Updated: Mar 1
WHAT IS SUBOXONE?
Suboxone is a brand name for a combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. It is one of the main medications used for medication-assisted therapy (MAT) for opiate addiction. It may be administered in a few different ways such as parenterally or sublingually.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Suboxone acts by binding closely to the same brain receptors as most opiates such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. This curbs addiction with various other drugs, helps avoid cravings, and aids people in abandoning their substance abuse.
CAN SUBOXONE BE ABUSED?
In 2012, 9 million prescriptions for Suboxone or buprenorphine products were given. Although praised as an instrument for weaning addicts off opioids by addiction experts, some are worried that the drug is overprescribed and misused.
A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed that the amount of buprenorphine-including emergency room visits has risen tenfold, from 3,161 visits in 2005, up to 30,135 emergency room visits in 2010. About half of the 30,000 buprenorphine hospitalizations in 2010 were for non-medical use, such as taking the drug to get high.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO USE SUBOXONE?
When injected, buprenorphine and naloxone reliably induces opiate withdrawal in people with high to moderate levels of opiate dependence.
In two studies (Preston et. al., 1988; Mendelson et. al . , 1997), patients receiving 30 mg or more of methadone a day experienced significant withdrawal after a fixed low-dose combination of buprenorphine (0.2/0.3 mg) and naloxone (0.1/0.2 mg), respectively. The relatively small doses of naloxone that are needed to induce meaningful withdrawal indicate a low risk for misuse in people with moderate to high levels of opiate dependency.
In opiate-dependent daily heroin users, an IV dose of a 1:1 ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone (2 mg) was observed to cause opiate withdrawal.
Suboxone is ideally intended for sublingual administration, meaning, taken as a pill that is placed underneath the tongue, and is available in two dosage strengths:
2 mg buprenorphine with 0.5 mg naloxone
8 mg buprenorphine with 2 mg naloxone
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT THERE IS SUBOXONE IN YOUR SYSTEM?
The following are the possible symptoms of having Suboxone in your body:
Fast or irregular heartbeat;
Slowed breathing; and
Mood changes (e.g. agitation, confusion, hallucinations).
HOW LONG CAN SUBOXONE STAY IN YOUR BODY?
Suboxone can stay in the body for up to eight days. As a drug, it takes about three days just to fully metabolize and reach its full effect. From here, the liver and kidneys keep breaking it down for about 3 to 5 more days.
When tested for Suboxone, it can still be positively detected for up to one month after ingestion because of the various metabolites that may still be lingering in your system.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS THAT AFFECT HOW LONG SUBOXONE REMAINS IN YOUR BODY?
The amount of time Suboxone stays in your body is influenced by the following:
Genetics (i.e. metabolism rate);
History of opioid use;
Consumption of other drugs;
Amount of Suboxone taken; and
CAN YOU OVERDOSE ON SUBOXONE?
Even though initial reports suggested that buprenorphine would have a low abuse potential, its abuse and illicit diversion has been reported worldwide. The majority of the reported abuse occurs in heroin users who intravenously administer extracts of crushed tablets.
The fact is, Suboxone can be exploited just like every other opiate. It does induce less euphoria, however, than other opiates like heroin and oxycodone. People may, in many cases, use or misuse Suboxone to help themselves manage their withdrawal, or even get off heroin.
Overdose on Suboxone alone is incredibly hard in the case of an addiction. Compared to other opiates, it is more difficult to overdose on Suboxone, since Suboxone is only a partial opiate receptor agonist, so an incorporated "ceiling" effect is present. This "ceiling" effect means there is a limit to how much Suboxone can activate the opioid receptors, so the risk of slow breathing compared with potent opiates such as heroin, oxycodone, or morphine is not as great. If people misuse Suboxone, it's almost always because they pair it with sedatives like benzodiazepines, drugs that slow breathing as well.
Remember, intoxication from Suboxone does not occur if you are opioid dependent. Intoxication occurs only if you combine Suboxone with other substances, do not take it as directed, or use it to medicate withdrawal between episodes of opioid abuse.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IN CASE OF AN OVERDOSE?
Although it is very uncommon to overdose on Suboxone, in the situation where an overdose does occur, it is imperative that you call 911 immediately. Any case of an overdose tends to escalate very quickly so an urgent response as well as first-aid stabilization of the vitals of the person overdosing is essential to preventing long-term debilitating effects.
If immediate medical assistance is not available, it would be advisable to rush the person overdosing to the hospital yourself.
HOW IS A SUBOXONE OVERDOSE TREATED?
Once taken to the hospital, a person overdosing on Suboxone will be subject to initial screening treatments such as but not limited to urine drug testing. The patient will also be monitored and film or pill counts will be administered alongside being treated for the symptoms present.
OVERCOME YOUR SUBOXONE ABUSE
If you have been abusing Suboxone, it is never too late. Here at Recovery Blvd, we can help put your Suboxone dependency behind you. We have a range of programs that are aimed at stopping addiction and helping you create a new life not only for yourself but also your loved ones.
Among our high-quality services and interventions include:
Advanced Relapse Prevention;
Substance Abuse Counseling; and
You can embark on a new journey towards a better tomorrow with just enough help and the right care.
Take the first step towards embracing the best you could become by giving us a call at (866) 231-3007. Visit our drug rehab in Portland at 1316 SE 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214, to book an appointment.