Suboxone is a mixture of naloxone and buprenorphine. Like with many medications, there is more than one way to take it. You can try injections, Suboxone strips and dissolving tablets. So today, we at Direct2Recovery would like to outline the pros and cons of each.
What are Suboxone and Buprenorphine Used For?
Suboxone is a prescription opioid medicine used to block the effects of opioid medication, including pain relief, which can lead to opioid abuse. Suboxone may be used alone or with other medications.
Suboxone is an opioid antagonist, an analgesics, and an opioid partial agonist. This means it produces feelings of euphoria and potentially respiratory depression to low or moderate doses. The Buprenorphine works to dull the side effects of opioids, while the Naloxone prevents overdoses.
Buprenorphine is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid use disorder through medicine assisted treatment (MAT). Buprenorphine is normally prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling and other behavioral therapies to provide patients with a whole-person approach. Direct2Recovery will provide the medication and counseling to those who are approved into their program.
Buprenorphine is the first medication to treat opioid use disorder that can be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing access to treatment.
Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist as well.
Taking Sublocade® Through Injections
Sublocade® is Buprenorphine, but for extended-release. It is primarily administered through an injection and is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate to severe dependence to opioid drugs.
Sublocade® is only for adults who have received dissolvable doses of Buprenorphine or suboxone strips to help control withdrawal symptoms. It is a part of a complete MAT plan and works best when paired with counseling.
It works by turning into a slow release gel once inside of your body. It gradually releases buprenorphine throughout the month to help curb withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
The most common side effects of Sublocade® include:
- Increase in liver enzymes
- Pain or itching at the injection site
Though rare, long-term chronic opioid use and Sublocade® may cause fertility problems in both males and females.
Sublocade® is Not Vivitrol
Sublocade® is not to be confused with another monthly injection called Vivitrol. Vivitrol is an extended release version of naloxone, which blocks opiate receptors in the brain to prevent overdose.
Unlike Sublocade®, you need to be completely free of any opioids in your system before starting Vivitrol treatment.
Suboxone Strips and Dissolving Tablets
You don’t need to take monthly injections if those aren’t right for you. Instead, you can try suboxone strips or dissolvable tablets.
Suboxone was the first opioid replacement therapy to be approved by the FDA since Methadone. As we stated above, Suboxone is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. It commonly comes in strips that dissolve in your mouth (under your tongue). It’s quick, easy, painless, and mostly tasteless.
Suboxone isn’t the only medicine you can take, but it is Direct2Recovery’s favorite because it protects you while you’re recovering. However, many people have strong opinions on what medication they prefer to take during their recovery. Therefore, we’re going to provide a brief description of each option below.
Zubsolv contains both buprenorphine and naloxone. It comes in tablet form and is designed to dissolve under the tongue. Zubsolv is dosed differently due to how quickly it goes to work in your body. It is stronger than Suboxone, so you’ll need to take less.
Bunavail is also a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, but it is administered in film form and dissolves in the cheek.
Subutex only contains Buprenorphine. Like Zubsolv, it is a tablet that dissolves under your tongue. Subutex is generally prescribed for pregnant and breast feeding patients. Because it doesn’t contain naloxone, it does not provide the same level of opioid-blocking protections as the other medications in this blog.
Generic “Suboxone” tablets are also available. Those are administered under the tongue and are dosed at the same level as Suboxone.
Do These Methods Cause Withdrawal?
Quitting any addiction will cause withdrawal symptoms, whether you’re hooked on caffeine, sugar, or opioids. Medication can help minimize those symptoms, but they will not negate them entirely. Your body may also develop a slight dependency on these medications as well, so expect some minor withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them.
- Muscle aches
- Stomach distress
If you have any questions or are ready to take the leap into recovery, contact Direct2Recovery. As a Phoenix Suboxone Clinic with a focus on MAT, they are well equipped to help patients recover while in the comfort of their own home through telemedicine. Reach out today!