Should you take your Suboxone for depression? The first answer to this question should be that you must take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. If your doctor has prescribed that you take Suboxone daily to treat opioid dependence, than take it as directed.
Suboxone does have side effects. Side effects are effects other than the intended treatment effect. While we often think of side effects as being bad, they can be helpful sometimes. In fact, sometimes researchers discover that a medication’s side effects are so useful, the medication is approved by the FDA for an entirely different additional use based on these side effects.
One example of this is a drug that was approved for treating pulmonary hypertension. Male patients reported that they were performing better sexually with better erections. With further study, the drug was approved for the new use and given a new name, Viagra. Another example is an old antidepressant that had the side effect of causing smokers to give up their cigarettes. It was renamed, Zyban.
Suboxone’s active ingredient, buprenorphine, has already gone through this process of discovery. It was originally intended to be a pain reliever. While it was not as effective as many opioids for treating severe pain, buprenorphine was found out to be ideal for treating opioid addiction. An old and not very good pain reliever started over at the beginning of the new millennium as a highly effective addiction treatment drug.
Suboxone has some additional side effects that are considered to be beneficial. Besides preventing opioid withdrawal and opioid cravings, Suboxone can also provide pain relief. For some patients, buprenorphine is a highly effective pain reliever. This is good because many patients who are addicted to opioids also have chronic pain issues. Suboxone can help with both issues.
Another side effect of Suboxone is improving depression. Additionally, it can improve anxiety as well. Patients who are prescribed Suboxone for opioid dependence often report to their doctors that their depression and anxiety are not as bad. While some of this improvement is likely due to quitting opioid abuse, it is also due to the direct effects of the medication.
So, while you should not think of taking Suboxone for the purpose of treating depression, if Suboxone happens to have a positive effect in improving your mood during opioid addiction treatment, it should be considered to be an additional benefit. It is possible that in the future, researchers will determine that buprenorphine is a safe and effective treatment for depression. If this is the case, the FDA may approve it for this use under a different name.
For the time being, always take your medications as directed by your doctor and only for the purpose for which they have been prescribed. Report all side effects to your doctor. Even if the side effects are good side effects.