What to Know About Side Effects
Does Suboxone produce any side effects?
Yes. Common side effects include headache, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. In addition, some people become attached to the relaxation Suboxone can cause, and that can lead to addiction and/or drug relapse.
Suboxone treatment can include a number of side effects, the most severe of which are caused by Suboxone’s status as a partial opioid agonist.
According to the drug manufacturer, common side effects of Suboxone can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numb mouth
- Painful tongue
- Dizziness and fainting
- Problems with concentration
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blurry vision
- Back pain
Because Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, it can cause respiratory depression as opioids can. Respiratory depression is a condition in which breathing becomes too shallow or slow, causing a lack of oxygen in the body. Respiratory depression is perhaps the most severe of the side effects of Suboxone. It is also a fairly common effect of the drug, occurring in 1-10 percent of patients, according to Drugs.com. If users experience this side effect, they should seek medical help immediately. Misuse or overdose of Suboxone can increase the chances for severe respiratory depression.
Another fairly common side effect of the drug is the incidence of anxiety, depression, and nervousness. These effects should be monitored as they can potentially lead to opioid relapse.
Users of Suboxone should keep in contact with their treatment professional while they are on this medication.
Alternatives to SuboxoneSuboxone has few alternatives in the way of medication-assisted treatment, with methadone being the primary competitor. Methadone is a full opioid agonist, meaning it has a greater potential for abuse than Suboxone. Both medications block the effect of other opioids by filling the opioid receptors in the brain, and both medications will assist in the treatment of opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone, however, must be administered in a doctor’s office or via a specialized methadone clinic, making it harder on some individuals to opt for this regular commitment. Buprenorphine-based medications, like Suboxone, give users more flexibility.
Some holistic treatment programs shy away from any medication assistance.
Those with short-term or less severe addictions to opiates may be able to forego the use of medication-assisted treatment; however, it’s imperative that they only do so under direct medical supervision.
In the majority of instances, medications may be employed during opiate detox.
Complementary TherapiesThere are a wide variety of therapies that can be used in addition to medication-assisted treatment, including self-help groups, behavioral therapies, alternative treatments, and more. Treatment programs should be specialized for each individual, depending on the particular circumstances in question. For some, Suboxone may not be an appropriate treatment.
- Some complementary treatments that are often recommended for those on Suboxone include:
- 12-Step programs (Narcotics Anonymous): Though Narcotics Anonymous promotes treatment without the use of medication, there is also a group called Methadone Anonymous, which considers treatment with medication a valid form of therapy.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Also known as CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on the way people think as it relates to the way people behave. Most of the time, therapy will focus on changing thought patterns in order to subsequently change behavior.
- Motivational Interviewing: Motivational Interviewing (MI) is designed to create a willingness to change in individuals who may be ambivalent to change in their lives, or who may be fearful of the consequences. Therapists attempt to have individuals engage in talking about change and committing to change, even in small amounts.
- Family and couples therapy: Marriage and family therapy is often an effective treatment complementary therapy for those in recovery, because often, substance abuse occurs in response to external factors such as familial or marriage problems.
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