What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a brand-name medication that contains two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. The FDA has approved Suboxone for the treatment of opioid dependence. As you may have heard on various Suboxone podcasts, this unique medication plays an important part in managing the opioid crisis in the US.

What is buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine is an opioid. And, it is a drug used to treat opioid addiction. How does this make sense, giving an opioid to an opioid addict? We must understand that buprenorphine is a unique kind of opioid that works differently than other opiates and opioids. You may have seen Suboxone podcasts with video demonstrating an animation of how bupe works. Where most opioids bounce on and off of opioid receptors, strongly activating the receptors each time, buprenorphine blocks the receptor and only mildly activates it. By blocking, I mean it latches onto the receptor and stays there, not letting go. So, you can see that, while technically an opioid, buprenorphine works differently. This is what makes it so uniquely suited for treating opioid use disorder.

If buprenorphine is the drug for treating opioid addiction, why does Suboxone contain naloxone?

When a patient takes their Suboxone as directed, the naloxone component does nothing at all. Because Suboxone is being given to people who have been addicted to opioids, there is concern that some patients may try to inject Suboxone. Some drug users have developed the habit and skills to turn prescription opioids into injectables and shoot them up through a syringe and needle. The naloxone in Suboxone is a deterrent for this practice. If a drug abuser attempts to inject Suboxone, they will get significant, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms due to the naloxone. This is because naloxone is a very strong blocker of the opioid receptor.

How can I learn more about Suboxone and doctors who prescribe it?

Of course, first, you should speak to your doctor to learn more about how Suboxone may be helpful to you or a loved-one in overcoming opioid addiction. And, you may find resources, such as the SAMHSA website, to be helpful as well. If you are interested in learning more about medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone, you may be interested in downloading episodes from Suboxone podcasts. These episodes may contain success stories and information about how to find a doctor or treatment program in your area.

Is Suboxone the best option for treating opioid addiction?

Suboxone is an excellent option for medication-assisted treatment. However, there are other options. There is methadone, which may be the best choice for some patients. There is also naltrexone as another option. When it comes to buprenorphine meds, such as Suboxone, there are alternative brands, such as ZubSolv, Subutex, and various generics and compounds. To learn more, check out our addiction treatment podcast episodes for interviews with various experts in the field of medication-assisted treatment.