How Does Suboxone Help with Heroin and Opioid Detoxification?

With so many people falling victim to heroin and opioid painkiller addiction, Suboxone is thankfully helping substantially with the detox process.

Suboxone is a form of help with opiate addiction which works by preventing symptoms of withdrawal from heroin and other opiates. Suboxone is a prescription medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine attaches and binds to the same opioid receptors in the brain and other parts of the body that drugs like heroin, oxycodone, morphine, and other opioids bind to. Once it attaches to these receptors, it mimics the effects that opioid drugs produce. It is known as a partial opioid agonist.

Naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist. It’s the drug given to people that overdose because an injection of naloxone puts the opioid-user into instant withdrawal, thus saving them from health issues and death.

Opiate dependence develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug. When you abruptly stop taking opioids, the central nervous system goes haywire and the fight or flight response is ignited. The result is opioid withdrawal syndrome which is characterized by restlessness, anxiety, muscle aches, runny nose, sweats, chills, insomnia, yawning, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and high blood pressure.

After you take a dose of Suboxone, the buprenorphine quickly binds to the opioid receptors and withdrawal symptoms and opiate cravings are drastically reduced or eliminated. Individuals will feel the effects of Suboxone within 30 minutes of ingestion, thus Suboxone is often referred to as a “magic” drug.

Suboxone, if taken too soon before the other opioid drug leaves your body, can send you into precipitated withdrawal, which is similar to withdrawal but is more intense and has a much faster onset. Typically, Suboxone is first administered when the person is experiencing moderate opioid withdrawal symptoms. The amount prescribed is dependent on how long you have been using opiates, what type of opiates you have been using and the amount you have been using daily. Everybody responds slightly differently. Suboxone is more likely to precipitate withdrawal if there is a high level of physical dependence, there is a short time between the last dose of the full agonist and first dose of buprenorphine, too high a dose of buprenorphine is used or the full agonist has a long half-life, as is the case with methadone. The best way to prevent precipitated withdrawal is through patient education.

Overall, Suboxone has proven to be miraculous in assisting with detox from heroin and other opioids.

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