What Is Suboxone And How Does It Work?

There are many treatments, programs, and alternative therapies available to help those suffering from addiction overcome their disease. The sheer volume of choices available may make it challenging for any individual to choose the one that is right for them. This article details the pros and cons of Suboxone, a drug that is sometimes used as a replacement for heroin or other addictive narcotics to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is the brand name of a commercially available drug combining Naloxone and Buprenorphine. Naloxone makes it more difficult for opiates to bind to the brain’s opiate receptors, muting the effects of getting high. Buprenorphine is a more mild narcotic that provides enough of a buzz to mitigate withdrawal symptoms while detoxing from heroin. Taken together, the two drugs have been used to successfully treat addition in the past.

Like most comparable drugs, Suboxone is only available via prescription in the United States.

Are There Risks Associated With Suboxone Use?

While it was originally believed that Suboxone was a perfectly safe treatment for addiction, subsequent research has identified it as a potential drug of abuse. It has little impact when injected, but produces a noticeable high when snorted. The effect is not as strong as that associated with heroin, but prolonged use can still cause dependency, overdose, and other adverse side effects.

For these reasons, Suboxone should only be administered by a licensed medical professional in a controlled setting. This way, it is more likely to be used as intended rather than abused. It should also be combined with counseling, moral support, and other common techniques have proven to help overcome addiction for best results.

What Is Suboxone Detox Like?

Not all patients recovering from Suboxone use will require formal detox. The principal variables that determine whether or not an individual will need formal detox are how often they used the drug and the dosage they took.

If detox is required, the safest way to approach it is IV therapy under the close supervision of a physician. Not only will the supervision encourage the patient to successfully complete the detox program, but the doctor can adjust the medication accordingly as the patient progresses through the treatments. This can keep the patient as comfortable as possible for the duration of the detox.


To sum up, Suboxone is one of the many drugs available to help ease an addiction patient’s withdrawal symptoms as they are weaned off of their drug of abuse. It is only available by prescription and must be closely supervised to ensure that it does not become a drug of abuse itself. Should detox be required, it is best left to the care of a medical professional.

Multiple treatment options should be discussed before deciding whether Suboxone is the correct course of action.

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