Beating Opioid Addiction with Suboxone
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to opioid addiction is the withdrawal period. Persistent opioid cravings can consume a person’s life without proper medical care and treatment. This is where Suboxone can help. When prescribed under the care of opioid addiction physician experts from Long Island Compassionate Medical Center, Suboxone offers patients a higher probability of success to beat their addictions.
Our board-certified physician Dr. Jahanzeb Chaudhry founder of Long Island Compassionate Medical Center Suboxone Clinic in Suffolk County New York consults with patients, prescribes, and oversees their Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) with Suboxone to help them overcome addiction. Chaudhry has committed a major part of his medical practice to helping his patients toward a road of recovery.
Opioid’s Impact on the Brain
To get a feeling for how this treatment will help it is necessary to understand the effects that opioids have on the brain. The opioids can attach to the receptors in the nerve cells located in the brain. This creates a feeling of euphoria or “high” due to the disruption of the pain signals sent to the brain.
Opioids release endorphins which are the “feel good” neurotransmitters AKA “reward center” of the brain and give the user a feeling of pleasure. The lower the perception of pain and increased feelings of pleasure and well-being so the brain becomes dependent on those feelings that ultimately lead the user to want more of the drug to remain in a calm state. This results in addiction and dependence.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
When there are changes in the brain, withdrawal can be painful. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Sweats (both hot and cold)
- Watery eyes
- Aching muscles
- Irritated stomach (vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea)
- Changes in mood
- Muscle pain
These symptoms can last between one week to a month which is why many people turn back to the drug.
Breaking the Addiction
Suboxone can ease the pain of the withdrawal process. This medication has been approved by the FDA and is a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine which allows a person to get through the withdrawal by reducing its effects. Success comes from a combination of assistance from the medical practitioner, a proper treatment plan, taking medication as directed by the doctor, the patient’s motivation, and will stay on the journey to recovery.
More about Suboxone
Suboxone is a prescription medication used to help those with opioid addiction. There are two main drugs combined: Buprenorphine and Naloxone hence the generic name is “buprenorphine/naloxone”. Buprenorphine blocks opiate receptors in the brain and will reduce cravings. Naloxone is a medicine used to quickly halt opioid overdoses and reverse some of the harmful effects that opioids have on the body. Combined, they help prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Many people prefer Suboxone for opioid treatment disorders. It is more common than methadone which can lead to longer dependence and reduced efficacy.
Suboxone can be prescribed as an outpatient medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by a Suboxone Doctor like Dr. Chaudhry at the Long Island Compassionate Medical Center, in Holbrook, New York. He has found it a safe and effective way to help his patients overcome their battle with addiction. Suboxone is part of the treatment in addition to counseling. Dr. Chaudhry helps all his patients develop a custom plan to stay “clean” and win the battle.
While Suboxone can help it is important to have a full plan that addresses all the patients’ medical needs. Counseling is needed to target the reasons behind the use and help a person find a productive way to deal with stress and manage their emotional, physical pain, or both.
Uses for Suboxone
Suboxone is prescribed to help with withdrawals from opioids including heroin and prescription painkillers. It is not recommended for long-action opioids. A person may need a buprenorphine treatment instead.
Suboxone will help with the withdrawal phase and will drastically reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. A person will then go into the maintenance phase. When the treatment is done the doctor will taper the dosage of Suboxone until it is no longer needed. Some may experience some withdrawal symptoms like:
- Loss or low appetite
Tapering should help reduce the severity of withdrawals. Tapering should commence after withdrawal symptoms subside from the last dosage reduction and is then repeated.
What is Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved medication considered an opioid partial agonist which means it creates some euphoria and respiratory depression. It helps block the opiate from reaching the receptors in the brain which reduces the cravings for the drug and will help prevent discomfort. There is some opioid in this medication, but it is not enough to allow a person to feel high the same way they would with street drugs or high dose prescription opioids such as Vicodin, Percocet, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Codeine, or Morphine.
What is Naloxone?
Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication and is an opioid antagonist that binds to opioid receptors and can reverse or block the reaction opioids create from drugs such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. The main function is to shut down the opioid receptors so the patient won’t get the effect of euphoria or high from the street or prescription drugs.
How does Suboxone help with Treatment?
Suboxone can be used to manage opioid addiction. It can be part of the recovery plan to reduce cravings. These ingredients will keep the body safer while reducing the craving by overriding the receptors in the brain. This medication is a depressant and slows the body down. There are some things that a person may experience including:
- An overall feeling of being calm
- Reduced stress levels
- Being able to relax
- How is Suboxone Administered?
A prescription for Suboxone is required by a physician who will also need to monitor the patient to make sure they are on a safe path to recovery.
The doctor will discuss various forms of Suboxone and opioid addiction medications available and prescribe the medication that should suit you best. Doses will vary based on your situation. Various forms of Suboxone or Buprenorphine/Naloxone:
- Tablets: (Generic Buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual tablets), Buprenorphine sublingual tablets (Subutex), and Buprenorphine/naloxone) sublingual tablets (Zubsolv)
- Orally Taken Thin Film Strips: Buprenorphine/naloxone buccal film (Bunavail)
- Implants: Buprenorphine implants (Probuphine)
- Injectable Form: Buprenorphine extended-release injection (Sublocade)
When taking the film form it should be put under the tongue so it could be allowed to dissolve easily. Patients should not chew the film as it can reduce its efficacy.
Considering Suboxone is taken orally the patient should not talk, swallow, or smoke while the film is in their mouth. This can impact the way it is used by the body.
Over time a doctor will reduce the dosage or eliminate the patient’s medication as needed which is the ultimate goal of a complete recovery plan.
Moving Forward with Suboxone
Suboxone can be used during the early stages of recovery. Every person reacts differently to medications based on their unique medical conditions and life circumstances. It is hard to put a timeline on treatment with Suboxone. The goal of the treatment plan is to eliminate cravings for opioids so they are in control and can improve their quality of life, free from addiction.
Is Suboxone right for you or your loved ones?
If you or a loved one are ready to start your recovery journey or just to learn more please call the compassionate, friendly, and non-judgmental staff at Long Island Medical Center to get all your questions answered. Help is a phone call away!
Article Written By: Jahanzeb Chauhdry, MD- Opioid Addiction Expert
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