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a young woman used suboxone to wean herself off of an opioid addiction in medication assisted treatment

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Suboxone is an FDA-approved drug that is often prescribed by licensed physicians to wean a person off an opioid dependency or addiction. However, like all prescription medication, if misused, suboxone has a low to moderate potential for abuse. So, the short answer to the question, “Is suboxone addictive?” is yes. If you or a loved one is struggling with a suboxone addiction, reach out to Lighthouse Recovery’s suboxone rehab program, which utilizes medication-assisted treatment and evidence-based therapies to guarantee a full recovery.

It is important to understand what suboxone is and the role it plays in medication-assisted treatment when discussing its potentially addictive nature. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone commonly used to treat opioid/opiate use disorder, along with reversing the effects of a drug overdose. To learn more about suboxone use and medication-assisted treatment, call us at 866.308.2090.

Is Suboxone Addictive?

Since suboxone is a chemical formulation that is partly derived from an opioid, it can result in addiction if the dosage is left unmonitored or when illegally consumed. Nevertheless, suboxone plays a critical role in the detox process, especially when weaning a client off severe drug addiction, such as heroin.

As detox is often accompanied by painful withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings, administering suboxone can alleviate some of the symptoms and ensure that the client is safe and comfortable. In fact, to prevent suboxone addiction, doctors and health professionals take the following steps:

  • Limit availability of the substance except by prescription
  • Administration of a limited dose for a short period of time
  • This dosage is carefully formulated after a thorough assessment of the client’s medical history
  • Usually available in the form of a sublingual patch to discourage misuse by injection
  • The client is usually placed on a drug taper program where the dosage is decreased over time

However, if a person already has steady access to the drug, they may use it to get high. Some individuals might illegally buy suboxone to cope with their heroin addiction, resulting in a longer, self-destructive cycle.

Thus, if left unattended, a client with a history of substance use may turn to suboxone to get their “fix” and develop an addiction.

How Suboxone Works in Medication-Assisted Treatment

Suboxone is indeed a habit-forming substance, although the chances of addiction are relatively low when administered carefully. In fact, it is only used for a limited period of time during the detox phase as part of a personalized medication-assisted treatment plan.

In medication-assisted treatment, suboxone works as follows:

  • Buprenorphine—Unlike heroin which is a full opioid agonist, buprenorphine is a partial heroin agonist. As a result, it can provide a small high and lowers the risk of overdose, and it can help wean a person off heroin or any potent opioid.
  • Naloxone—The other half of a suboxone formulation is naloxone. This substance further minimizes the effects of the high from buprenorphine. It also counteracts the dangerous effects of opioids. In fact, in cases of a drug overdose, naloxone is often administered to reverse the effects.

Consequently, if used carefully and for a short period of time, suboxone can successfully fight opioid dependency and help the client commit to lifelong sobriety.

Find Help and Healing at Lighthouse Recovery Institute

At Lighthouse Recovery, we believe that a successful recovery from addiction is possible for anyone. To that end, we offer a broad spectrum of services, including partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, evidence-based therapies, and quality aftercare to help clients rebuild their lives anew.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. Call us today at 866.308.2090 and sign up for our personalized 90-day addiction treatment program with aftercare for a successful recovery.

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