Suboxone is a variant of subutex, containing an additional ingredient called naloxone. It is the form generally given to patients. Its effects are the same as Subutex. Like subutex, it is used as a pain reliever and a medication drug in treating opioid addiction.
In determining the effects of suboxone to it’s users, numerous studies have been made. There were about 575 patients being studied with using suboxone, Subutex tablets in 1834 patients and buprenorphine sublingual solutions in 2470 patients. A total of 1270 females have received buprenorphine in clinical trials. Dosing recommendations are based on statistics from one trial of both tablet formulations and two trials of the ethanolic solution. All trials used buprenorphine in combination with psychosocial counseling as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. There have been no clinical studies made to evaluate the effectiveness of buprenorphine as the only component of treatment.
In a double blind placebo and active controlled study, 326 heroin-addicted subjects were at random given to either Suboxone 16 mg per day, 16 mg Subutex per day or placebo tablets. The main study comparison was to test the efficacy of Subutex and Suboxone individually alongside placebo. The fraction of thrice-weekly urine samples that were negative for non-study opioids was statistically higher for both Subutex and Suboxone, than for placebo.
Since suboxone is a blend of two presently marketed medications, buprenorphine and naloxone, it offers a combination of a weak narcotic (buprenorphine) and a narcotic antagonist (naloxone). The later is added to prevent addicts from injecting the tablets intravenously, as has happened with tablets only containing buprenorphine; because it has naloxone, Suboxone is very likely to produce intense withdrawal symptoms if misused intravenously by opioid-addicted individuals. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist at the mu-opioid receptor and an antagonist at the kappaopioid receptor. Naloxone is an antagonist at the mu-opioid receptor.
Addiction to suboxone or subutex is often inevitable. The drug is not supposed to be used occasionally. It must be used as a permanent treatment method and thus, may become harmful if usage is stopped too quickly. Like heroin, suboxone could result to a “euphoric” feeling. It cannot be denied that the person who is continuously taking the drug has a very high risk of becoming dependent and addicted to the drug. It has a system that mimics the actions of naturally occurring pain-reducing chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are found in the brain and spinal cord and decrease pain by combining with opioid receptors. However, opioids also act in the brain to cause feelings of euphoria and hallucinations. This very much illustrates their addictive tendencies among people who are taking them in a long-term basis.
Moreover, in using suboxone, one should be very cautious. As much as possible this should be taken with great supervision by a medical expert. This medication may cause drowsiness. If affected, do not drive or operate machinery. Drowsiness will be made worse by alcohol, tranquilizers, sedatives and sleeping tablets such as benzodiazepines. Taking these in combination with buprenorphine can also cause potentially dangerous problems with breathing and so should be avoided while taking this medicine. The liver function should be often monitored while getting treatment with this medicine.
In substance addiction, it is very excellent to use drugs such as subutex and suboxone. However, there has never been a substance that has been found to be an effective medication for addiction that is at the same time non-addictive. Science may have been in the process of trying to find the perfect drug that would provide us with the two benefits.
Substances, therefore, must be taken with care and appropriate supervision from medical professionals. In addition, it is the liability of the person himself to look after his in-take of a drug. He should be the one controlling the substance, not the other way around.