Suboxone is a prescription drug that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. This medication is used primarily for the treatment of adults that have an opioid addiction. These include opioids such as heroin and opioid painkillers. However, people also use this drug for other things aside opioid addiction. A component of the drug, Buprenorphine is an opioid, but not as potent as the full agonists. Some drug abusers still find a way to get high on the drug. Buprenorphine can also be sold differently under the brand name Subutex, also used to treat opioid addiction, pain, both acute and chronic. This drug isn’t usually used alone. It’s part of a treatment plan for those that are addicted to opioids, and are trying to get off it. It’s important not to take more than what your physician prescribes. Suboxone can cause withdrawal symptoms. This is why you should not stop taking the drug without contacting your doctor. This medication has some side effects, however not every user of the drug will present with them. Some of the side effects of Suboxone include abdominal pain, headache, insomnia, vomiting, constipation and so on. This essay will focus on the two components of Suboxone, and subsequently on the uses of opioids addiction asides from the treatment of opioid addiction. You should visit a Suboxone clinic for proper guidance on how to use this medication.

What is Buprenorphine?

Suboxone has two components, which includes Buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid that is used for the treatment of opioid addiction, pain. This drug can be used through different routes. It can be used as a skin patch, sublingual and also as an implant. Patients using this drug for the treatment of opioid addiction should be placed under close supervision. This is because drug abusers find a way to get high on the medication, and might start abusing the dosage. This is why Buprenorphine is combined with naloxone, under the name suboxone for the treatment of opioid addiction, especially for prolonged treatment. Buprenorphine has some side effects. These side effects can be divided into two parts. These side effects can be divided into two. The mild and severe side effects. Some of the side effects of Buprenorphine include respiratory depression, insomnia, adrenal insufficiency, hypotension, allergic reactions, QT prolongation and addiction. Patients that suffer from seizures, prior to taking the drug by be affected by more seizures when placed on this drug. So it’s important you tell your doctor if you’ve had cases of seizure in the past. Also, it’s not exactly known if this drug is safe for use during pregnancy. This drug can act as an agonist, partial agonist or antagonist, depending on the kind of receptor it’s acting on.

What Are The Medical Uses Of Buprenorphine?

  1. For the treatment of opioid addiction: The primary use of buprenorphine is for the treatment of opioid addiction. However, it has to be combined with naloxone, if the treatment is long term. This is because drug abusers do find a way to get high off the drug. Buprenorphine should only be used when the patient starts showing withdrawal symptoms. This drug can be used as a skin patch, sublingual and also as an implant.
  2. Buprenorphine and other detoxification drugs: Buprenorphine and methadone are both used for detoxifying patients who are addicted or have abused opioid drugs. Even though they’ve similar mechanism of action, and produce similar results, buprenorphine has been noted to have a less serious respiratory side effect, in cases of abuse, as compared to Methadone.
  3. Rehabilitation of drug abusers or cases of overdose: Programs used for the rehabilitation of drug users comprises of two phases. These are the detoxification and treatment phases. The detoxification part is where patients are taken off the drug they’re addicted to, to other drugs such as buprenorphine. This procedure can also be supported with other medications such as diazepam, to take care of anxiety, sleep problems. Benzodiazepines also relax the muscle. In addition, clonidine can also be useful in reducing the opioid withdrawal symptoms. Also, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also used to reduce the withdrawal symptoms.  On the other hand, the treatment phase is started when the patient has been stabilized and has been given a go ahead. This phase consists of a lot of therapy sessions. Counselors, psychologist, and another social worker would take the patient through this process.

                      What Are The Side Effects Of Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine has some side effects that have been linked to it. However, the severe side effects occur when the drug is abused. Some of the common side effects of Buprenorphine include nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of memory, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, dry mouth, constriction of the eye pupils, reduced libido, especially in men, urinary problems, perspiration and so on. Other adverse effects of this drug include central nervous system disorders and constipation. However, these are not as common as the symptoms mentioned earlier.

  1. Respiratory effects: Respiratory depression is one of the most severe side effects of buprenorphine. It happens in patients that use a combination of benzodiazepines, alcohol and with an underlying pulmonary disease. Naloxone wouldn’t be entirely effective when used for the treatment of this condition. Patients might have to be placed on the additional support, so they can breathe well. Buprenorphine tends to have fewer cases of respiratory depression, especially in when used for the treatment of chronic pain management, however, it does have the same effects like other opioids when used in an acute pain management setting.
  2. Dependence: This drug has a huge risk of dependence. Patients might become physically and mentally dependent on this drug, as it has a long half-life. The half-life of buprenorphine has been put at a day to about 3 days. This is why close supervision is a need for patients that are on this drug. Patients could be switched to a drug combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, or gradually taken off the drug, under the guidance of a physician.

What Is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a drug that is used to counter the effects of opioids in the body, especially in cases of overdose. This drug is usually combined with an opioid in the same pill to reduce the risk of misuse. This drug can be used through different routes, they include intravenously, intramuscularly, and also intranasal. The fastest route of administration is through the intravenous route, which takes about 2 minutes before it starts working, followed by the intramuscular route, which takes about 5 minutes before it’d get into action. This drug has some symptoms when used, some of them include tachycardia, opioid withdrawal, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, agitation, and profuse sweating. The drug can be given in small doses until the desired effect is achieved.

