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What is Suboxone?

Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is a prescription medication (CIII) used to treat patients with Opioid Use Disorder as part of a complete treatment program that also includes counseling and behavioral therapy. It can reduce or alleviate withdrawal symptoms from heroin or other strong opioids. It can also be used as a maintenance medication for individuals recovering from an addiction to opiates. 

When used as prescribed, naloxone creates no noticeable effect. However, naloxone is added as an abuse-deterrent to discourage people from diverting and misusing the drug. 

How does it work?

Suboxone (Buprenorphine) is a partial opioid agonist, it sits on the receptor in the brain where opioids sit and blocks their effect. It elicits a milder opioid effect than full agonists like heroin and methadone. What this means is if you use opioids while on Suboxone, you will not get high. Because of these characteristics, and the fact that it’s a long-acting medicine, buprenorphine is a first-class medicine for treating opioid dependence and addiction. 

How do I take it?

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

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.

Are there side-effects to Suboxone?

Suboxone is a very safe medication. If it is taken too close to the last opioid use, it can cause a withdrawal syndrome called precipitated withdrawal but this can be controlled by paying attention to the timing of your first dose. 

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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