Detoxing with Buprenorphine
The prescription drug Buprenorphine functions in the same way that methadone does, but it is less closely regulated because of its minimal potential for addiction. Buprenorphine is also available for at-home use, whereas methadone must be taken at a licensed facility.
Beginning in the 1960s up to 2000, the drug methadone was the most commonly used option for those seeking to undergo replacement therapy for narcotics to lessen the withdrawal symptoms from their drug abuse. Methadone is known as an opiate agonist that’s prescribed by licensed professionals and is to be used only under professional supervision to fight symptoms of withdrawal. When buprenorphine was released onto the market, it was the very first drug that had been approved by the FDA to be prescribed by licensed doctors to treat opioid addiction. At the time, between 810,000 and 1 million people in the U.S. were actively addicted to heroin.
Unlike a similar drug, Methadone (Schedule II drug), buprenorphine is a schedule III drug, meaning that it has a much lower probability of abuse. Whereas Methadone can only be authorized through doctors registered by the DEA Narcotic Treatment Program or registered clinics, Buprenorphine can be authorized by any doctor that has received proper instruction and certification. Buprenorphine is considered by many in the professional world to be much safer for use than methadone.
What exactly is Buprenorphine?
The drug buprenorphine is in a drug class called opiate agonists. Similar to all substances derived from morphine, buprenorphine has chemicals that connect to opioid receptors found within the brain; it can lessen pain and create strong feelings of wellbeing. When the patient takes it in prescribed doses, it can replicate the effects of opioid drugs, just to a significantly lesser extent.
How can this drug help in recovery?
Buprenorphine can help patients in opioid addiction treatment programs exponentially. When behavioral treatment and professional counseling are also used, buprenorphine therapy can potentially help in these ways:
- Help patients stay comfortable as they go through the beginning portion of recovery
- Stop or lessen cravings for street opioids
- Drastically lowers potential for relapse
- Helps patient slowly and safely wean off drugs and out of addiction
What is the drug Subutex?
Subutex is the marketed name for buprenorphine and can be used as sublingual tablets (under the individual’s tongue) so that it can dissolve into the bloodstream orally. When Subutex is taken in prescribed doses, it usually gives off a much lower level of feel-good chemicals, central nervous system suppression, or drowsiness compared to street drugs such as heroin. The drug is meant to be used while under a doctor’s supervision and taken as directed so that the wanted effects are produced.
Some users who abuse the drug will crush it up and either snort or inject it to gain a stronger effect. When taken in these ways, the drug can curb the nervous system and result in dizziness, unconsciousness, confusion and even death.
Suboxone, the marketed name for the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, which are both opioid antagonists. was the original version of buprenorphine that was going to be prescribed for opioid dependence. The drug was made to respond to the need to discourage people from abusing the drug buprenorphine by either snorting or injecting it to get high. The drug naloxone was included in the mix to keep people from feeling the high effects if used improperly.
When consumed sublingually, naloxone’s effects cannot be felt. However, if it is crushed and either snorted or injected, the naloxone should stop all pleasurable effects from being felt. The drug has also recently become accessible in film form to decrease the likelihood of abuse.
Medication therapy with either Subutex or Suboxone in never a treatment plan on its own. In order for one to begin successful recovery, it is important to undergo extensive addiction treatment in an accredited facility.
Although some people can be successful when detoxing on their own, it is never recommended. In order to have the highest possibility for success, it is recommended to check into a registered and licensed rehab facility.
A supervised detox can save the individual if health issues arise during the process. On your own, it is very risky and the chances of relapse skyrocket.
Those with co-existing physical or mental health problems should undergo a medical detox. Withdrawal symptoms can complicate the detox process depending on the individual.
Detox is usually included in inpatient rehab programs. Usually, it takes about 30 to 90 days to complete a program. The first week is when detox will happen followed by behavioral therapy, group therapy and counseling to make recovery more successful.