Suboxone Used to Treat Opioid Addiction
On October 8th of 2002 the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved buprenorphine in two different type formulas for the treatment of opiate addiction therapy. Subutex which is buprenorphine hydrochloride is used in the initial stages (beginning) of therapy.
Suboxone is the second formula which is a combination of buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride, this drug is used in the maintenance stage for opiate addiction and withdrawal.
In this video a doctor explains what Suboxone and Subutex are, how Suboxone and Subutex are supposed to be used for and exactly what buprenorphine does to the body.
Both of these products are tablets that dissolve under the tongue for treating narcotic addiction and are classified as a Schedule III drug by the Federal Government.
A Schedule III classification means the drug is much safer and the risk of an individual becoming dependent on the drug is much lower and less likely. Methadone is classified as a Schedule II drug as well as morphine and oxycodone because they have addiction potential and are much more likely to be abused. Suboxone appears to be a much better choice than methadone when treating opiate addiction symptoms and the maintenance of these symptoms for the following reasons.
Buprenorphine has been used for the treatment of heroin addiction and has been successful in relieving withdrawal symptoms and cravings without producing the intense euphoric high or dangerous side effects. When an individual takes Suboxone as directed by a physician it’s taken orally and the severe withdrawal symptoms don’t occur.
The legal use of Suboxone is for the treatment of pain and also used for opioid addiction. Suboxone contains naloxone which helps to prevent euphoria so those abusing it won’t experience the intense high they are looking for. Subutex doesn’t contain naloxone (blocks euphoria) so this drug when abused produces more affects and withdrawal symptoms.
Most commonly methadone is used with treating opiate addiction in the United States. It helps to reduce cravings for opiates and helps with relieving the symptoms of opiate withdrawals but there are many disadvantages to methadone therapy.
Methadone can only be prescribed in licensed methadone clinics and the individual working toward recovery has to go there every day for their medication treatment. Some individuals have to travel a good distance in order to receive their treatment. Methadone is also a Schedule II drug as mentioned above and holds a much higher risk for dependence and abuse. It became necessary to come up with a safer treatment that was not only less likely to be abused but convenient for the individual in need of treatment for opiate dependence while treating their withdrawal symptoms.
In this video the same doctor in the video above talks about both Methadone and Suboxone and compares the effects of both drugs.
Buprenorphine then became available for treating opiate addiction and the 2 formulas subutex and suboxone were designed for treating the first stages of addiction treatment as well as the maintenance part of addiction therapy. Buprenorphine is the only opiate dependence therapy drug that a physician can prescribe in their office for their patients dealing with opiate addiction. Though Suboxone can be abused it is much less likely, much less addictive, and much more convenient for the individual working towards opiate addiction recovery. For many people Suboxone is a much better alternative for treating opiate dependence than methadone clinic based therapy.
Because prescription drug abuse is so widespread and prevalent throughout the United States every effort was made to keep this drug safe and diversion proof. In order for a physician to be able to prescribe Suboxen (buprenorphine drugs), the physician has to attend special training courses and their qualifications have to be submitted to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or also referred to as SAMHSA.
The physician must also agree to refer their patients to drug dependence counseling. Drug addiction counseling along with suboxone is very successful when treating opiate addiction. When the physician is registered and certified with SAMHSA they are given a unique identification number from the DEA and this number is referenced on every buprenorphine prescription they write. This way law enforcement and the officials that are in charge of drug diversion can track buprenorphine (suboxone) prescriptions and minimize the likely-hood of them getting in the wrong hands and being sold on the streets.
Physicians that prescribe suboxone and subutex buprenorphine therapy have to keep an extensive log for every patient they prescribe them for. The DEA and the FDA periodically review these medical records and if they suspect any type of abuse or diversion of the drugs the manufacturer (Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals) has to investigate the situation. The physician and the manufacturer hold major responsibilities when it comes to keeping buprenorphine suboxone and subutex therapy safe from being abused.
Physicians that prescribe buprenorphine are limited to 30 patients at a time. This also includes physicians in group practices. If there are 3 doctors in a group practice the combined prescriptions can be no more than thirty and doesn’t mean 30 patients a piece. Every effort possible is made to keep this drug safe and from getting into the wrong hands but like everything else, abuse of suboxone and subutex buprenorphine therapy drugs does happen.
It is possible to overdose on buprenorphine but it is still much safer than methadone. Most of the time those that abuse suboxone are the individuals that are addicted to opiates in very small or low doses. Subutex doesn’t contain naloxone like suboxone does so it’s more susceptible for abuse. Many times it is crushed and injected or snorted.
When buprenorphine and methadone are abused at the same time, the drug’s effects are greatly enhanced and are a major concern. Sadly these drugs are manufactured with good intentions behind them for the treatment of drug addiction therapy and no matter how many precautions are set in place someone will find a way to abuse them. This only makes it all the harder for individuals that are serious about their drug addictions and are looking for a safe treatment while working toward recovery.