Suboxone is a medication that helps treat opioid addiction and minimize cravings. The drug works by partially binding to the opioid receptor sites in the brain.
Suboxone contains two drugs, buprenorphine which is a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone which is an opioid antagonist. Buprenorphine stimulates some opioid effects, and in doing so helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone, on the other hand, works to prevent misuse of the drug.
Suboxone comes as an oral film that is sublingual or placed under the tongue, or a buccal film that is placed in between your cheek and gums. The film dissolves in your mouth and should not be chewed or swallowed.
How does Suboxone treatment work?
Suboxone is a drug that can be used to help people with addiction get through withdrawal symptoms. It combines two different medications- buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine, the active drug in Suboxone, is a partial opioid agonist. It can help treat opioid dependence by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid dependence. It does this by occupying the mu-opioid receptors. Buprenorphine has a ceiling effect, which means once the dose is increased beyond a certain point, there is no change in effect. Because of this ceiling effect, buprenorphine will not result in a “high” for those that have been in active addiction.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. The naloxone in Suboxone is used to discourage the inappropriate use of the medication. If Suboxone is used in a fashion other than as intended, the naloxone will cause immediate withdrawal.
Treatment of opioid dependence occurs in two phases. The first phase is called induction, and it lasts for about one week. Doctors stabilize patients on the appropriate dose of suboxone, and may use other medications to help reduce withdrawal symptoms.
The second phase is called maintenance treatment, and it's designed to get patients through an extended period without relapse into drug use. This stage requires daily doses of medication taken by mouth to avoid interruptions in treatment while continuing addiction recovery efforts at home with counseling, support groups, educational programs, etc.