Suboxone® is an FDA approved medication used in the treatment of opiate addiction. Suboxone® typically comes in the form of a film taken sublingually and includes two ingredients, buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is the primary active ingredient in SUBOXONE Film. By strongly attaching to the same receptors as other opioids it helps to suppress withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, while not creating the same opioid high as full agonists like Heroin and Methadone.
Naloxone, the secondary ingredient, deters the abuse of Buprenorphine or other Opioids as it is an opiate antagonist that blocks the action of opioid medications. This is a powerful deterrent as attempts to misuse Suboxone or take other opiates along with it can cause spontaneous (precipitated) withdrawal.
Suboxone like Methadone is very effective at suppressing withdrawal symptoms and has a very long half life (lasting up to 60 hours.) Patients quickly become stable and because Buprenorphine is only a partial agonist, feel only very limited “opiate effects or high.” The ability to think and function normally without feeling withdrawal and cravings brings balance and stability to an addict’s life allowing them to start their path to recovery.
The Addition of Naloxone is a strong deterrent for abuse or relapse. When taken as directed, buprenorphine is included at a 4:1 ratio to Naloxone. This creates a ceiling (and therefore stabilizing) effect, Abuse of the medication or other opiates will only disrupt this and the Naloxone will block many of the receptors and causing very unpleasant or even severe withdrawal.
Unlike Methadone where daily dosing is initially required, Suboxone is much safer and Monthly prescriptions are usually available right away**. Addicts often suffer for years fearing treatment will carry a stigma and massively disrupt their lives. While regular evaluations and behavioral counseling are required, Suboxone Treatment provides an addict stability and private treatment allowing them to work on their recovery without feeling like they are sacrificing the things that are "good in their lives, like family, work or school.
Most insurance companies will cover the cost of the Suboxone Medication itself (or a generic or similar compound.) We are currently working with providers and should be able to accept insurance for visits very soon. Blue Cross, Wellmark, United Healthcare and Iowa Medicaid should be accepted within a few weeks, eventually AmeriHealth, AmeriGroup and United Healthare Medicaid plans will ideally be accepted as well.
Opiate Abuse is very dangerous and overdose ends the life of thousands of Americans every year. The Intense Euphoric high one gets from the abuse of full agonist opiates like Heroin or Oxycontin comes with it life threatening Respiratory Depression and addicts rarely know how close they often come to not waking up.
In contrast, Suboxone contains only a partial opiate agonist combined with a smaller amount of naloxone which is the most common medication to reverse opiate overdose. Sufficently potent to fill the brain’s opiate receptors and bring comfort to the addict, but also creating a "ceiling effect." where taking more will not result in additional “opiate effects” including respiratory depression.
For most patients the goal is to eliminate Opioid Dependence. With Suboxone Treatment it is quite possible to gradually taper off comfortably. Alternate day dosing is also effective during the taper process as Suboxone is extremely long acting. Additionally Suboxone is also a good option for patients looking to transition off of Methadone as part of their recovery process.