What is Subutex?

As the U.S. grapples with the opioid epidemic, it’s important to understand there are treatment options available, and among those are medication-based treatments for opioid addiction and dependence.

One such option is called Subutex, which is a prescription medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid addiction.

So what is Subutex medication? What is Subutex used for? These details are provided in the overview below.

What is Subutex? | Subutex Medication
Subutex medication became available in 2002 to help aid in the treatment of opioid dependence. Before the introduction of Subutex and another combination drug called Suboxone, the primary medication used to treat opioid addiction was called methadone. Methadone could be helpful but also had many downsides as well, including the fact that it’s also addictive. Subutex, which is a brand name drug, contains the active ingredient buprenorphine. It’s a sublingual tablet, which means that when it’s taken the person is supposed to put it under their tongue and let it melt, rather than swallowing it whole or chewing it. Subutex is less controlled regarding its availability than methadone. It can be prescribed by doctors who are trained and certified in its administration, whereas with methadone people have to go to specialty clinics and they can only use the drug at those clinics. The reasons Subutex is less controlled include the fact that it has a lower potential risk of abuse, addiction, and overdose. So what are the Subutex ingredients? As mentioned, this drug contains only one active ingredient which is buprenorphine. Before being introduced as an option to help treat opioid dependence, the active ingredient of Subutex was used as a pain reliever. Buprenorphine acts on certain brain receptors in many of the same ways as other opioids like prescription painkillers, but without the full effects of a euphoric high. It’s classified as a partial opioid agonist, so when someone uses Subutex, the buprenorphine binds to opioid receptors and helps to trick the brain into thinking it’s taken the drugs it’s dependent on. This serves as a way to help people avoid painful withdrawal symptoms as they attempt to stop using drugs, so they’re better able to focus on their treatment and recovery. They may feel some sense of well-being when they use Subutex, but again, it’s not the euphoric high of opioid drugs, so it’s not considered a very addictive medication.
What is Subutex used for? It’s used as a way to help people who are not just psychologically addicted to opioids, but who are physically dependent on them. When you’re dependent on opioids, and you don’t take them, your brain and ultimately your body go into a type of shock. Using Subutex can help prevent this from happening, so as you attempt to stop using opioids you can focus on treatment and recovery, rather than struggling to make it through detox and withdrawal from the drugs. Subutex uses are supposed to be limited to helping people be safe and comfortable during detox. Subutex uses also include helping addicts reduce or eliminate their cravings for opioids, and minimizing the chances of relapse. There’s another similar drug with the active ingredient buprenorphine which is called Suboxone. The primary difference between Subutex and Suboxone is the fact that Suboxone also contains something called naloxone. This drug makes it so that if someone attempts to misuse Suboxone in order to get high, they will go into immediate opioid withdrawal. While theoretically someone could try to use Subutex to get high, it’s not extremely likely. The drug can be crushed or dissolved to be administered in ways other than what it’s intended for, but it still wouldn’t produce much of a high. Also, Subutex has a ceiling effect. This means that if someone takes more than around 30 mg or so, they’re not going to get any additional effects from it.
Using Subutex for pain could be an option, but it’s not a major use for the drug in the U.S. Subutex does reduce sensations of pain because it occupies opioid receptors in the central nervous system, however. As was touched on above, the active ingredient of Subutex which is buprenorphine was previously used as a pain reliever, so it does have some pain-relieving effects.
Subutex medication is an option that can be administered to people who are addicted to opioids. Its active ingredient is buprenorphine, and it’s a partial opioid agonist, meaning it binds to opioid receptors to prevent withdrawal symptoms in people who are addicted to opioids but without the euphoric high of these drugs. Subutex tends to be safer and less addictive than methadone in most cases, and it has a low likelihood of abuse. Subutex is best used when it’s part of a comprehensive drug treatment program because it allows the user to focus on their recovery, rather than the discomfort of withdrawal from opioids. It can also help reduce the chances of a relapse occurring.
What is Subutex?
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