How It Works and Is It Safe?
Subutex is a partial agonist-antagonist that is prescribed to individuals addicted to opioids. With buprenorphine hydrochloride as its active component, Subutex is given daily via dissolvable tablet that is absorbed into the body. Subutex is used within medication assisted treatment programs to prevent the painful symptoms that take place during withdrawal. Symptoms often take place when opioids, such as prescription pain medications, heroin, and morphine, are no longer in a person’s system. Subutex also lowers any cravings that may take place, which allows patients to focus on their recovery without any painful physical side effects.
Subutex was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 as a treatment option for opioid dependence. Research has proven that no vital organ damage occurs when Subutex is taken. Additionally, when a patient is prescribed Subutex, he or she will not experience any disruptions in his or her daily life from both a physical and cognitive perspective. This too allows patients to focus on their recovery and other obligations.
As is the case with all medications, side effects can occur while using Subutex. Although taking Subutex is safe under the guidance of a trained medical professional, individuals considering moving forward with this type of treatment should openly discuss any potential side effects with their physician.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Studies have shown that Subutex is an extremely safe and effective route to take for individuals struggling with an addiction to opioids. Individuals who have Subutex incorporated into their medication assisted treatment plans have reported a decrease in cravings for heroin, prescription pain medications, and morphine. Several patients who have used Subutex reported that they did not experience the withdrawal symptoms commonly associated with ending opioid use.
Patients experience extremely positive outcomes when Subutex is used within a medication assisted treatment plan. This usage allows patients to focus on their recovery without having to deal with the painful symptoms associated with withdrawal.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
Treatment that utilizes Subutex often involves three phases of treatment. When Subutex is prescribed, patients will most likely experience the following phases:
Induction: This phase takes place shortly after the use of opioids has ceased. This is when Subutex is first introduced into the system and patients are typically in the beginning phases of withdrawal.
Stabilization: During this phase of treatment, patients are no longer dealing with cravings and symptoms of withdrawal. During stabilization, the dosage of Subutex can be altered pending the needs of the individual patient.
Maintenance: The maintenance stage of Subutex treatment is when the individual can talk about tapering off of Subutex or changing over to another medication assisted treatment option if a change is desired.
During these phases, it is extremely beneficial for a patient to receive counseling services. Group and individual therapy sessions can aid an individual in processing his or her feelings during treatment, understanding what is required to stay on the path towards recovery, openly communicate victories and setbacks, and receive support and encouragement from others who understand the struggles of addiction. Research has proven that individuals who have received therapeutic interventions during their time in a medication assisted treatment program are less likely to relapse and begin abusing opioids again.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: The loved ones of an individual receiving medication assisted treatment can provide unwavering support to their loved one during treatment. If you are the loved one of an individual receiving treatment, it is also important for you to obtain support for yourself as well. Addiction can affect an entire family, not just the individual who is physically using the substance. By playing an active role in the care of someone you love who is addicted to opioids, you are able to gain a personal understanding of addiction, as well as how to strengthen your relationship with your loved one.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you or someone you love is thinking about a medication assisted treatment program that utilizes Subutex, there are several things that you can do to greatly gain from the process:
- Follow the treatment recommendation put in place by your provider regarding taking Subutex.
- Attend and actively take part in both scheduled group and individual therapy sessions.
- Openly discuss any concerns that may arise while using Subutex. If an issue arises during treatment, your healthcare provider can possibly adjust the dosage and type of medication you are taking.
- Do not use opioids while using Subutex.
- Communicate with your treatment provider if any additional issues arise during the course of treatment. The professional team at Western Washington Comprehensive Treatment Center can help you receive additional support or treatment if it is needed.
The Side Effects of Subutex
Prior to taking Subutex, it is important to openly discuss the medication and its potential side effects with your physician. By openly communicating any allergies or health conditions that could cause adverse responses, as well as any additional drug interactions that may take place, you are able to gain a better understanding of how to safely take Subutex. The following are potential side effects that could take place while on Subutex or when a patient’s dosage is increased:
Most common side effects:
- Back pain
Fairly common side effects:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Runny eyes
Less common side effects:
- Upset stomach
- Accidental injury
Our dedicated and compassionate team is here to discuss the treatment options available, as well as to answer any questions that you may have regarding the use of Subutex. We look forward to speaking with you.