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    In 2016, 2.1 million people in the United States suffered from an opioid use disorder (OUD) related to prescription opioids, and 262,000 had an OUD related to heroin. One common treatment option for OUD is medication-assisted treatment (MAT), a treatment combining the use of medications (methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone) with counseling and behavioral therapies.

    Suboxone Treatment for Opioid Addiction

    When an individual stops taking opioids, the once full receptors in the brain become empty. The lack of opioids produces strong craving effects and intense withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, panic attacks, insomnia, and more.

    Suboxone is an oral prescription drug that was granted approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 to treat opioid addiction. Prescribed as either a sublingual tablet or film, it contains two active drugs:

    • Buprenorphine, a partial opioid antagonist, provides relief from craving and withdrawal symptoms by blocking opiate receptors in the brain
    • Naloxone, an opiate antagonist, blocks the effects of the opiate drug itself

    Suboxone acts as a partial agonist (receptor-filling agent). In other words, when an individual takes Suboxone, the opioid receptors in their brain are partially filled, enough to mitigate cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms. At the same time, there is no “high” that comes along with taking the medication. This balance means that the individual can take Suboxone regularly and go about a productive day-to-day life.

    The combined use overcomes some of the shortcomings of the individual drugs. Buprenorphine decreases withdrawal symptoms and opiate cravings without having full opiate effects.

    Naloxone, by contrast, works in the background as a deterrent, only taking effect if Suboxone is injected into the system. When this happens, naloxone can induce withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, headache, sweating, restlessness, vomiting, and trembling.

    To prevent relapse and increase the chances of long-term recovery, doctors can prescribe Suboxone to certain patients. Because Suboxone strips are easy to take, patients can incorporate the medication into their daily lives. Remember that Suboxone is simply one part of medically assisted treatment (MAT). Read on to learn more about how it plays into a treatment program.

    Why Use Opioids to Treat Opioid Abuse?

    There is an inherent risk in giving a patient who is addicted to a substance a related, similar substance to treat the addiction. Opiate dependence is so strong and powerful that the safest option for these patients is to let them down gently, diluting craving to the point where the individuals have the strength and resources to deal with them.

    PsychCentral explains that people who experience opioid addiction cannot simply stop taking opioids. Of those who do (the “cold turkey” approach), less than 25 percent maintain their sobriety for a full year following their last drug intake. As much as patients need therapy, counseling, and support to help them beat their addictions, they also sometimes need medications to make that journey easier (or even possible).

    Common Side Effects of Suboxone:1, 3

    Along with its needed effects, Suboxone may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

    • Headache.
    • Cravings.
    • Nausea.
    • Fever.
    • Insomnia.
    • Sweating.
    • Abdominal pain.
    • Back pain.
    • Constipation.
    • Irritability.
    • Anxiety and/or depression.

    These effects usually occur at the beginning of treatment and may last a few weeks. 7

    Suboxone Dosage Information

    It is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your doctor. Misuse of Suboxone can lead to breathing problems and other life-threatening consequences.

    Suboxone can begin to work within 30 minutes of the first dose and last up to 3 days. The typical course of treatment with Suboxone can last from a month to a year. Studies have shown that the longer someone is on Suboxone treatment, the more effective the medication is. 5

    If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Never take an extra dose to make up for a missed dose.

    Never share your prescription with anyone else. Selling Suboxone is against the law. Misuse of Suboxone, like other narcotic pain medications, can cause addiction, overdose, or death, especially in children or in those whose physician has not evaluated.

    How effective is Suboxone as Part of a MAT Treatment Program?

    Suboxone has been found to be effective in reducing the cravings associated with long-term opiate use while providing deterrence to current use.  Suboxone seems to work better when used for more extended periods of time. One study showed that opiate-dependent youth who used Suboxone for 12 weeks were more likely to remain abstinent compared to counterparts who had only undergone two-week detox treatment.1

    However, Suboxone alone is often not enough to combat opioid use disorder. However, when used as part of a MAT program, the chance of successful outcomes dramatically increases.

    The therapy part of MAT works by allowing patients to address their addiction’s mental health and behavioral issues. Patients can:

    • Improve insights into behaviors that led to addiction and the problems that addiction caused
    • Learn to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthier ones
    • Work to repair relationships
    • Receive encouragement and motivation to stick to the recovery plan
    • Learn to recognize and avoid craving triggers
    • Learn how to manage stress better
    • Learn how to avoid relapse—strategies
    • Find a community that is struggling with similar issues

    What are those outcomes?  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT):

    • Improves patient survival
    • Increases retention in treatment
    • Decreases illicit opiate use and other criminal activity
    • Increases patient ability to gain and maintain employment
    • Improves birth outcomes among women with substance use disorders

    How Can I Get Suboxone?

    Suboxone therapy is more accessible than other medication-assisted treatments, such as methadone treatment.  Suboxone can be prescribed and/or dispensed in a:

    • Physician’s office.
    • Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center
    • Community hospital.
    • Health department.
    • Correctional facility.1

    How to Get Started on Suboxone in Columbus, Ohio?

    It is crucial to educate yourself about addiction and the various treatments and medications available to assist with recovery from drug addiction.  Unfortunately, there are many common myths about Suboxone to treat opiate addiction.

    If you live near or in Columbus, Ohio, and feel the need to escape from fentanyl and opioid addiction, there is hope.  If you are interested in using Suboxone to fight your addiction to opiates, there are plenty of choices to choose from all over Ohio and especially in and around Columbus, Ohio.

    PUSH for Recovery is one of the best Suboxone providers in Columbus, Ohio.  We pride ourselves on providing same-day assessments. Our expert and caring staff are here to answer any questions you have and help you get started with Suboxone to jumpstart your recovery from opioids.  Call PUSH for Recovery today.


    Donate to help the Life Recovery Society provide a safe, sober, supportive, and flexible way for individuals to earn an income while in treatment.  Life Recovery Society also plans to add a men's and women's sober living home in the Hilltop Community.



    [1]. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004) Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction: Treatment Improvement Protocol 40.

    [2]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2002) Subutex and Suboxone Approved to Treat Opiate Dependence.

    [3]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.) Medication Guide: Suboxone.

    [4]. Shah As, Young J, Vieira K. (2014) Long-term Suboxone Treatment and its Benefit on Long-Term Remission for Opiate Dependence. J Psychiatry 17: 1000174. doi:10.4172/Psychiatry.1000174

    [5]. (2016) Treatment with Suboxone Film.

    [6]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (n.d.) Information for Pharmacists: Suboxone and Subutex.

    [7]. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2015) Buprenorphine Sublingual and Buccal.

    [8]. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016) Buprenorphine.

    [9]. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Sublingual and Transmucosal Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder: Review and Update. SAMHSA Advisory 15(1).

    [10]. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiciton.