Suboxone can be an incredibly powerful opioid addiction medication.
A combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, it helps patients curb their cravings and alleviates painful withdrawal symptoms. It works by blocking the receptors in their brains that receive and expect a “high” from opioids.
While it can be a wonderful resource on a patient’s road to recovery, it’s important to understand exactly how it affects your body. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the effects of Suboxone and sharing everything you and your loved ones need to know.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is an FDA-approved addiction treatment medication. It’s often used in combination with other forms of recovery treatment, including counseling and behavioral therapy, to support those struggling with opioid dependence. When substances like Suboxone are used to help individuals recover from opioid addiction, the approach is called Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT.
The goals of MAT are twofold. First, the program is designed to help curb a patient’s illicit drug use. At the same time, it also helps them manage their cravings and control their withdrawal symptoms so they can lead a productive, fulfilling life.
Suboxone is one medication that’s often used in MAT. It’s available as an oral film and an oral tablet. Both types of medication are designed to dissolve under your tongue (sublingual) though the oral film can be used in your cheek (buccal).
What Are the Suboxone Effects on Your Body?
This medication contains four parts buprenorphine and one part naloxone.
Buprenorphine binds to the opioid receptors in the patient’s brain, essentially tricking it into thinking it’s received a full dose of an opioid. When those receptors are activated, they generate feelings of reward and pleasure. It’s this sensation that catalyzes so many opioid addictions in the first place.
Naloxone works to block that receptor activation and reverse those euphoric effects. When these two substances combine, they can help patients withdraw from opioids without many of the uncomfortable side effects. Together, buprenorphine and naloxone perform three important functions:
- Blunt intoxication caused by other opioids
- Prevent opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms
- Allow patients to transition back into normal life more easily and safely
Suboxone Overdose Potential
While there is an overdose potential with Suboxone, it is very low. This is because the medication has a ceiling effect, which means at a certain therapeutic level, it stops becoming more potent the more you take. In other words, it reaches a plateau.
To remain safe and effective, Suboxone must be obtained by a prescription, taken at an appropriate dose, and ingested as detailed on the label. If a patient obtains the medication under false pretense or takes it incorrectly, serious side effects can occur. There is also a higher risk of addiction and overdose.
This is why Suboxone is only available through a certified opioid treatment program. If you or anyone you know is considering the medication, it must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional. At Recovery Delivered, we can connect you with online, specially trained doctors who will work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.
How Long Does Suboxone Stay in Your System?
The amount of time that Suboxone stays in your system will depend on a few different factors, including your:
- Speed of metabolism
- Body mass
If you are on this medication, it can take up to two weeks before it’s fully flushed out of your system once the final dose is administered.
Potential Side Effects of Suboxone
Some patients may experience side effects when taking Suboxone, even if they follow all of the appropriate protocols. The most common side effects of this medication include:
- Blurred vision
- Back pain
- Tongue pain
- Increased perspiration
- Numbness or tingling
- Nausea or vomiting
While these can occur absent of any type of foul play, it’s critical to be smart and safe when taking this medication. This includes never taking it with benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Valium, as well as antihistamines or muscle relaxers. You should also never mix Suboxone with alcohol.
Doing so could compress your breathing, leading to respiratory depression. This is a condition in which your breathing becomes extra slow or shallow, which leads to a lack of oxygen throughout your body.
The misuse or overdose of Suboxone can increase the risk for severe respiratory depression. It can also lead to other side effects, including hypoxia (lower oxygen levels in your body tissues) and brain damage. You should remain in contact with your treatment professional while on this medication.
Potential Withdrawal Symptoms of Suboxone
If you are on a Suboxone regimen, it’s important to follow all of the instructions as provided by your specialist. Stopping the medication too early or going cold turkey could result in painful withdrawal symptoms. Remember that Suboxone is designed to mimic the effects of opioids, so unsupervised withdrawal from this substance can be similar if you initiate it without supervision.
Some of the side effects you may experience include:
- Muscle aches
For some patients, these symptoms are so painful that they can trigger a relapse. If you experience any of these side effects (from withdrawal or during normal use), it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Learn More About the Potential of Suboxone
If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, there are resources available to help. This includes medication like online Suboxone that can help minimize withdrawal symptoms, curb your cravings, and improve your quality of life.
Our team at Recovery Delivered is ready to partner with you on your recovery journey. Our approach to MAT includes a variety of addiction medications, including Suboxone. To learn more about the effects of Suboxone and connect with our online doctors, start your treatment with us today.