How It Works and Is It Safe?
Categorized as a partial agonist-antagonist, Subutex is a prescription medication given to aid individuals in treatment for opioid addiction. Comprised of buprenorphine hydrochloride as its main ingredient, Subutex is given daily via a dissolvable tablet that is absorbed into the body. Subutex aids patients in overcoming addictions to morphine, prescription pain medications, and heroin by reducing cravings for additional opioids, as well as alleviating the painful symptoms often associated with withdrawal. When patients no longer have to grapple with the physical symptoms of withdrawal, they are able to focus on the emotional aspect of recovery.
Subutex was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 and is one of the few medications noted as being a safe and effective option for treating opioid addiction. Extensive research has indicated the taking Subutex is safer than continuing the use of opioids, as Subutex does not cause vital organ damage when taken. In addition, patients will not experience any impairments to their cognitive functioning while taking Subutex and allows patients to continue their daily functioning without disruption to their personal lives, such as work, relationships, and school.
It is important to note that, as is the case with other medications, side effects can take place while on Subutex. Although Subutex is safe to take under the supervision of a qualified medical professional within a medication assisted treatment program, patients should openly discuss any side effects with their treatment provider in order to alleviate any concern regarding its use while engaged in treatment.
The Effectiveness of Subutex Treatment
Numerous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Subutex for the treatment of opioid addiction. Individuals who have utilized Subutex within their treatment plan within a medication assisted treatment program have reported a decrease in the cravings for additional opioids, such as heroin, morphine, or prescription pain medications. In addition, patients have also noted that the withdrawal symptoms typically experienced when opioid use ceases are kept under control when Subutex is utilized. By lowering the physical effects of withdrawal, patients are able to focus on the psychological aspects of recovery.
The Benefits of Subutex Treatment Plus Counseling
Typically, treatment that utilizes Subutex often incorporates additional therapeutic interventions in order to achieve long-term recovery and sobriety. When prescribed Subutex, patients will often experience the following treatment phases:
Induction: This first phase of treatment takes place when patients are first given Subutex and takes place shortly after the use of opioids has ceased. Patients in this phase are normally in the beginning stages the withdrawal process.
Stabilization: Patients are no longer experiencing withdrawal symptoms or craving additional opioids during the stabilization phase of treatment. The dosage of Subutex can be changed during this time depending on the specific treatment requirements of each patient.
Maintenance: When patients enter the maintenance stage of treatment, they are stable enough to begin discussing weaning off of Subutex or changing to another medication while in treatment.
During these phases, it is extremely beneficial for patients to receive counseling services simultaneously. Both individual and group therapies can provide patients with the opportunity to process their emotions during treatment, learn techniques in order to maintain sobriety, as well as share successes and setbacks with others who understand the struggles associated with addiction. Research has shown that patients who receive counseling at the same time as receiving medication assisted treatment are much less likely to relapse.
How to Support Your Loved One During Medication Assisted Treatment: Those who have a loved one in a medication assisted treatment program for opioid addiction can be of great support to their loved one throughout the course of treatment. As someone who has a loved one in treatment, it is important for you to obtain support for yourself in order to understand the best way to provide support to your loved one. Since substance abuse affects all those who are involved, it is a good idea to actively play a role in your loved one’s treatment in order to gain a better understanding about addiction and improve the relationship that you have with your loved one.
How You Can Be Successful in a Medication Assisted Treatment Program: If you are contemplating taking Subutex within a medication assisted treatment at a Western Virginia Comprehensive Treatment Center, the following are ways in which you can maximize your experience during the treatment process:
- Follow all treatment suggestions put in place by your treatment provider in terms of taking Subutex.
- Attend and play an active role in all group and individual counseling sessions.
- Voice any concerns that may arise while taking Subutex. Should an issue arise, it is important to notify your treatment provider immediately so that adjustments can be made to your treatment plan.
- Do not use any opioids while taking Subutex.
The Side Effects of Subutex
Prior to incorporating Subutex into your treatment regimen, it is important to openly discuss any adverse reactions that could take place due to the medication. By openly communicating any and all medications currently being taken with your physician, you will be able to avoid any serious adverse health reactions from taking place. It is important for individuals considering Subutex to be aware of the following potential side effects that could take place:
Most common side effects:
- Withdrawal symptoms
Fairly common side effects:
- Runny eyes
- Flu-like symptoms
Less common side effects:
- Accidental injury
- Upset stomach
Please contact Western Virginia Comprehensive Treatment Centers today to further discuss our treatment options available, as well as to answer any questions you may have regarding the use of Subutex within our medication assisted treatment program.