Studies show that medication-assisted treatments — such as Suboxone — can lower the risk of opioid overdose by 50 percent. Thus, taking Suboxone (in its correct dose) is vital to combat opioid use disorder (OUD).
This article will help you recognize the signs of taking less than appropriate doses of Suboxone and allow you — and your prescribing physician — to adjust it for the best results.
What is Suboxone?
Manufacturers prepare Suboxone tablets of varying strengths. For instance, a sublingual (under the tongue) Suboxone 2/0.5mg tablet contains 2 mg of buprenorphine and 0.5 mg of naloxone. Other formulations include:
- Buprenorphine 4 mg/naloxone 1 mg
- Buprenorphine 8 mg/naloxone 2 mg
- Buprenorphine 12 mg/naloxone 3 mg
What Happens After Taking Suboxone?
How long Suboxone stays in the body varies and depends on your medical history, weight, and metabolism.
- Medical history: Certain conditions can affect how your body processes Suboxone. For example, suppose you have moderate or severe liver disease. In that case, Suboxone can stay in your system for much longer than a healthy individual.
- Weight: Generally, if you have a high body fat percentage, Suboxone will stay in your system longer.
- Metabolism: Enzymes such as CYP3A4 metabolize Suboxone. Your genes control the activation of these enzymes and thus how fast your body can break down Suboxone.
Why Getting the Right Suboxone Dosage is Important
Suboxone works to limit withdrawal symptoms and cravings. But, like any other medication, you must take an appropriate dose. Taking too much can be dangerous, while taking too little may be ineffective.
Studies show, in suitable doses, Suboxone can:
- Decrease opioid use
- Lower risk of opioid overdose
- Decrease risk of opioid-related side effects
- Improve the quality of life
- Decrease the incidence of hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among opioid users by deterring injectable use
Buprenorphine also lowers the risk of relapse by preventing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This can be life-changing. For example, in a study following 110 patients taking buprenorphine, those who remained on the drug were likelier to have a job 18 months later.