Suboxone is composed of a combination of naloxone and buprenorphine. Naloxone works by blocking the effects of opioids such as heroin, codeine, and morphine. Buprenorphine is an opioid but produces less of an euphoric (high) feeling and it is easier to stop taking.
Administration of Suboxone
Suboxone is used to switch you from your current opioid to Suboxone. During your initial dosage, you must be experiencing mild-to-moderate withdrawal symptoms. This is extremely important. If you take an initial dose of Suboxone without being in mild-to-moderate withdrawal, the medicine will cause you to feel worse because it will cause withdrawal symptoms. Your first dose will be given in your physician’s office. Your symptoms will be assessed and depending on your reaction to the first dose, you may have to be given a second dose.
After your physician has determined a correct dosage, you will be given a prescription to take at home. Your doctor may want to see you daily for the first week to adjust your dosages.
You will be required to fulfill a maintenance program. This will include treatment compliance, taking your Suboxone as prescribed, and generally includes participation in some form of counseling or therapy.
Side Effects of Suboxone
Common side effects while taking this medication can include headache, trouble sleeping, sweating, pain, stomach pain, nausea, or constipation.
Suboxone should not be stopped without first discussing this with your physician. Suboxone can cause withdrawal symptoms and it is best to have your doctor gradually reduce your dosage to avoid these unpleasant side effects.
Seek medical attention immediately if while taking Suboxone you experience an allergic reaction, difficulty breathing, closing of the throat, swelling to your lips, tongue or face, hives, dizziness, confusion, slow breathing, yellowing of your eyes or skin, dark colored urine, or light colored stools.
Considerations while on Suboxone
Suboxone, when given at the proper dosage, helps patients reduce illicit opioid use and remain in treatment. It works by suppressing the symptoms of withdrawal and decreases cravings for opioids.
Alcohol should not be used while on this medication. Alcohol can increase drowsiness and dizziness.
Discuss any other medications you are currently taking with your physician before taking Suboxone. Certain medicines such as antidepressants, antihistamines, sedatives, pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anxiety pills can interact and cause a dangerous level of drowsiness.
An overdose of Suboxone can cause death. You should only use Suboxone exactly as prescribed by your physician.