How do Buprenorphine medications (Suboxone/Subutex) work?
Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in both Suboxone and Subutex is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it triggers the same receptors in the brain that opioids do. However, no euphoric effect (or “high”) is produced by the medication. Therefore, when Buprenorphine is present in the system, one will not have cravings for, or withdrawal from, the opioids he or she tends to abuse. Buprenorphine also acts as a blocker for other opioids, so if they enter the bloodstream when it is present, it will have no effect on the user. This allows the individual to be free from the cycle of addiction while getting the rest of their life in order.
Are Buprenorphine products safe?
Yes. An exceptional amount of research has gone into both Suboxone and Subutex proving they are both safe and effective for long term use in a medication assisted program, while supervised by a medical professional.
Why is counseling such an important tool in the recovery process?
Medication alone can reduce cravings and withdrawal, but recovering from an addictive disorder requires rewiring of the brain and reprogramming of habits, and medication alone is not enough. Eliminating things in life that cause unnecessary stress or depression are very important, especially in the early stages of recovery. An experienced therapist or counselor will be able to help teach you techniques that will help you make some of the necessary changes for success in long term sobriety. It’s important to focus on rebuilding relationships, getting a job, going to school, repairing finances, assume responsibilities and accountability, explore hobbies, reduce anxiety/depression, and try to replace all the negatives in your life with positives to maintain long term sobriety. Any changes that are positive and meaningful are good for recovery!
Is Buprenorphine treatment just trading one addiction for another?
No. With successful Buprenorphine treatment, the cravings, unmanageability, compulsive behavior, loss of control, and other aspects of addiction vanish. When these signs and symptoms of addiction are no longer present, that is called remission, not switching addictions. Buprenorphine will maintain some of the preexisting physical dependence, but that is easily managed and resolved eventually, when the patient is ready to slowly taper off of the medication. Unlike addiction, controlled physical dependence under medical supervision is not life threatening. When compared to the problems caused by addiction, physical dependence is but a minor inconvenience.
How long will I need to stay on Buprenorphine Medication?
This is a common question. An individual’s length of treatment varies on a case-by-case basis. It will greatly depend on how an individual is responding to their treatment plan, if they have made the necessary positive changes in their life, if they are showing a pattern of progress and stability for a significant amount of time, and if they want do continue or discontinue the medication are all deciding factors in the length of one’s treatment.
Can I take Buprenorphine with other medications?
It is very important to discuss this with one of our physicians. Buprenorphine itself is regarded as a safe medication, but as with all opioids, should generally not be mixed with sedatives or depressants unless recommended by a medical professional. Be sure to tell your doctor exactly what you are taking before starting Buprenorphine treatment.
How do I know if Buprenorphine treatment is right for me?
If you are struggling with an opioid addiction, Suboxone/Subutex, when combined with an effective treatment plan will increase your chances of success in sobriety. The medication will decrease or eliminate cravings and withdrawal symptoms so you can focus on making the necessary positive changes in your life and leave your addiction in the past. However, only a medical professional should decide if this is the best course of action for you to take. To determine if this treatment is right for you, please schedule an appointment with Zephyr Medical Group and you can discuss your options with one of our experiences physicians.