Subutex is a brand name for buprenorphine, which is a prescription medication given mainly as a substitute for opiates when using the tapering-off method for treating opiate addiction. Used as prescribed, Subutex has proven highly successful in treatments. Recreational use can lead to addiction to the medication itself, requiring the use of a Subutex addiction treatment program for weaning off the otherwise helpful medication without going through withdrawal.
When used, Subutex binds with the opioid receptors along the spinal column and the brain to block out other opiates and provide a mild euphoric reaction. Unlike many opioids, Subutex has an effects ceiling, a point at which no further drug effects can be achieved no matter the dosage. Greater dosage amounts have no effect at all, leaving the user without any high. With the ceiling in place, Subutex has been seen as safe to use in addiction treatment programs as an alternate to morphine.
Subutex is rarely used long enough to develop an addiction, but if one should occur, time spent in a Subutex addiction treatment program going through detox can help wean the user off the drug successfully. After completion of detox, Subutex rehab usually follows where the user can learn how to live drug-free.
Subutex Withdrawal Symptoms
According to a New York Times article, the first program to use buprenorphine in treatment in the US showed an 88-percent rate of success among patients, with participants still drug-free after six months of quitting their opioid of choice. Stopping the use of Subutex after an extended length of time or after heavy use can cause period of withdrawal in the user. This withdrawal consists of a number of physical and psychological symptoms that can cause users to return to taking Subutex if the attempt is made outside of an addiction treatment program.
Symptoms of Subutex withdrawal can begin soon after taking the final dosage of the medication, typically within 36 hours. If not treated with medication in a Subutex detox facility these symptoms can last as long as two to three weeks. Symptoms a user can expect while going through the withdrawal process include:
- Muscle cramping
- Restless legs
The symptom severity and length of the withdrawal period varies amongst users. The general rule is that the longer a user was on Subutex or the larger the dosage taken, the more severe the symptoms and the longer the withdrawal process. For more detailed withdrawal information about Subutex, call .
Despite the discomfort of withdrawal outside a Subutex addiction treatment center, the drug, among other forms of buprenorphine, continues to draw users. According to reports released by the National Forensic Laboratory Information System, buprenorphine has grown more common to see during drug seizures than morphine.
The best method to prevent the withdrawal symptoms that prevents many users from ending the use of the drug is to enter into a Subutex rehab program. If the program is begun before the last dose of the drug is taken, the new program patient can avoid the effects of withdrawal altogether or at least reduce them significantly. This is achieved by going through Subutex detox, a process that rids the patient’s body of the drug in a medically controlled manner.
“Treatment at a detox facility begins with a full medical exam and prescreening process.”Treatment at a detox facility begins with a full medical exam and prescreening process. The medical exam is given to provide the medical personnel of the detox and rehab center with a precise idea of the patient’s current health. The prescreening occurs to determine the patient’s drug history and to find out if there are any other medical issues. This entry process can take as long as 48 hours, during which withdrawal is held off with medication that the addiction recovery program provides.
After the initial exam, the patient is sent to detox. For Subutex, two methods of detox are available: rapid detox and tapering off. The choice taken is a matter of the patient’s and doctor’s preference as long as both methods are safe for the patient to use.
Rapid detox is the quicker method of ridding the body of Subutex. During detox, the patient is placed under light anesthesia. While under, the doctor flushes the patient’s body clear of all traces of the Subutex. The process takes between one and two hours. After completion, the patient should not experience significant withdrawal symptoms. This method of withdrawal is somewhat controversial and not the primary method of detox usually given.
The second method of detoxing in a Subutex addiction treatment program is through tapering off. Tapering off is a simple process that slowly lowers the amount of the drug within the patient’s system. Subutex is provided in slightly smaller doses daily until after several weeks the dose is small enough that not taking any that day will no longer trigger a withdrawal response. The drug is stopped completely when the patient reaches this point, usually within two to three weeks. Sometimes during tapering off the patient may begin to show signs of withdrawal. If this happens, the dosage is increased for the day to hold off the withdrawal process, and tapering from this new drug level is continued the next day. More information concerning Subutex detox is available by calling .
- Subutex is more successful in treating opioid addiction with an 80-percent success rate than methadone with its 50-percent success rate after six months.
- A special waiver is required for doctors to be allowed to prescribe Subutex. The course to earn the waiver is eight hours long, and the doctor is limited to only 100 outpatients treated yearly with Subutex, or 10 inpatients.
Rehab and Recovery
After detox, the Subutex addiction treatment program continues with a stay within a rehab facility. Rehab from Subutex follows the same process as rehab from any other opiate. For those whose addiction was cause by prescribed long-term use, rehab concentrates on the dangers that accompany prescription drug use, and involves finding other drugs that can treat the patient’s ailments without addictive qualities.
For those whose use of Subutex was recreational, the rehab center provides a more comprehensive behavioral therapy program. This therapy program is geared toward replacing the drug-taking impulse that led to the addiction with behaviors that are less self-destructive. Solo therapy sessions are combined with group therapy to help teach the patient the tools needed for resisting further drug abuse. Rehab can take as few as 30 days in a Subutex addiction treatment facility or may last considerably longer, depending on how long it takes the patient to acquire the toolset needed.
Following rehab, the former Subutex user can then begin to work on living an unsupervised drug-free life. Further therapy and outside support groups can help the former user in dealing with the temptations of drug use. For support group information or a Subutex addiction treatment facility location, call .