Our understanding, definition, and access to healthcare have undergone significant changes in recent years. Virtual care has made diagnosis and treatment more accessible, including the treatment of opioid addiction, known medically as opioid use disorder (OUD). COVID-19 has propelled advancements in virtual health, including the ability to access health care (primary and urgent) from a remote location via a handheld device. Thanks to these advancements in telemedicine, seeing your doctor is no longer the dreaded process of missing work and booking childcare to sit for hours in waiting rooms to be deprived of privacy and surrounded by illness. With telemedicine, access to health care is not only more accessible, it’s completely private and confidential.
See Suboxone Telemedicine; How It Works for more on the recent developments in telehealth.
Like physicians and other health care practitioners, Suboxone doctors can also be accessed online. Some physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners can prescribe Suboxone. They are qualified to do so with a DEA regulated Data 2000 waiver, or X waiver.
See What are Suboxone Doctors? for more on training requirements and Suboxone prescription regulations.
Suboxone is a buprenorphine/naloxone combination drug. The medication is used to treat opioid addiction using a clinically controlled approach. This approach is commonly referred to as the medication assisted treatment (MAT) of addiction. Suboxone reduces cravings and impedes withdrawal. The process of withdrawal and risk of mixing full agonists with partial agonists is discussed in detail HERE (link to Suboxone Film article). Note: Suboxone can produce euphoria if it is misused. It does not cause as much altered mental status or as much respiratory depression as a full opioid agonist on account of its ‘ceiling effect.’ Suboxone’s ‘ceiling effect’ is explained HERE (link to How to Use Suboxone for Pain article).
The more opioids you consume, the more desensitized your tolerance to pain becomes. Suboxone allows the brain’s opioid receptors to recover and regain sensitivity, while the presence of naloxone in the drug helps reduce the risk of diversion and misuse. The antagonist properties of naloxone block hyper-stimulation of the mu receptor.
Suboxone allows the brain to form new neural pathways. When you abuse and consume opioids regularly, the chemical structure of your brain is altered. Opioids change the way your brain functions. When under the influence of opioids, your prefrontal cortex becomes flooded with dopamine. This creates discontentment and aversion to everyday things that might once have conjured joy, i.e., no longer interested in eating your favorite food or maintaining hygiene, for example.
Suboxone fills your opiate receptors and imitates the effect of full opioid agonists to stabilize addiction. It allows space to develop coping capacities and learn new skills. Learning new skills at their core changes the brain. Suboxone creates the opportunity to revert the changes brought about by opioid misuse in the first place. It also curbs cravings. Instead of being preoccupied with finding your next hit, you simply take your medication and participate in normal daily activities; get and hold down a job, build personal relationships, adopt healthier living habits, and more.