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Suboxone (Buprenorphine) Treatment

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Suboxone is the first opioid medication approved under DATA 2000 for the  treatment of opioid dependence in an office-based setting. Suboxone can also be dispensed for take-home use, just as any other medication.

The primary active ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist. Partial opioid agonists have limit effects as compared to those produced by full opioid agonists, such as oxycodone or heroin. Suboxone also contains naloxone, an opioid antagonist.

The naloxone in Suboxone is there to discourage people from dissolving the tablet and injecting it. When Suboxone is placed under the tongue as directed, very little naloxone reaches the bloodstream, so what the patient feels are the effects of the buprenorphine. However, if naloxone is injected, it can cause a person dependent on a full opioid agonist to quickly go into withdrawal.

At the appropriate dose, Suboxone may be used to:

  • Reduce illicit opioid use
  • Help patients stay in treatment
  • Suppress symptoms of opioid withdrawal
  • Decrease cravings for opioids

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