What is Suboxone?
Suboxone, or Suboxone Film, is a brand-name prescription drug used to treat and manage opioid addiction. It contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that is administered through an oral film. Patients can choose to place the film under their tongue (sublingual) or between their cheek and gums (buccal). The Suboxone film can be prescribed in four strengths:
- 2 mg buprenorphine / 0.5 mg naloxone
- 4 mg buprenorphine / 1 mg naloxone
- 8 mg buprenorphine / 2 mg naloxone
- 12 mg buprenorphine / 3 mg naloxone
The recommended dosage will vary based on patient needs and doctor recommendations.
Suboxone treatment can cause a number of side effects from mild to severe. While many are not life-threatening, it is essential to contact your doctor or pharmacist for more information should they persist. The most common side effects include:
- Muscle pain
- Burning tongue
One should also avoid drinking alcohol or using benzodiazepines while undergoing Suboxone treatment. If mixed, Suboxone may provoke an allergic reaction resulting in swelling of the throat and difficulty breathing. High doses of Suboxone may also cause liver damage, induce a coma, or lead to a Suboxone overdose.
Signs of Suboxone Abuse and Addiction
Though not impossible, the risk of becoming addicted to Suboxone is less likely than other opioids. One of Suboxone’s main ingredients, buprenorphine, is an opioid itself. If your loved one has been abusing Suboxone, you may notice the signs. If you may be the one struggling with Suboxone abuse, be honest with yourself. Some signs might include the following:
- Multiple “prescriptions”: A doctor will not prescribe enough Suboxone at once to fuel an addiction. If you or a loved one is seeking out numerous doctors or ordering Suboxone in the mail, this may be a sign.
- Paraphernalia: Injection is a common Suboxone abuse method. Paraphernalia might include needles, belts, or ropes for constriction, and leftover powdery residue.
- Physical signs: These could be dilated pupils, drowsiness, appetite loss, slurred speech, sweating, or unexplained weight loss.
- Financial trouble: Missed bills, rent, or other financial concerns.
Addressing the signs, taking action, and committing to the next steps are essential in recovery.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
While it is an effective aid in recovery from opiates, Suboxone can become addictive. As a result, the likelihood of experiencing withdrawal symptoms from Suboxone is high. Like other drugs, withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Body aches
- Digestive distress
- Drug cravings
- Difficulty concentrating
Suboxone withdrawal symptoms can last up to a month and may be more intense if you quit “cold turkey.” If you are interested in stopping Suboxone treatment, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Long-Term Side Effects of Suboxone Abuse
Suboxone treatment typically lasts up to 24 weeks. Though individuals who abuse Suboxone long-term may experience harsher effects. With buprenorphine being a main ingredient, there is a risk of becoming physiologically dependent on Suboxone and needing to seek secondary treatment from its use. If you are interested in using Suboxone for recovery, it is vital to be aware of the long-term effects and remain vigilant in your response to this drug.
Suboxone Addiction Treatment
While Suboxone is intended to treat addiction, it must be used responsibly. Taking Suboxone too often or in large doses may lead you from one addiction to the next. It is heartbreaking when you or a loved one is seeking refuge from addiction, only to be caught in another. Suboxone addiction treatment is like any other treatment — it requires commitment, support, and willingness to do the work. Suboxone is not a magical solution, it is simply one tool in the toolbox toward a drug-free life.