Medical Uses Of Naloxone

  1. Opioid overdose: Naloxone is useful for the treatment of opioid overdose. It can be used for acute and chronic cases. It’s also part of the response kits for heroin users and other opioid drug users.
  2. Preventing the abuse of opioid drugs: Naloxone is usually administered with other oral opioid drugs, such as buprenorphine when taken through the oral route. This is because naloxone is usually not well absorbed when taken through the oral route. Another reason why it’s used in combination with other drugs is to prevent abuse.
  3. Shock: Patients who are in shock, be it septic, hemorrhagic or cardiogenic and was given naloxone had a better blood circulation as compared with those who didn’t take naloxone.
  4. Clonidine overdose: Naloxone is also important for the treatment of clonidine overdose. Clonidine is an antihypertensive.
  5. Itchiness: Naloxone is also important for the treatment of opioid use complications such as itchiness.

                              Adverse Effects Of Naloxone

This drug has little to no side effects. However, this drug might trigger some reactions especially in people that have opioid drugs in their system. Some of the symptoms that patient might present with include sweating, anxiety, vomiting, nausea, headache, arrhythmia, pulmonary edema and seizures. Naloxone has no other side effects, aside from the ones listed above.

What Are Uses Of Suboxone Outside Treat Of Opioid Addiction?

Suboxone acts as a depressant when used, it makes one slower in action. Below are some of the acute effects of suboxone.

  1. Suboxone is used for the treatment of anxiety. It helps to calm the patient down, and also help the patient relax.
  2. It can be used as a pain reliever. In fact, the pain-relieving potential of Suboxone has been set to be about 25 to 30 times more powerful and effective than morphine.
  3. It creates a sense of euphoria that can persist for about eight hours, with the effect of the drug lasting for 2 to 3 days.

What Are The Side Effects Of Using Suboxone In The Short Term?

  1. It causes sleepiness: The patient would sleep more than normal, reducing the general productivity of the patient.
  2. It can cause confusion
  3. It can also cause nausea and confusion.
  4. It causes respiratory depression
  5. Withdrawal symptoms: Stopping the use of suboxone abruptly can lead to the development of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are unpleasant Below are some of the symptoms that patients might present with;
  • Diarrhea and constipation: Patients might present with diarrhea when he/she stops taking the medication abruptly. This is why it’s important to stop the gradually, and with the guidance of a physician. On the other hand, the drug can also lead to constipation. However, this occurs when the patient is still using the drug.
  • Pain in the bones and joints: This occurs mostly during withdrawal. The patient might feel pain in the joints, and also in the bones.
  • Lack of sleep: Patients might start having sleeping problems during withdrawal periods. This condition is also referred to as insomnia.
  • Construction of the pupils: This occurs during the use of the medication. Patients might experience a pinpoint pupil
  • Dilated pupils: This occurs during withdrawal. Patients would present with dilated pupils.

What Are The Long-Term Adverse Effects Of Using Suboxone?

Suboxone can cause some serious long-term side effects. Below are some of them;

  1. Gastrointestinal problems: Suboxone can cause side effects in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of these include vomiting, constipation, and nausea.
  2. Neurological problems: Suboxone can also cause some neurological conditions such as disorientation, confusion, anxiety and so on.
  3. Pain tolerance: One of the long-term effects of Suboxone is that it causes reduced pain tolerance.
  4. Other side effects of this drug include;
  • It increases the risk of being depressed.
  • Patients on this drug tend to isolate themselves from people.
  • Patients might also find it difficult socializing.
  • Patients might become dependent on this drug, and this might lead to problems such as failing relationships, reduced productivity at work and so on.

Is It Possible To Be Addicted To Suboxone?

Suboxone is the ideal medication for the long-term management of opioid abuse. However, patients still find a way of abusing the drug. This is because of how good the drug makes them feel. It gives the patient a euphoric feeling. According to statistics, Suboxone is one of the most sought-after drugs of abuse in America. The set of people that have been known to abuse this medication include;

  1. People that are already abusing narcotics, regardless of if they’re addicted to it or not.
  2. People who are on Suboxone medication, but have become dependent on it.
  3. People that are not aware of the risks of abusing the drug.
  4. People that are addicted to the use of heroin, and are seeking for ways to avoid withdrawal.

The way Suboxone dependence works is that patient start to feel uncomfortable when they don’t use the drug for more than 2 days. The symptoms are often similar to that of flu. People dependent on Suboxone needs the help of a physician to get off it. Physicians do this by taking patients through 2 phases. This includes the detoxification phase and the treatment phase. These 2 phases include the use of medications, and assistance of psychiatrists and psychologist and so on.

References

Cell Surgical Network (certified in mini-liposuction harvesting and deployment)

DC, Maryland, Virginia Pain Society (active member in good standing) Suboxone Clinic in DC

Dethmers, M. (2010). Ambulante opiatendetox met Suboxone®. Verslaving, 6(2), pp.50-54.

HUNTER, W. (2007). Suboxone for Opiate Withdrawal in the Hospital. Clinical Psychiatry News, 35(1), p.54.

Platt, A. (2014). Suboxone: A Harm Reduction Approach. Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, 02(05).

Sander, G. (2007). Suboxone® im Alltag – Erste Erfahrungen. Suchttherapie, 8(4), pp.162-163.