Suboxone is a combination of two different narcotics, buprenorphine and naloxone. This medication is used as a type of maintenance treatment for addiction to opioids. Individuals who are considering this treatment should be aware that it can result in a variety of side effects. Suboxone treatment may also increase the effects of other narcotics or drugs that result in drowsiness. Mothers who are breastfeeding are advised not to use this medication, as buprenorphine may be passed to the child through breast milk.
Why Take Suboxone
Most people are not able to simply stop taking opiate drugs, including heroine. In order to successfully overcome an addiction to opiates, individuals must change their behavior, environment, and thinking. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of patients who quit taking opiates on their own are able to maintain their abstinence for a full year.
Medication-assisted treatments, such as suboxone can help patients in maintaining their sobriety by reducing the side effects associated with withdrawal, including reducing cravings which can often result in relapse.
How Suboxone Works
Buprenorphine is a type of opioid medication similar to codeine, morphine, and heroin. This medication targets the same parts of the brain as do opioids. The goal of this treatment is to relieve the drug cravings associated with these drugs without producing the same high as other opiates.
This medication is administered under the tongue. It is important that this medication only be taken as prescribed by your physician.
How Suboxone Works
While suboxone can be an effective method for treating an opiate addiction, it is still important to be aware that some patients may experience side effects. Some side effects are relatively common and mild; however, other side effects are considered more dangerous and constitute an emergency situation.
It is important to seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms, which could indicate an allergic reaction to suboxone. These symptoms include difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling of the lips, throat, face, or tongue. As is the case with other types of narcotics, buprenorphine can cause your breathing to slow. You should also seek emergency attention if you experience any of the following:
- Loss of coordination
- Extreme drowsiness
- Shallow or weak breathing
- Upper stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Fluttering in the chest
- Pounding heartbeat
Contact your doctor right away if you experience withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, shivering, shaking, watery eyes, runny nose, feeling very cold or hot, or muscle pain.
Common Side Effects of Suboxone
More common side effects of this treatment may include the following:
- Numbness or tingling
- Mild dizziness
- Difficulty concentrating
When taking this medication to treat opioid addiction, individuals should avoid taking any type of mood-altering drugs, including sedatives, narcotic painkillers, tranquilizes, and sleeping pills. In some instances, this medication may be used as an alternative to methadone treatment, as it is known to produce less severe side effects than does methadone. When considering taking this medication, you should speak to your physician about which option may be best for your particular situation.
Follow-up care is a vital part of suboxone treatment. Individuals taking this treatment should make a point of attending all appointments and contacting their physician immediately if they experience any problems, including worrisome side effects. It is also a good idea to maintain a list of all medications you take.
If you are struggling with an addiction to opiates, including heroin, suboxone could be an effective treatment but helping you to achieve and maintain sobriety. Understanding the side effects associated with this medication can help you to make an educated decision.