How It Works and Is It Safe?
Subutex is classified as a partial opioid agonist-antagonist, and is a prescription medication that helps provide treatment to those who are addicted to opioids. With buprenorphine hydrochloride as its primary ingredient, Subutex is given to patients in the form of a dissolvable tablet. This medication is used within medication assisted treatment programs, primarily because of its ability to stop the upsetting and painful withdrawal symptoms that develop once an individual stops abusing opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers. Subutex is also able to lessen the strength of cravings for continued opioid use, which allows individuals to remain dedicated to their recovery as opposed to focused on the physical symptoms of their addiction.
In 2002, Subutex was approved for use in medication assisted treatment programs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Extensive research has shown that this medication is not only a safe option for treating opioid dependence, but it is also safer to take Subutex than to continue using opioids, as this medication does not cause vital organ damage like many opioids do. Furthermore, when an individual is given Subutex, he or she will no longer battle with the cognitive struggles that he or she would face if not taking this medication. When Subutex is included into a medication assisted treatment program, an individual will be able to stay focused on all areas of his or her recovery, as well as hold strong to their responsibilities in their everyday lives.
It is important to recognize that, as with other medications, the use of Subutex can lead to a number of side effects. While this medication is safe to use when under the watch of a medical professional, those who are looking into obtaining Subutex for the opioid dependency should speak with a physician regarding the side effects that might develop. Additionally, they should also ask any questions they might have to help alleviate any concerns related to the use of this medication within this type of a program.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Numerous studies have proven that Subutex is highly effective in treating opioid dependency. Individuals who have included Subutex into their treatment plan have reported a significant decrease in their cravings for the use of opioids like prescription painkillers, heroin, or morphine, as well as a less intense withdrawal period.
Overall, when Subutex is included into an individual’s treatment for opioid dependency, individuals are often greeted with positive results that allow them to continue on in their recovery process.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
Addiction treatment that includes the use of a medication such as Subutex typically involves three different phases. Each phase is best complemented by additional therapeutic methods that can ultimately help move the recovery process forward. When prescribed Subutex, individuals will likely experience the following:
Induction: This first stage of treatment occurs when an individual is just beginning on Subutex after stopping his or her opioid use. Those who are in this phase are just starting to withdraw.
Stabilization: During stabilization, individuals are typically not going through withdrawal anymore or struggling with cravings to keep using. At this time, an individual’s dosage can be adjusted if necessary.
Maintenance: Once an individual reaches the stage of maintenance, he or she can begin tapering off of Subutex fully or tapering off in order to switch to another medication.
As each of these phases occur, it is incredibly important that individuals obtain counseling services at the same time. Both group and individual therapy sessions can help an individual work through his or her emotions during each phase of treatment, learn what skills will be needed to stay in recovery mode, share achievements and setbacks throughout the process of recovery, and obtain support from professionals and peers. Research has proven that individuals who have obtained therapy at the same time as receiving medication assisted treatment are more likely to stay in recovery.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Family and friends of a loved one who is in medication assisted treatment can be exceptionally helpful at this time. If you are a friend or loved one, it is important that you obtain help for yourself, too, as it is likely that your loved one’s addiction has negatively impacted you as well. If possible, play as active of a role as possible, as doing so can help you better understand addiction and help improve you and your loved one’s relationship. Remaining a constant source of support will help the person you care about in the long-run.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you or someone you love is looking into a medication assisted treatment program that includes the use of Subutex to treat opioid addiction, there are a number of ways in which you can be successful:
- Adhere to the recommendations of treatment provided to you by your physician when it comes to taking Subutex.
- Go to all individual and group therapy sessions that you have scheduled and actively engage yourself in them.
- Talk about any concerns that might develop while taking Subutex. If a concern or problem develops, your physician can help make adjustments to your medication if necessary.
- Do not use opioids while taking Subutex.
- Communicate with your provider if you have any concerns about your addiction during treatment. He or she can help guide you towards the right opportunities for support for you if needed.
The Side Effects of Subutex
In addition, it is important for individuals who are starting on Subutex to be aware of the side effects that can develop, which can occur more frequently when an individual’s dosage is increased:
Most common side effects:
- Back pain
- Withdrawal symptoms
Fairly common side effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Runny eyes
Less common side effects:
- Upset stomach
- Accidental injury
At Northeast Massachusetts Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we are happy to discuss the treatment methods that we provide, as well as answer any questions you might have regarding your use of Subutex. Please contact us right now.