Does Suboxone Treat Pain?

How Well Does Suboxone Treat Pain? Is It Viable?

Suboxone is best known for its application in the treatment of addiction, particularly in opioid addiction treatment. It is a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine. Buprenorphine attaches to the receptors that opioids attach to, which reduce the cravings and symptoms a person experiences when they stop abusing opioids. Naloxone works by counteracting the side effects of buprenorphine, which can be abused to produce the same euphoric effects felt when abusing prescription opioids. In this article, we will answer the question “does suboxone treat pain” and the risks involved with taking it.

Suboxone’s Need

Initially, methadone was the preferred choice for treating a person going through opioid withdrawal and to assist with long-term sobriety as the person is slowly weaned off the narcotic. The problem with it is that a person can only obtain so much methadone because it has a high risk of abuse if too much is taken. Suboxone was then developed in an effort to provide the same level of treatment but with less of the risk.

Due to the naloxone present in the compound, taking more suboxone doesn’t result in the person feeling a greater effect. This makes it better at treating people who have already abused an opioid before and will likely do it again before their behavioral therapy is complete. In fact, relapse is a big concern because around half of first-year recovering addicts have a relapse.

The Problem

It is common for a person to be prescribed prescription opioids for the management of severe and chronic pain because of how effective opioids are at treating pain. The problem is that prescribing opioids is a short term solution due to the highly addictive properties of opioid pain relievers. After all, opioid pain relievers are derived from the same thing that heroin is derived from.

When a person starts taking more of the drug than they were told to take, or take it for longer than the prescription was intended for, dependence can form. Eventually, a tolerance forms, which forces the person to have to take increasing amounts in order to still get the pain-relieving properties. When the person seeks treatment for addiction, they are left with a rebounding of the chronic pain with fewer options to choose from to manage it.

This is where suboxone can come into play. Does suboxone treat pain? The simple answer is yes it does. However, the real question is does suboxone treat pain effectively? The answer to that is not very well. This is because of the naloxone component to the compound, which causes reduced effectiveness of any opioid. At best, the pain relief that suboxone offers is minimal and alternatives should be sought for severe pain.

Risks with Suboxone Used to Treat Pain

Since we answered the question “does suboxone treat pain?” we will now look at the risks involved with using it for that purpose. With medication assisted treatment such as suboxone in recovery, there are several risks to consider. One of the most dangerous aspects of suboxone used to treat pain is that when it is combined with alcohol, benzos or CNS depressants, there is a risk of overdose.

The use of medication assisted treatment for addiction is usually done in a strict manner, with a physician keeping a close eye on the individual’s use of the drug and its effectiveness. This does reduce the risks involved, especially since it is difficult to abuse the substance.

Sources:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/193144

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/organization/cctn/ctn/research-studies/suboxone%C2%AE-buprenorphinenaloxone-taper-comparison-two-schedules

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.