Opioid Replacement Therapy – Is Suboxone Safe?
Suboxone is one of the medications that are used in the treatment of opioid dependence. A person who is being treated or considering treatment for opioid addiction with the help of the drug my wonder is Suboxone safe? Generally speaking, it is a safe opioid, but there are situations in which it could be dangerous.
The need for medications such as Suboxone in the United States has never been higher. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, around 33,000 overdoses in 2015 were on opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers. In this article, we will look at the question “is suboxone safe?” as an opioid addiction treatment medication.
To properly answer the question “is suboxone safe?” we will look at some facts about the medication.
Suboxone was first approved for use with the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000. It is a medication that aims to replace opioids being abused by an addict. Instead of the person abusing prescription opioid pain relievers or heroin at high doses, they are given Suboxone in safe amounts and then slowly weaned off the substance at a safe pace. This is known as opioid replacement therapy, which is highly effective when combined with behavioral therapy. It’s often the only way for some people to avoid relapse, or to deal with the intense withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting.
So, is suboxone safe as an opioid replacement? Yes, it is safe because it also has a drug called naloxone, which blocks the effects of high amounts of opioids. This means that it’s not possible to get “high” while on the medication.
What are The Risks?
Suboxone in recovery can have some side effects to be on the lookout for. If you experience any of these side effects, then speak to your addiction specialist about it.
The following are some of the side effects of suboxone in recovery that some may experience:
- Blurred vision
- Back pain
- Trouble focusing
- Heart palpitations
- Swollen tongue
- Numbness in the mouth
What is a Safe Amount of Suboxone to Take?
The medication comes in a variety of strengths. It also comes as either a tablet or film. The amount of the medication you need to take should always be guided by your physician’s recommendation, and you should never increase the doses by yourself. If you feel like you are getting side effects, then contact your doctor immediately.
Generally speaking, medications used in addiction recovery do not allow for the person to misuse them. In the case of Suboxone, not only are there anti-abuse properties present, but the amount a patient is given isn’t enough to abuse either. Missing a dose also doesn’t mean that a double dose should be taken on your next dose.
A person starting with their treatment generally receives a 2 mg / 0.5 mg ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone. The doses increase to around a daily dose of 16 mg / 4 mg. The initial treatment length tends to be around two months.
How Long Can You Use Suboxone?
The first approval period is two months. This period is used to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and to ensure that the addict isn’t still abusing opioids. A person is usually given a maximum of 62 tablets in a month.
As one of the medications used in addiction recovery, Suboxone treatment usually goes on for roughly six months in most cases with a maximum use period of 12 months.
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.