In the popular television show Mr. Robot, the main character struggles with a morphine addiction but claims that taking suboxone along with the morphine prevents him from withdrawals. But the reality is far from that simple. In truth, how does suboxone work? How do people with opiate addictions benefit from taking suboxone?
This article will explain how suboxone works in simple terms. Then, we’ll talk about whether or not there is any truth to the claim that suboxone can prevent opiate withdrawal.
How Does Suboxone Work?
Suboxone is a combination drug that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a “partial” opioid agonist. This means that it engages opioid receptors like “full” opioid agonists like heroin and morphine, but only at a weak level. In addition, buprenorphine has a ceiling, so the effects are limited even if one takes an excess of the drug. This serves to reduce the risk of addiction, overdose, and dependency.
What Does Buprenorphine in Suboxone Do?
The buprenorphine in suboxone prevents opioid users from suffering from the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that come from discontinuing the use of heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine, and other opioids. Since it engages the opioid receptors, the patient doesn’t feel any cravings. But since it only engages them partially, they don’t feel the euphoric effects that cause addiction.
Buprenorphine also binds more tightly to opioid receptors in the brain than other opioids, which means it “displaces” them and prevents them from acting.
What Does Naloxone in Suboxone Do?
The second drug, naloxone, is an opioid antagonist. Therefore, it performs the opposite function to the buprenorphine in suboxone: it binds to receptors in the brain and displaces opioids. The result? Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms discourage people from injecting suboxone and abusing it as they would other opiates.
Fortunately, naloxone is only active when injected. If you use a suboxone film as prescribed and ingest it, the naloxone is metabolized by your liver and rendered inactive while the buprenorphine gets to work.
Can Suboxone Prevent Opiate Withdrawal?
Unfortunately, as with most of the content of popular television shows, this is a myth. Suboxone is a powerful drug and is only available by prescription by a dedicated medical professional. Once it is determined you are eligible for suboxone therapy, your doctor works with you to create a plan that includes medication, counseling, and behavioral therapy. Plus, they monitor your progress very closely and adjust doses as needed. That’s why suboxone is never prescribed on its own without a plan.
Suboxone also has a variety of side effects, such as:
- nausea or vomiting
Finally, suboxone can also cause withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, cramps, irritability, anxiety, and shaking.
Suboxone Works, But With A Catch
In conclusion, we hope you take away from this article that suboxone is an effective method of treating opioid addiction, but only when used as part of a holistic treatment plan. These are Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) plans, and you should contact a doctor to see if you’re eligible.
At Genesis Pain Clinic, we’re proud to be practitioners of the highest standard of interventional pain management. Our Suboxone medication-assisted treatment plan is the gold standard of care for treating opioid disorders. We offer diagnostic testing and regenerative medicine, with the mission to allow all our patients to live healthy, pain-free lives. Please call us if you have any questions at (913) 871-9888.
We’re proud to offer the best suboxone treatment in Kansas, and we look forward to helping you.