What is Suboxone Addiction Treatment?
Suboxone has been called a “blockbuster” medication with the potential to reduce symptoms of opiate addiction and withdrawal. This medication does, however, have a dark side, and Suboxone addiction is a real problem. Medical detox is the first step in a Suboxone addiction treatment program, and it should be used in conjunction with therapy and followed by aftercare support.
Suboxone has made a number of headlines for being a game-changing drug that can turn the clock back on a heroin addiction.
With sales of $1.55 billion in 2013, Suboxone sold more units than Viagra and Adderall, leading The New York Times to call it a “blockbuster”medication that was (and still is) touted as a safer alternative to methadone in the face of an overwhelming opioid abuse epidemic.
But Suboxone has a dark side, and its very effectiveness can be a double-edged sword for heroin addicts who are looking to repair their lives. Suboxone addiction is a real problem, with the Fix saying that the medication has caused its own epidemic that requires its own course of treatment (pharmacological and psychological) to remedy.
Suboxone is actually the combination of two different drugs: buprenorphine (a partial opioid agonist) and naloxone (a pure opioid antagonist).
As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine’s job is to deliver very diminished opioid doses to a patient who is addicted to a stronger opioid. It provides a way for the client to be gradually weaned off their pre-existing addiction, while minimizing the opioid withdrawal symptoms that would come from the process.
An agonist, explains the National Advocates of Buprenorphine Treatment, activates receptors in the brain. Heroin is a full opioid agonist, so when a patient uses heroin, those receptors are completely triggered, resulting in the wide range of effects and the severe addictiveness of heroin. The journal Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy describes how buprenorphine, as a partial agonist, has “low intrinsic activity.”Since it triggers the opioid receptors in the brain only partially, the “highs”are quite low in comparison to those created by full agonists. Such effects make buprenorphine a good first step in the treatment of heroin and opioid abuse.
The other drug in Suboxone is naloxone, a pure opioid antagonist.