What it's like to take Suboxone® for Opioid Use Disorder?
Suboxone® is a highly effective partial agonist opioid used in the treatment of opioid use disorder. People faced with opioid addiction who decide to take the critical step towards treating their chronic illness will often enroll in MAT, or medication-assisted treatment, to begin their recovery journey. In treatment, with the help of a medical provider, patients may be prescribed Suboxone®. This FDA-approved medication can help ease the uncomfortable side-effects of withdrawal while also supplying the patient with many other benefits.
Those who first begin their treatment process with Suboxone® are curious or apprehensive about what it will be like to take medication after misusing opioids for long periods. Thankfully, there is plenty of research that can help prepare patients for the first few days of taking Suboxone®, as well as long-term use.
Preparing for Suboxone®
Patients enrolled in MAT must get their bodies ready for the process by allowing themselves to slip into the early stages of withdrawal. If Suboxone® is taken when the body is not in withdrawal, it can cause severe discomfort for the patient due to naloxone reversing any opioids in the system. This adverse reaction is called "precipitated withdrawal" and often results in hospitalization.
Each patient's withdrawal window will be different and dependent on the kind of opioids they had been taking and how often they were ingesting them. On average, short-acting opioids such as Vicodin® leave the body within 24 hours, while more potent opioids like Oxycontin® and morphine take about 48 hours. Patients need to be upfront with their medical providers about how often they have been misusing opioids and the kinds they have been taking to find the patient's perfect dosage of Suboxone® with minimal adjustment.
First Day of Suboxone®
After a patient completes intake and enrollment, medical staff prepare them to enter the early stages of withdrawal to take their first dose of Suboxone®. There are various stages of testing involved to help determine the right amount of medication for each patient, along with a medical history to ensure that the patient won't have any allergic reactions to Suboxone®.
Once a patient begins to feel the classic symptoms of withdrawal such as fatigue, anxiety, increased heart rate, body aches, and more, they're indicated to take their Suboxone® prescription. Upon taking the medication, the mild-to-moderate withdrawal discomfort will quickly be alleviated with the first dose and the patient will feel relief within 30 to 45 minutes.
Patients that don't feel significant release upon their first dose will need to communicate to their provider that their dosage needs to be adjusted. These kinks can be worked out within the first few weeks of taking the medication, and most patients find great success, especially curbed cravings for opioid use.
Suboxone® is an excellent MAT solution for patients with opioid use disorder who are looking to make a lifesaving change towards getting better. While there is no magic pill that can cause addiction to disappear, a dimensional treatment program that offers medication and substance use counseling can significantly improve a patient's experience and chances of achieving long-lasting recovery.
Those who feel they may be dependent or addicted to any of these opioid substances, whether they were prescribed or obtained illicitly, are strongly advised to seek medical treatment at a local recovery services clinic.