The primary use for Suboxone® is in the use of opioid addiction. Suboxone® is the brand name for the combination of two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone that was approved for the treatment of opioid addiction in 2003. Physicians who prescribe buprenorphine for opioid addiction are required to take a specialized course and apply for a DEA license for this specific medication.
Buprenorphine is also used in the treatment of short and long term pain management. Like other narcotics, buprenorphine is a narcotic and does work well for moderate to severe pain. When prescribed under these circumstances, a physician is not required to have a specialized DEA number. It is interesting that buprenorphine has also been used to treat pain in cats and dogs.
Narcotic medications have been used in the past “off label” for the treatment of refractory depression without FDA. (Physicians are allowed to prescribe medications without specific FDA approval for most medications). The same has been done with the use of buprenorphine. This is not considered standard practice for the treatment of depression at this time.
Using Suboxone: Patient Perspective
Narcotic addiction has become a national epidemic. According to a government funded study, in 1999, an estimated 4 million Americans 12 years or older in 1999 used oral sedatives, stimulants, antipsychotic agents, or opioids in ways not intended by prescribers.
Detoxing with Suboxone for those dependent on narcotics is a safe and effective approach. Avoiding the withdrawals from methadone, Oxycodone, Vicodin, or any narcotic medication is very important as the sympoms of narcotic withdrawal (chills, cramps, goosebumps, runny nose, diarrhea, sleeplessness) usually lead to a quick relapse. The symptoms are particularly difficult for patients to handle
Suboxone can be used during pregnancy in addicts. Historically, methadone has been used more for this purpose. As time passes we are becoming more comfortable with the used of buprenorphine during pregnancy. Many doctors believe use in pregnancy is no more dangerous than the use of methadone in pregnancy. It should be noted that use off buprenorphine during pregancy remains off label.
On the internet, one will see references for the use of Subxone for alcoholism. Although this may be true, this avenue of use can be very dangerous and is not usually done. The combination of alcohol and Suboxone can potentially lead to death. There are usually other prescription treatments for alcoholism which have FDA approval such as Revia ®. In addition, treatment of alcoholism has effective no medication treatments such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Rational Recovery.
Suboxone Medication Forms
Suboxone (buprenorphine) is available as a sublingual tablet, sublingual film, and injection form. The primary form used is in 2 mg buprenorphine/0.5 mg naloxone and 8 mg buprenorphine/2 mg naloxone tablets. Buprenorphine is also available as alone without the naloxone and comes in 2mg and 8mg forms (Subutex®).
In summary, Suboxone ® is a narcotic medication used in the treatment of opioid addiction and in certain cases of pain management. Prescribing Suboxone ® requires special authorization by the DEA for doctors to prescribe it to patients for opioid addiction. The use of this medication can be dangerous and requires close monitoring.
Dr.Rich is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with licenses in Texas and Hawaii. He specialized in the treatment of opioid addiction with buprenorphine. For more information on Dr.Rich, buprenorphine, and finding a doctor who prescribes buprenorphine near you: http://www.allaboutsuboxone.com/