Suboxone, a medication consisting of both naloxone and buprenorphine, is one of the primary medicines for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in addressing opioid addiction.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that MAT which includes buprenorphine is very effective at reducing fatal overdoses in opiate addiction. However, even with the evidence, medications to help treat opioid dependence are still underutilized – and the myths surrounding Suboxone therapy do not help.
These misconceptions only add more barriers to treatment for individuals who are struggling with addiction. Let’s talk about some of the most common myths and where you can go to receive help for your addiction once and for all.
Myth #1: Overdosing on Suboxone is as easy as with regular opiates.
It’s not as easy to overdose on Suboxone as compared to other opiates, because buprenorphine is a weak partial opiate receptor agonist. This means there is a ceiling on the opioid receptors it can activate, so Suboxone cannot provide the full opioid effect.
It does not mean, however, that Suboxone cannot cause an overdose. It can happen especially when it is mixed with sedatives or other chemicals that affect breathing. It is therefore vital that you inform your healthcare provider about all of the medications you are taking before receiving opioid addiction treatment.
Myth #2: Suboxone is only a band-aid solution for real recovery.
Suboxone can indeed help in achieving real recovery, especially if it is complemented with other methods to address substance use disorder, such as therapy and support groups. Suboxone serves as the foundation in terms of normalizing brain chemistry. Ideally, patients should also receive behavioral counseling from a licensed mental health professional to help them work through their opioid dependence.
Various studies show that those who take Suboxone are less likely to:
- use illicit drugs,
- experience addiction-like loss of control, and
- experience sedation, euphoria, or other functional problems.
Myth #3: Suboxone should not be taken for an extended period of time.
There is no set timeframe for how long mental health practitioners can use Suboxone for opioid dependence treatment for a patient. This can be compared to disease management with the help of insulin for diabetes patients.
If you use Suboxone, make sure that you are partnered with a medical professional who will be by your side. If you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, inform your provider immediately so that they can adjust your dosage.
Myth #4: It is not a legitimate medication since it’s sold on the streets.
It’s true that some dealers on the streets sell Suboxone. However, it is an effective FDA-approved treatment for opioid addiction. As with most medications, taking too much of it is not a good thing; but taking the prescribed amount of Suboxone will help to wean you off of opioids.
Suboxone Therapy for Opiate Dependence in New York and Connecticut
It’s challenging to begin treatment for addiction. But when you recognize that you have a problem, it’s important to take the first step forward and receive treatment – which may involve Suboxone. Your mental health provider can help you get through the process by explaining how it works when used properly. This way, you can get through treatment without doubting the efficacy of your medication.
If you are struggling with opioid dependence, our medical team at Psy-Visions encourage you to reach out to us. Our very own Dr. Mark Stracks specializes in addiction treatment, and he will tailor your treatment program to your specific needs.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stracks, call our Southbury office today at (203) 405-1745 or our New York City office at (718) 887-2918. You may also send Dr. Stracks a secure message online now. We offer telepsychiatry services so that we can continue helping you through the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to hearing from you.