Let’s Talk About the Dark Side of Suboxone

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Suboxone works for a lot of people, but it also has the potential to be abused.

It’s become a common solution to opioid addiction. Doctors prescribe Suboxone to help those struggling with opioid abuse stop their illicit drug use and slowly taper off those drugs entirely. At least, that’s the goal.

But it doesn’t always happen that way…

The Scoop on Suboxone

Like heroin and other opioids, Suboxone has its own risks, side effects, and withdrawal symptoms. If abused, taking this drug may be like jumping from the fire into the frying pan. It’s a little less hot, but you can still get burned.

Just what is this “wonder drug” we’re looking to for treatment? Suboxone is a medication that contains both buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist – it produces the same effects opioids do, but in a milder form. How? It attaches to the same brain opioid receptors, but doesn’t produce the same high.

In Suboxone, buprenorphine is combined with naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist. As an antagonist, the naloxone blocks opioid receptors, which prevents the body from experiencing the opioid effects.

The combination is designed to discourage users from abusing Suboxone, since they cannot achieve a high from the drug. That’s the good news.

Suboxone Side Effects

The buprenorphine in Suboxone has both major and minor side effects.

Common minor side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Fever or chills
  • Back pain
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Painful urination

Major side effects of buprenorphine include:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drowsiness and unusual fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision

Withdrawal Caused by Suboxone

In addition to these side effects, buprenorphine also causes withdrawal. If a person has been taking this medication for a long period of time and they no longer receive it, they suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to those suffered when stopping other forms of opiates.

Just like other opioids, buprenorphine interacts with the brain and body, affecting its chemical processes. Once removed, the body feels the absence of the drug, causing withdrawal. The severity of symptoms depends on the length, method, and amount of use. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive sweating

Naturally, suffering from these withdrawal symptoms can worsen underlying mental disorders like depression. At times, withdrawal can become overwhelming, which sends patients spiraling into buprenorphine abuse and dependency.

There’s a huge debate swirling around the use of Suboxone for addiction treatment. The truth of the matter is that Suboxone helps thousands of people overcome their addictions. But there’s a flip side to this issue; Suboxone can also have a dark side that leads to further addiction and recovery hurdles.

No matter where you stand on the issue, it’s important to do your research and understand the facts before starting down this – or any other – treatment path.

Image Source: iStock



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