Suboxone is a variant of subutex, containing an additional ingredient called naloxone. It is the form generally given to patients. Its effects is similar to Subutex. Like subutex, it is used as a pain reliever and a medication drug in treating opioid addiction.
Studies have been made as to determine the real effects of suboxone to the patient. Suboxone tablets have been studied in 575 patients, 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 facts from one trial of both tablet formulations and two trials of the ethanolic solution. All trials used buprenorphine in conjunction 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 randomly assigned to either Suboxone 16 mg per day, 16 mg Subutex per day or placebo tablets. The primary study comparison was to test the efficacy of Subutex and Suboxone independently against 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 currently marketed medications, buprenorphine and naloxone, it gives a combination of a weak narcotic (buprenorphine) and a narcotic antagonist (naloxone). The latter is supplemented to stop addicts from injecting the tablets intravenously, as has happened with tablets only containing buprenorphine; because it has naloxone, Suboxone is highly likely to generate 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 should be used as a permanent treatment method and thus, may become dangerous 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 intense risk of becoming dependent and addicted to the drug. It has a system that copies the actions of naturally occurring pain-reducing chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins are found in the brain and spinal cord and reduce pain by combining with opioid receptors. However, opioids also act in the brain to cause feelings of euphoria and hallucinations. This greatly explains their addictive tendencies among people who are taking them in a long-term basis.
Moreover, in taking in suboxone, one should be very careful. As much as possible this should be taken with great administration by a medical expert. This medicine 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 mixture with buprenorphine can also cause potentially dangerous problems with breathing and so should be avoided while taking this medicine. The liver function should be regularly monitored while getting treatment with this medicine.
Drugs like these are very useful and helpful in battling with drug addiction. 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 course of trying to find the perfect drug that would provide us with the two benefits.
Drugs, therefore, must be taken with care and proper supervision from medical professionals. In addition, it is the liability of the individual himself to look after his in-take of a drug. He should be the first to control the substance, not the drug controlling him.