What to Expect
Suboxone is used to treat opioid addictions. It is a combination of two medications – buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist. Opiate Agonists are compounds that stimulate specific receptors in our brains. An Opioid/Opiate Antagonist is a medication that blocks the opiate receptors, therefore blocking the effects of the opiate.
Suboxone comes in a pill form and is taken “sublingually” (placed under the tongue to dissolve). The buprenorphine component is absorbed quickly by the bloodstream under the tongue. The naloxone portion is not absorbed and must either be swallowed or spit out.
Suboxone may cause precipitated withdrawal – a rapid onset and intense withdrawal caused by taking Suboxone when you have residual opiate drugs in your system. To minimize the chances of this, our physician ensures you are in a partial opiate withdrawal state and then slowly introduces Suboxone to your system over several hours while in our medical unit. Your dose will be adjusted over this 24 hour period and then you are reassessed a week later in most cases.
After medical withdrawal (aka detox), most clients will remain on Suboxone throughout their stay with us, but some may not depending on the recommendations of our physician. Depending on their individual treatment plan, a client may be supported in tapering off Suboxone while in treatment with us, but most stay on a consistent dose throughout their stay. When a client leaves our treatment program, we connect them with a physician or clinic in their home community who will prescribe Suboxone.
Therapy and counselling are key components to the success of substitution treatment. Buprenorphine prescribed in combination with counselling and other therapies has a much higher success rate than Suboxone treatment without counselling. Suboxone allows our clients with opioid addictions to regain a normal state of mind so that they may sooner and more actively participate in their treatment.
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