How It Works and Is It Safe?
As an opioid partial agonist-antagonist, Subutex is a prescription medication that used to treat those who wish to break free from an opioid dependence problem. Containing the active ingredient buprenorphine hydrochloride and administered daily as a dissolvable tablet that is placed under the tongue for absorption into the body, Subutex is utilized in medication assisted treatment programs because of its ability to prevent the uncomfortable and painful withdrawal that is known to occur when an individual no longer abuses opioids like heroin, morphine, or prescription pain medications. This medication also reduces the intense cravings for continued opioid use and allows those receiving Subutex to focus on their recovery without these hindrances.
First approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, Subutex is one of a few medications that has been deemed safe to use as a method for treating opioid dependence. Significant research has found that taking Subutex is infinitely safer than continuing to abuse opioids and that the use of this medication does not cause vital organ damage when taken. Furthermore, when a person is prescribed Subutex, he or she will not experience any cognitive impairments or disruption in day-to-day physical functioning. When taking Subutex as part of a medication assisted treatment program, the individuals receiving this type of treatment will be able to focus their attention on other aspects of the recovery process, in addition to fulfilling other responsibilities in their personal lives.
What is important to know, however, is that, as with other medications, Subutex can cause side effects. While this medication is safe to take while under the supervision of qualified medical professionals, those considering this type of treatment should discuss any side effects and feel free to ask their treatment provider any questions regarding Subutex’s safety in order to alleviate any concern pertaining to this type of medication assisted treatment.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Countless studies have proven the effectiveness of Subutex for the treatment of opioid dependence. Those who have had Subutex incorporated into their treatment plan within a medication assisted treatment program reported having decreased cravings for continued use of heroin, morphine, or prescription pain medications, depending on the individual’s drug of choice. Additionally, several individuals that have gone through a Subutex treatment regimen reported that the withdrawal that is known to occur after ceasing the use of opioids is kept at bay when taking this medication.
Generally speaking, when Subutex is factored into the treatment for an opioid addiction, the outcomes are positive and allow individuals receiving this type of treatment to focus on healing and recovery.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
Substance abuse treatment that includes Subutex often involves three treatment phases and incorporates additional therapeutic interventions in order to further the recovery process. When prescribed Subutex, men and women will likely venture through the following phases:
Induction: This phase of treatment is when a person is first introduced to Subutex and occurs shortly after ceasing the use of opioids. Individuals in this phase are typically in the beginning stages of withdrawal.
Stabilization: During the stabilization phase of treatment, men and women are likely not experiencing withdrawal and are no longer grappling with cravings for continued use of opioids. The dosage of Subutex can be altered at this time depending on the needs of the individual.
Maintenance: When a person is in the maintenance stage of a Subutex treatment regimen, the individual is stable and can discuss tapering off Subutex or switching to another medication assisted treatment.
When these phases are occurring it is highly beneficial that an individual receive counseling services at the same time. Individual and group counseling sessions can assist a person in processing his or her feelings during these treatment phases, learn skills for remaining on the path towards a recovered life, share triumphs and difficulties faced during the recovery process, and receive ample support from professionals and others who have endured similar struggles. Lastly, research has shown that those who have received counseling services at the same time as medication assisted treatment are far less likely to relapse and begin using opioids again.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Friends and family members of a person receiving Subutex in a medication assisted treatment program can be of great service to the person they care about in offering unwavering support for the duration of the recovery process. Additionally, as a friend or loved one, it is a good idea to seek your own support if it is needed, as it is no secret that a loved one’s addiction can impact those closest to the person addicted to a drug or drugs. Finally, if it is possible, it is a good idea to try to play an active role in your loved one’s care, as doing this can give you a greater understanding of addiction and ultimately improve your own relationship with your loved one.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are someone who is considering a medication assisted treatment program that includes the use of Subutex for an opioid addiction, there are many ways in which you can be successful during the process:
- Adhere to the treatment recommendations set by your provider when it comes to taking Subutex.
- Attend any individual or group counseling sessions that are scheduled and be an active participant within these settings.
- Communicate any concerns that you may have while taking Subutex. Should a concern or problem arise, your provider can possibly adjust the medication you are receiving.
- Abstain from the use of opioids while taking Subutex.
- Reach out to your provider should addiction concerns arise during the course of treatment, as the professionals you are working with can recommend additional opportunities for support or treatment if it appears to be needed or necessary.
The Side Effects of Subutex
Taking any prescription medication warrants a thorough conversation with one’s physician in order to eliminate any potential risks. Before consenting to taking Subutex, it is important to inquire about any adverse food interactions that could occur when taking this medication, health conditions that could be negatively impacted by the presence of Subutex in one’s body, and other unfavorable drug interactions that could happen if a person is already taking some other prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Additionally, it is crucial for individuals beginning a Subutex regimen to be aware of the following potential side effects, which could occur more often when a person’s dosage is increased:
Most common side effects:
- Back pain
- Withdrawal symptoms
Fairly common side effects:
- Runny eyes
- Flu-like symptoms
Less common side effects:
- Accidental injury
- Upset stomach
At Indiana Comprehensive Treatment Centers, we are happy to discuss our treatment methods and can answer any questions that you or a loved one may have regarding Subutex. Feel free to contact us today.