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What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a prescription medication used to treat people addicted to opioid drugs in a treatment program that includes counseling and general healthcare. It suppresses drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms for 24 hours, and does not give you a high. Its generic name is buprenorphine.

How does it work?

Suboxone is a combination of two drugs, buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid. (The technical term is partial opioid agonist.) Naloxone is an opioid blocker. Suboxone acts by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain, making the receptors think that they have an opioid. If you take an opioid while you’re on Suboxone, it will not work to make you high.

How will I feel on Suboxone?

Most people will feel normal. If you were addicted to pain killers, Suboxone may give you a little pain relief.

How do I take it?

Suboxone comes in a thin strip that you dissolve under your tongue once a day. Your doctor will prescribe the right dose for you.

How often will I see a doctor?

After your initial health screening, you will come to the clinic twice a week, and later once a week. Each time you will have a urine test at our onsite lab.

How long will I have to take Suboxone?

The usual course of treatment is about one year. You will be tapered off Suboxone, so that you feel normal. Then we will start a course of Vivitrol for about a year. The goal is to be medication-free and addiction-free in two years.

Is Suboxone addictive?

Suboxone is not the same as taking an addictive opioid. Your body will become physically used to Suboxone, which is why you will be tapered off the prescription. But you will not become addicted to it.

How successful is the treatment?

Studies of Suboxone treatment report a 40 to 60 percent success rate in getting addicts off drugs. How is Suboxone different from Methadone? Methadone is an opioid and has to be given every day at a federally regulated clinic. A major difference is that because Methadone is an opioid, people can get high or overdose on it. If you take more than your prescribed dose of Suboxone, you will not get high or overdose, because it blocks the opioid receptors in your brain. However, taking more than your prescribed dose can lead to breathing problems.

Are there side-effects to Suboxone?

A few people experience initial side-effects, such as headache, sweating, nausea, or sleepiness. You should tell your doctor if you have any side-effects.

Are there interactions with other drugs or alcohol?

Yes, and your doctor will review all your medications to make sure that Suboxone is right for you.

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