Suboxone Treatment: What to Expect
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to treat opioid and alcohol addiction. Research shows this “whole-patient” approach helps to successfully treat addiction, prevent opioid overdose, sustain recovery.
Suboxone, which contains the ingredients buprenorphine and naltrexone, is approved by the Food and Drug administration (FDA) to treat opioid addiction.
This article will discuss:
Symptoms of opioid dependence include:
- Unable to quit using opioids despite problems with health and relationships
- Taking more opioids to achieve the same effect
- Withdrawal symptoms (sweating, shaking, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, anxiety, irritability, runny nose) in the absence of opioids
- Spending a majority of each day using and/or seeking opioids
- Inability to decrease the amount of opioids used
- Loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy
Is Suboxone Right For You?
The best way to determine if Suboxone is the right for you is by speaking with a qualified medical professional. He or she will conduct a review of your history and a physical examination to evaluate your needs, then work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that sets you up for success in recovery.
Suboxone may be an appropriate treatment option for those who:
- Are interested in treatment for opioid addiction
- Have no contraindications to treatment with Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone)
- Can be reasonably compliant with medication-assisted treatment
- Understand the benefits and risks of Suboxone treatment
- Are willing to follow safety precautions for buprenorphine treatment
- Agree to buprenorphine treatment after a review of treatment options
How Does Suboxone Treatment Work?
At SaVida Health, every patient’s treatment plan is unique and highly individualized. Generally speaking, however, Suboxone treatment happens in three phases:
The Induction Phase
This medically monitored introductory stage is performed in-office by a qualified SaVida Health physician. Before you take Suboxone for the first time, your system must be free of opiates and you should be in a state of moderate withdrawal. If you take Suboxone before moderate opiate withdrawal occurs, you run the risk of experiencing precipitated withdrawal (sudden extreme withdrawal).
Once in a state of withdrawal, you will take your first dose of Suboxone under observation. If you have no adverse reactions and respond well to the treatment, your dosage will be adjusted until you have no further opioid withdrawal symptoms or cravings.
The goal of the induction phase is to find a Suboxone dosage that provides you the best relief from withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.
The Stabilization Phase
Once you are feeling stable, meaning you’ve stopped abusing the problem opioid, Suboxone has eliminated lingering opioid withdrawal symptoms or cravings, and you’re experiencing few, if any, side effects, you have entered the stabilization phase.
Your Suboxone dosage or frequency of dosing may need to be adjusted during this phase. Since every patient’s needs are different, it’s important to work closely with your SaVida Health clinicians in making medication adjustment decisions.
The Maintenance Phase
Once you are doing well on a steady dose of Suboxone, you have entered the maintenance phase. The length of the maintenance phase is tailored to each patient.
Extensive research has proven that Suboxone is safe to use both long- and short-term. Some people take Suboxone for long periods of time, while others take it for a much shorter timeframe. A great benefit of taking Suboxone is that it stops drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, allowing you to maintain mental clarity and continue working, attending school, participating in therapy, and so on. Additionally, Suboxone’s effectiveness does not decrease over time, which means you can continue taking it as long as it’s needed.
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