A combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone® is a medication used for the treatment of opiate addiction. Suboxone® withdrawal symptoms include muscle aches, nausea, and restlessness, as well as runny nose, sweating, and watery eyes. A patient might develop Suboxone® withdrawal symptoms if he or she uses the medication on a regular basis over a long period of time, or if he or she uses it in high doses and then suddenly stops taking the medication altogether. To prevent Suboxone® withdrawal symptoms from occurring, a patient must gradually stop taking the medication, a process that entails continually taking smaller doses until the end of treatment.
Buprenorphine itself is a mixed narcotic agonist-antagonist, while naloxone is a narcotic antagonist. As an opioid, buprenorphine produces a smaller amount of euphoria than other opioids, which makes it easier for a patient to stop taking it. Naloxone, on the other hand, is a medication that blocks the effects that opioids have on the body. As such, naloxone has the ability to block buprenorphine, but only when the Subxone® itself is administered through injection. As Suboxone® treatment requires the effects of buprenorphine, the proper way to take Subxone® is orally, letting the medication dissolve under the tongue.
Since Suboxone® contains an opioid, the medication helps those with opiate addiction to stop using drugs such as codeine, heroin, and morphine. Some people will develop withdrawal symptoms at the beginning of treatment, not from Suboxone®, but from whatever opiate they were using beforehand. During treatment, it is possible to experience side effects, although they will vary from person to person.
Side effects of Suboxone® are different than withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the patient stops taking the medication and needs more of it to feel better. Side effects occur when the patient is taking the medication and is actually a reaction that the body has to the medication. Less serious side effects of Suboxone® include constipation, headache, and nausea. More serious side effects include an allergic reaction, liver problems, and pain in the lower stomach.
Risks of Suboxone® include drug dependency, overdose, and drug interactions. It is important to follow a doctor’s prescription when taking Suboxone®, as the medication can cause the patient to develop a drug dependency, and it can also lead to death if the patient overdoses. The risk of an overdose increases if the patient injects the medication instead of using it in the proper way. Suboxone® can interfere with the effects of other medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and sedatives, so it is important for the patient to disclose any medication that he or she is also taking or plans to take, including the use of alcohol.