Understanding the Options
One of the most important things in any treatment plan, even those using Suboxone, is understanding what the options are before making a decision. Suboxone is considered to be one of the more humane ways to manage drug addiction and the withdrawal symptoms that can come from stopping the use of drugs.
Asking questions and being informed is vital to the success of any treatment plan. Your physician would be happy to provide you with all the information that you need to make the best decision for your situation.
Getting the Help You Need
Getting started with Suboxone begins with a visit to your physician. Be honest with your doctor about your condition and your addiction so that they can better help you develop a plan for success. This may include an inpatient program at a detox facility followed by long term use of Suboxone over weeks or months following your stay or it could be an outpatient process wherein the physician closely monitors your Suboxone use. Regardless of your choice of options it is vital that you follow the physician's directions exactly in order to get to the end result you are looking for.
If you do not have a regular physician that you feel comfortable seeking help from you might want to contact a rehabilitation center directly and inquire about their programs involving Suboxone as an option. They will be happy to meet with you to discuss how they can help you get on your way to recovery. Suboxone may be the best way for you to manage your addiction to opioids while under a physician's care and keeping a close eye on your overall health. Remember to look at the overall treatment plan with your physician so that you have a full understanding of the use of the medication and what your goals are.
What is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a prescription medication that is comprised of two separate active ingredients, buprenorphine (which is a partial opiate antagonist) and naloxone (which is an opiate antagonist), meant to treat the physical effects of withdrawal symptoms due to opiate use. Buprenorphine replaces physical effects caused by narcotics used by addicts, such as morphine, codeine, and heroin while naloxone is added to prevent misuse of the drug by injecting, vs. taking under the tongue, as is the proper method for taking this medication (not by swallowing). It does this by blocking the effects of the buprenorphine if injected (causing the subject to resume or have the normal withdrawal symptoms), whereas there is no effect at all if taken under the tongue. Buprenorphine itself is similar to opioids like the aforementioned codeine, morphine, and heroin, but the high it produces is not nearly as powerful or euphoric as those commonly abused.
How Does Suboxone Work?
One of the drugs in Suboxone is Naloxone. Naloxone is effective by blocking the effects of various opioids like heroin, codeine and morphine. Buprenorphine is similar to codeine, heroin and morphine. By administering the medication under the tongue you will not undermine the work of the buprenorphine and these two combined take the place of the drug that the individual is addicted to. Through time and slow reduction in usage under a physician's care the individual will be slowly weaned off the medication under the careful eye of a physician or medical team.
Important Suboxone Information
When taking Suboxone it is important to follow your physician's treatment plan including any counseling prescribed. You should avoid the use of opioids while using the Suboxone and if brought to the hospital for an emergency of any kind it is vital that you alert the medical staff of your use of Suboxone.
Care should be taken when driving a car or using machinery while using Suboxone. Drowsiness may occur when taking Suboxone as well as dizziness and difficultly thinking. Reflexes can be impaired and it is important to avoid activities requiring a great deal of these skills. When standing or sitting be sure to do so slowly as dizziness could easily occur when taking Suboxone. It is recommended that when taking Suboxone patients not use alcohol, antidepressants, antihistamines, sleep aids or pain relievers without discussing them with your physician first as they may enhance side effects and drowsiness.
There are several medications that can cause adverse affects when taken with Suboxone such as Phenobarbital, Mebaral and other similar barbiturates, Tegretol, rifampin, rifabutin, rifapentine, phenytoin (Dilantin), Ativan, Librium, Serax, Halcion, Doral, Restoril, Dalmane or Prosom. Talk to your doctor regarding the use of these medications with Suboxone and what it means for you.
If you would like additional information about the drug Suboxone you can talk to a pharmacist who can offer you literature on the topic that is intended for other health care individuals. This can give you some more information on how the drug works and how it will affect your body.
Before Taking Suboxone
Before you begin a treatment plan with Suboxone it is important that you should understand. Suboxone should not be taken if it was not prescribed to you directly by a physician. It should also not be taken if you are allergic to naloxone, buprenorphine or anything else contained in the medication.
It is important to fully disclose your medical history with your physician including any head injury you might have sustained, liver issues, kidney issues, lung issues, breathing problems, gallbladder difficulty, if you have Addison's disease or other similar adrenal gland issues, hypothyroidism, urination difficulty, mental disabilities or suffer from hallucinations, have an enlarged prostate, a curved spine or are an alcoholic. These medical conditions could have a bearing on the dosage that you are receiving from the physician.
The affects of Suboxone on pregnancy is undetermined and therefore it is ranked as a pregnancy category C by the FDA. The use of the medication could be harmful to a fetus. Suboxone could also be harmful to nursing babies.
Preparing for Suboxone Use
For individuals who are addicted to opioids Suboxone could be the only way to safely get off from the drug they are addicted to. Understanding the facts about Suboxone is important to making the decision of whether it is right for your situation or not. Talking to a physician about your addiction and reviewing all of your options is important before you get started.
Make sure to be truthful to the physician regarding what you are taking including any prescription medications or supplements. It is important that they have this information to work with before helping you choose a path or prescribing Suboxone to you. You may find that your physician believes you would benefit from a detox program prior to ongoing use of Suboxone.