How It Works and Is It Safe?
The prescription medication Subutex is a partial opioid agonist-antagonist, and is used by those who desire to put their opioid addictions behind them. This medication’s primary ingredient is buprenorphine hydrochloride, and is administered once a daily through a dissolvable tablet. Utilized in medication assisted treatment programs, Subutex is effective in blocking painful withdrawal symptoms that accompany the cessation of opioid abuse. Additionally, Subutex prevents strong cravings for continued use, which affords individuals the freedom to remain focused on their recovery rather than their temptations.
Receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, Subutex is safe to use in the treatment of opioid addiction. Extensive research has shown that taking Subutex within a medication assisted treatment program is much safer than continuing to abuse opioids, as abusing opioids leads to vital organ damage. Also, when an individual is consuming Subutex through a licensed program, he or she will not suffer cognitive challenges or face disturbances in their daily lives and overall functioning because of withdrawal symptoms. Using Subutex within a medication assisted treatment program allows individuals to focus their attention on all areas of their recovery process, as well as be able to continually follow through with daily responsibilities within their personal lives.
It is imperative to remember that, as with other medications, Subutex cause side effects. Even though this medication is safe to use while being monitored by a medical professional, those who are looking into obtaining this type of treatment should always talk about possible side effects and ask any questions to a provider regarding the safety of this medication.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Numerous studies have documented the effectiveness of Subutex in the treatment of opioid addiction. Individuals that have included Subutex into their medication assisted treatment plan have reported lessened cravings for use of substances such as prescription painkillers, heroin, or morphine. In addition, individuals have also reported a decrease in painful withdrawal symptoms when taking Subutex.
Overall, when Subutex is included in opioid addiction treatment, results tend to be positive, and they allow individuals the opportunity to focus on healing and advancing in their recovery.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
Addiction treatment that includes Subutex typically involves three separate treatment phases. Additional therapeutic interventions used during these phases help move the process of recovery along. When taking Subutex, individuals will likely experience the following phases:
Induction: When an individual is first introduced to Subutex, he or she begins the induction phase. At this time, these individuals are just beginning to experience withdrawal.
Stabilization: The phase of stabilization occurs when an individual is no longer struggling with withdrawal symptoms or cravings for continued opioid use. The dosage of Subutex can be altered if necessary during this phase.
Maintenance: Once the maintenance phase is reached, individuals are stable enough to begin tapering off of Subutex entirely, or tapering off to begin the use of a different, more appropriate medication.
Throughout each one of these phases, it is beneficial for individuals to obtain counseling. Both group and individual therapy sessions can help individuals work through their emotions during each phase, obtain new skills to help stay focused on recovery, share the successes and challenges of recovery, and obtain unwavering support from professionals and peers who have grappled with similar obstacles. Research has proven that those who simultaneously obtain therapy and medication assisted treatment are more likely to stay strong in their recovery.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: The friends and family members of an individual who is obtaining medication assisted treatment that uses Subutex can be of great support to him or her by standing by his or her side throughout the process of recovery. As a friend or family member, it is suggested that you receive your own support if necessary, as your loved one’s addiction has likely impacted you in negative ways. If you feel comfortable doing so, actively engage in your loved one’s care, as you can achieve a better understanding of addiction, as well as help you repair your relationship with your loved one.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are looking into a medication assisted treatment program that utilizes Subutex in the treatment of opioid addiction, there are a number of ways that you can have success at this time:
- Speak up if you are having concerns about your recovery during treatment. By talking with your provider, he or she can offer additional resources to ensure that your needs are being met.
- Do not use other opioids while on Subutex.
- Voice any concerns you might have while taking Subutex. That way, if you have any issues, your provider can make adjustments to your dosage if necessary.
- Follow all treatment recommendations given to you by your provider with regards to taking Subutex.
- Always show up to all individual and/or group therapy sessions, and actively engage in these sessions.
The Side Effects of Subutex
Taking any sort of prescription medication calls for a thorough conversation with your provider to reduce any chance of negative reactions. Prior to taking Subutex, ask about adverse food interactions, health conditions that could be exasperated through the use of Subutex, and other drug interactions (including one’s that can occur from over-the-counter medications). Furthermore, if you are looking to start a Subutex regimen, please be aware of the following side effects, of which can become more likely when your dosage is increased:
Most common side effects:
- Withdrawal symptoms
Fairly common side effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Runny eyes
Less common side effects:
- Accidental injury
- Upset stomach
At Temecula Valley Comprehensive Treatment Center, we are happy to discuss all of our treatment methods with you, as well as answer any questions that you or a loved one might have about Subutex.