How Suboxone Can Reduce the Risk of Relapse
The only way to treat drug addiction is to embrace a proper plan of recovery starting from a rehab program to NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings, personal counseling, group therapy and change of lifestyle.
Research suggests that there is an increased risk of relapse among addicts who have recently come out of rehab and are now on their own. They are suddenly uprooted from a protected and trigger-free environment and put into their old dwelling where there might be a trigger in nook and corner. This naturally increases the risk of relapse. Old feelings, thoughts and emotions may take over and tempt the individual to use again.
What is Suboxone?
Medical experts treating drug addiction may prescribe certain helpful medication to avoid the risk of relapse among addicts. One such medication is ‘Suboxone’. It contains two key ingredients: naloxone and buprenorphine and is used for treating those with opioid addiction.
How does suboxone work? The medicine helps minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms thereby preventing misuse. Buprenorphine is the main ingredient in the medication and it gets attached to the same brain receptors as various other opioids. Therefore, it works to minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone, on the other hand, controls the euphoric and pain-relieving side effects that accompany the use of opioids.
This medication should only be taken in consultation with a doctor/physician. Your doctor may dispense the medicine for home use by writing it down on a prescription. Buprenorphine is deemed safe for use by the pharmaceutical industry and is considered to be a suitable treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction.
Buprenorphine is often referred to as a semi opioid agonist. This is what renders it different from all the other opioids. Here are some of the advantages of buprenorphine over other opioids:
- It causes minimal euphoria and there is less risk of physical dependence
- It may lead to very mild withdrawal symptoms
- Reduced risk of misuse
The ingredient Naloxone helps in preventing misuse. So if a patient is addicted to an agonist with full opioid effects (e.g. heroin) and takes suboxone, this ingredient will likely cause serious withdrawal symptoms.
Word of Caution
Suboxone is basically a prescription drug and is helpful in treating opioid dependence such as heroin addiction. But it is to be used as one part of a holistic treatment plan. Other aspects of the recovery plan may include therapy, meetings, rehab etc. Further the medication should only be taken under the guidance of a qualified physician who has experience with treating drug addiction.
It is true that suboxone can help patients during the initial detox process but there is always a risk of misuse. This can cause serious health problems and even death. The medication may be a trigger for those who have had a long-running opioid addiction. These patients may abuse suboxone to deal with withdrawal symptoms and to get a similar high. Therefore, it is important to monitor dosage and behavior when prescribing the medication to a recovering addict.