Drug Addiction – The Best Treatments for Opiate Addicts
Suboxone versus Subutex…
If you are struggling with opiate addiction, the last thing you want to worry about is what medication you should be using for your treatment.
But there are substance abuse treatment options available via drug rehab centers that can undo the harm done and to help address the health and wellbeing of the addict.
Drugs can be used for addiction treatment, which can break down the shackles of physical dependence and helping to ease withdrawal periods.
In recent years there are more treatments available at drug rehab centers – until 2000, when the Drug Addiction Treatment Act was passed, there was really only methadone being used to treat the addictions.
However, from 2000, suboxone and Subutex, which are forms of buprenorphine, came onto the market to help with opiate addiction.
Drugs such as methadone, suboxone, and Subutex are prescribed by drug rehab doctors to take away the ‘grip’ the opiate has on the addict’s brain, helping to prevent drug abuse and the continuation of addiction.
There are loads of types of opioids which can cause drug addiction, from prescription pain medications to heroin to drugs used to treat the addiction itself.
However, all opioid drugs act in similar ways within the body, and these similarities allow for the chance of ‘cross-tolerance.’
Treatment with methadone or buprenorphine means clinicians are able to take advantage of these opioid similarities and by using safe, more clinically-controlled doses of a prescription opioid to ‘replace’ the opioid on which a person was addicted.
This clinical treatment helps to block withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for illicit drugs, which both help reduce the risk of relapse.
Drugs being used as part of a drug rehab program have to approve by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and therefore the more approved FDA drugs which can help combat opiate addiction, the better for the addict, as not one size fits all – not all treatments work for sufferers.
How They Work
When looking for medication for opioid addiction, most tend to look for ‘opioid agonists.’
An ‘opioid agonist’ fixes to the same receptors in the brain that were activated by the original drug of abuse, but under safe and controlled conditions.
These medications can help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce the addicts’ cravings, which allows for a more gradual, controlled recovery procedure and reduces the risk of relapse.
Methadone – old school but still usefull
Let’s first look at methadone – it works by altering how the brain and nervous system react to pain and by reducing the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal. It then blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs, including heroin, morphine, and codeine, to name but a few.
A downside of methadone, however, is that is can also be addictive and can cause serious side-effects, which means a clinician can only administer it under observation.
Whereas buprenorphine treatments don’t have to be administered daily in a special drug rehab center.
They have a ‘ceiling effect’ which makes them only a partial agonist of opioid receptors in the brain and therefore are less likely to cause addictions or further complications.
Both Subutex and Suboxone are both brand names and contain buprenorphine – they were developed at roughly the same time, although Subutex was formulated first.
Subutex and Suboxone
Although it is effective in the treatment of opiate addiction, there is still a tendency to abuse it as some users try and inject it intravenously in order to maintain their ‘high’.
Subutex only contains buprenorphine, whereas Suboxone contains both contains both buprenorphine and naloxone.
Naloxone is mixed with the buprenorphine to prevent misuse as it causes withdrawal symptoms almost immediately - Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the opioid receptors and acts as a deterrent to abuse.
The benefits of drug rehab centers providing Subutex are:
- Helping the individual to remain safe and peaceful during detox
- Helps to reduce the cravings for the opiate
- Minimizes the chances of a relapse
- It is usually the first drug to be administered as it prevents painful withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin.
Whereas the benefits of Suboxone are:
- Difficult to abuse if administered correctly
- As it is combined with naloxone, it can block opioids from the brain’s receptors, which can result in a high.
- Greater accessibility
- The high success rate in the treatment of opiate dependency
- Low-risk danger
What is in Suboxone?
This is a combination pill that is made up of both buprenorphine and naloxone and is available in 2 strengths – 2mg buprenorphine/0.5 mg naloxone as well as 8 mg buprenorphine/ 2 mg naloxone.
It is known by many as the ‘new kid on the block’ although it’s been around for a while.
It’s taken under the tongue in tablet form or as Suboxone strips and dissolves in the mouth into the blood stream.
The naloxone part of Suboxone is very powerful and can cause abrupt and powerful withdrawal, which is indicated by vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, etc.
The reason the medication is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone is to prevent people from crushing the tablets and injecting them to get a high.
What is in Subutex?
Subutex tablets contain the active ingredient of buprenorphine as hydrochloride and should be taken when precipitating withdrawal from opiates.
The dosage of Subutex should be increased daily until stabilization has been achieved.
Because it doesn’t contain naloxone, withdrawal is slower and less painful but can be open to abuse.
Which Treatment is Best?
The sudden withdrawal from the opiate may make you think that Suboxone is a harsh form of treatment.
But there’s no real functional difference between Subutex and Suboxone unless Subutex is abused.
The difference is one is more gradual and more likely to be prescribed for the first few days of withdrawal, whereas the other, Suboxone is more immediate.
Either form of buprenorphine can help your opiate dependency, but it’s always good to get medical advice first.
In all cases, these two drugs are prescribed by doctors and are under their administration to help your safe recovery journey.