending the specific needs of each patient, the dosage of Subutex can be altered during this phase.
Maintenance: When a patient reaches the maintenance stage of treatment, they can discuss weaning off of Subutex or changing to a different medication offered within their program.
It is extremely valuable for patients to receive counseling while these phases are taking place. Both individual and group sessions can aid an individual in dealing with his or her feelings during treatment phases, developing skills for continued recovery, communicating any issues and successes that are experienced, and receiving support and encouragement from their counselors and peers who truly understand the struggles associated with addiction and recovery. Research has shown that individuals who receive counseling during their time in a medication assisted treatment program are less likely to relapse.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: The family and friends of a patient receiving Subutex can provide immense amount of support to the patient throughout the treatment process. As the loved one of someone who is battling an addiction to opioids, it is extremely important that you find your own support, as addiction affects more than just the individual who is physically using. If possible, it is also important to play an active role in your loved one’s care throughout his or her recovery process. By playing an active role, it will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of addiction, while strengthening the relationship with your loved one.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are considering using Subutex within a medication assisted treatment program, the following are ways in which you can maximize your success during treatment:
- Follow the treatment suggestions set in place by your provider regarding taking Subutex.
- Go to any scheduled group or individual counseling sessions and actively play a role in both settings.
- Voice any concerns that may arise while you are taking Subutex. Should an issue arise, your medical provider can potentially adjust the dosage or medication that you are taking.
- Refrain from using opioids while taking Subutex.
- Openly communicate with your provider should any concerns take place during the course of treatment. The individuals that you are working with are professionals who can advise on additional routes of treatment should they be necessary.
The Side Effects of Subutex
As is the case with any prescription medication, there are risks of side effects while taking Subutex. Because side effects can take place, it is important to openly discuss these risks with your physician, as well as any negative food interactions that could take place, health conditions that could cause adverse effects, as well as any other negative drug interactions if another medication is taken while using Subutex.
It is important for patients to be aware of the potential side effects while taking Subutex. Should any of these take place, please contact your physician right away:
Most common side effects:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Back pain
Fairly common side effects:
- Runny eyes
- Flu-like symptoms
Less common side effects:
- Accidental injury
- Upset stomach
The dedicated and compassionate staff at Sandhills Comprehensive Treatment Centers is here to discuss our methods of treatment, as well as answer any questions you may have regarding the use of Subutex. We look forward to speaking with you.