Tag: medication assisted therapy

Is Suboxone REALLY Effective at Blocking Heroin & Painkillers?

How Long Does Suboxone Last?

Medication assisted therapies, opioid replacement therapies, methadone and buprenorphine maintenance…there are a lot of options when it comes to using medicine to recover from addiction.

how long does suboxone last for
Suboxone packaging via Wikimedia Commons

The most popular option over the past several years has been, by far, Suboxone maintenance. With dedicated buprenorphine doctors and “sub clinics” opening all over the country, it may seem like everyone is on Suboxone.

While this isn’t the case, it is a first line of attack for many in the addiction treatment field. Still, Suboxone doesn’t come without downsides. For the sake of brevity, we’re only focusing on one here – how long does Suboxone last?

This question, while seemingly simple, is actually fairly complex. To figure out how long Suboxone lasts, we need to look at a variety of factor, including Suboxone’s half-life, what other medication a patient is taking, and how long Suboxone blocks opioids for.

This last part, how long Suboxone blocks opioids, is vital to understanding how long it lasts. That is to say – while buprenorphine may work in an individual’s body for hours, how long does it actually block opioids for?

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the half-life of Suboxone and what impact it has on the question “how long does Suboxone last?”

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Suboxone’s Half-Life

Before we get into the scientific stuff, let’s first define half-life (just kidding, this is all scientific…apologies in advance). Simply put, half-life is how long it takes for the body to metabolize and eliminate half of a given chemical. There’s also something called “steady-state,” which is when the amount of a particular substance is balanced fifty-fifty between coming in and going out.

It’s important to note that when someone takes a medicine regularly, say a daily dose of Suboxone, the half-life becomes longer. This is due to the chemical building up in tissues, organs, etc.

So, how long does Suboxone last? How long is Suboxone’s half-life? Well, it ultimately depends on the individual taking the drug. Generally speaking, the half-life of Suboxone is between twenty-four and forty-eight hours. That’s just a ballpark estimate though.

Depending on how long an individual has taken buprenorphine for, the dose, how frequently they take it, their weight, their metabolism, and any other medications (legal or illegal) they may be taking…that number can change.

So, for example, Suboxone may last for longer, and have a greater half-life, if someone is taking eight milligrams daily, has been for years, and is overweight. It may have a shorter half-life if they’re taking two milligrams every other day.

It’s also important to note that Suboxone may still block opioids even if it has a short half-life in a particular individual.

Having explored the basics about Suboxone’s half-life, let’s turn our attention fully to how long Suboxone blocks opioids for.

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How Long Does Suboxone Block Opioids?

How long Suboxone lasts is a tricky question when it comes to blocking opioids. In other words, as mentioned above, it may last for hours, but only block the effects of narcotics for a short period of that time.

How long does Suboxone block opioids for? Well, generally speaking, it blocks them for around one day. This time can be significantly longer, though, depending on a variety of factors. Again, things like dose, frequency, weight, and metabolism come into play.

Suboxone can block opioids for as long as three days. Although that’s rather rare, it has happened. It’s interesting to note that it’s not only the naloxone in Suboxone that blocks opioids for so long. Buprenorphine itself is a potent chemical and binds tightly to opioid receptors in the brain.

So, how long does Suboxone lasts? How long does Suboxone block opioids? It all depends on the individual, but generally speaking it’s one to three days.

If you’re struggling with painkiller or heroin abuse, reach out for professional help. Suboxone maintenance is one way to go, but why not explore all available options? Call Lighthouse today to learn about alternatives to buprenorphine!

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Are You Sober if You Take Methadone?

What is Methadone?

what is methadone
Chemical structure of methadone via Wikimedia Commons

Methadone is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous drugs available. It’s often described as a drug that, once you start taking it, you’re addicted to for life. It’s described as a devil drug and one that unwittingly hooks opioid users trying to change their lives for the better.

While there are many examples to back this generalization up, it’s worth noting that these media portrayals don’t answer the question “what is methadone and what’s it used for?” And that, my friends, is the question.

There are few drugs as misunderstood as methadone. Some tote it as an effective form of medication assisted therapy. Some call it the ultimate pain management drug. The media’s labeled it as public enemy number one. The only thing these portrayals have in common is that they all contain the word methadone.

So, what is methadone used for? Well, it’s used for all of the above and more. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly this drug is and, more importantly, what it isn’t.

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What is Methadone Used For?

Well, what is methadone used for? More often than not, it’s used as a form of medication assisted therapy (also known as opioid replacement therapy or, more colloquially, methadone maintenance).

To put it another way, methadone is used to help men and women overcome opioid addiction. Here’s where things get controversial. Many believe that taking methadone is nothing more than switching one addiction for another.

This belief is, in part, true. Methadone maintenance is a long-term affair. When an individual goes on methadone it isn’t for a few weeks. They’re usually on it for years. Some remain on the drug for the rest of their lives.

Opponents of methadone argue that this isn’t sober, isn’t clean, but just another form of addicted. They argue that the addict’s brain is still flooded with opioid molecules and that they’re still “under the influence.”

These are all valid points. Still, there are some benefits to medication assisted therapy. First and foremost, methadone improves quality of life for many people. Are they still addicted? Certainly. Are they using street drugs and stealing to get their next fix? Nope.

Following this line of thinking, being in a methadone program shows the individual wants to change their life. Are they “willing to go to any length?” Perhaps not. There’s something to be said for any sort of positive change though.

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Methadone for Chronic Pain

Another answer to the question “what is methadone used for” is that it’s used to treat chronic pain. That’s right folks, methadone for chronic pain is a popular choice among doctors.

what is methadone used for

The reason for this is two-fold. First, methadone has a longer half-life than any other opioid. That means that methadone stays active in the body for longer than any other narcotic painkiller. Although morphine has long been the gold standard for pain treatment, methadone for chronic pain offers longer relief.

Second, methadone is used to treat pain because it offers a relatively “euphoria free” type of pain relief. Make no mistake, methadone is an opioid and, as such, it will get users high. The euphoria wears off after the first few times someone takes the drug though.

Rather than producing a high, methadone will begin to bind to opioid receptors and act only as an analgesic. Now everyone’s body is different and it may still produce euphoria in some. For the most part, though, it’s large on painkilling effects and short on getting users high.

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The Final Verdict

So, what’s the final consensus? Is methadone good or bad? Is it a safe and effective way for addicts to get clean? Or is it a sinister drug that unintentionally hooks users?

The answer is up to you. For some, methadone is a lifesaver. For others, it’s just one more hurdle on the road to freedom. What do you think? Let us know on social media!

We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one. Click below to speak to a member of our staff directly.